U.S. government now seizes domains for Android app piracy

android piracy seizure fbi google

The U.S. Department of Justice announced this week that it has begun seizing websites for allowing visitors to illegally download Android apps. So far, the FBI, in coordination with international law enforcement partners, has taken control of three websites as part of the federal government’s latest anti-piracy efforts.

The seized websites are: applanet.net, appbucket.net, and snappzmarket.com. Anyone who tries to visit these sites will be met with a “seizure banner,” which indicates that a site has been taken into custody by federal authorities. The DoJ says that preventing mobile app piracy is a “top priority” for the U.S. government.

“Cracking down on piracy of copyrighted works – including popular apps – is a top priority of the Criminal Division,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, in a statement. “Software apps have become an increasingly essential part of our nation’s economy and creative culture, and the Criminal Division is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the creators of these apps and other forms of intellectual property from those who seek to steal it.”

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates of the Northern District of Georgia added that copyright laws protect mobile apps to help “encourage the hard work and ingenuity of software developers entering this growing and important part of our economy.” Yates added that the federal government “will continue to seize and shut down websites that market pirated apps, and to pursue those responsible for criminal charges if appropriate.”

The FBI claims to have downloaded “thousands of  popular copyrighted mobile device apps” from these websites. Many of these apps were stored on servers based in countries outside the United States. Because of this, the FBI worked with law enforcement agencies from various other nations, including the Netherlands and France. U.S. authorities also issued nine search warrants in six domestic districts located in Mississippi, Michigan, Indiana, Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas.

The FBI is one of 19 federal agencies that make up the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), which orchestrates the U.S. government’s anti-piracy efforts. In mid-July, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, seized 70 domains over copyright infringement of physical goods, like Beats headphones and Tiffany’s jewelry. Since 2010, nearly 850 websites have been seized by the U.S. government over copyright infringement allegations.

As mandated by the 2008 PRO-IP Act, law enforcement may seize a website after presenting sufficient evidence of copyright infringement to a judge. The seized website’s owner may then counter the authorities claims. But even if the site has been seized without having broken the law, it can take many months for control of the domain to be handed back to its rightful owner. In at least one case, that of hip hop site DaJaz1, the feds took an entire year before admitting that the website had not violated any laws and handing back control of the website.

Wearables

Samsung adds One UI and battery boosts to Galaxy Watch and Gear smartwatches

Samsung has updated software for its Galaxy Watch, Gear Sport, and Gear S3 watches to implement its updated and simplified One UI interface. The update also offers new watch faces, battery life improvements, and health and fitness features.
Mobile

Motorola One Vision vs. Nokia 7.1: Which is the best budget phone for you?

If you're trying to decide whether the Motorola One Vision or the Nokia 7.1 would be a better buy, then we've got you covered with this comparison. Find out exactly what sets these Android phones apart and which is best for you.
Mobile

Realme starts selling phones in the U.K., and its low prices aren’t fiction

Realme, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer from the same group as OnePlus, Vivo, and Oppo, has launched its first device in the U.K. and Europe. The Realme 3 Pro is a competitively priced phone with an impressive specification.
Mobile

The best OnePlus 7 Pro cases to keep your OnePlus in one piece

The OnePlus 7 Pro is OnePlus's latest flagship killer, and it's an incredible phone. But it's expensive, and it's not going to protect itself. Get solid protection in the style you want with the best OnePlus 7 Pro cases.
Deals

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, the best Android tablet in the game, is now $152 off

Apple dominates the tablet market, but others are catching up: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, our favorite Android tablet, proves that these devices have what it takes to compete with the iPad Pro -- and it's on sale right now for just $498.
Mobile

Here are some common Kindle Fire problems, and how to fix them

Is your Amazon tablet giving you grief? Is it refusing to behave the way you expect? Take a deep breath -- everything will be fine. Here are some widely reported Kindle Fire problems and a few possible solutions to go with them.
Mobile

The Commerce Department implements a temporary reprieve to Huawei

Google has severed most of its partnerships with Huawei, after its addition to the "Entity List" of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Future Huawei devices will lose access to the Google Play Store, Chrome, and Android updates.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Google and Huawei, Alphabet’s meatball drones, and more

On Monday's episode of DT Live, we discuss the ongoing battle between Google and Huawei, Alphabet’s meatball-delivering drones, Facebook’s secret robot division, deepfake Joe Rogan, and more.
Mobile

Some Pixel 3a owners say their new phone is randomly shutting down

Some owners of Google's new Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL smartphones are complaining that their devices are randomly shutting down. The mid-range handsets hit the market just two weeks ago.
Mobile

Here's our first look at the Galaxy Note 10's centered selfie camera

The Samsung Galaxy S10 range was only just revealed, but Samsung is already working on the next big release. Not much is known about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 just yet, but we do have a few details.
Mobile

OnePlus 7 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: Which Android powerhouse is for you?

If you're after a real powerhouse of a smartphone, then you've probably considered the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. But you could save yourself some cash by opting for the OnePlus 7 Pro. Find out what sets these phones apart in our comparison.
Mobile

The Honor 20 Pro is here with four camera lenses and a hole-punch screen

Honor has launched the Honor 20 Pro and the Honor 20 at an event taking place in London. The new smartphone is surprisingly compact, with an impressive four-lens camera for taking stunning shots, day or night.
Product Review

It's a shame the U.S. banned Huawei. The new Honor 20 Pro is a kick-ass phone

Where does Honor go after the Honor View 20, the best device it has ever made? The answer is the Honor 20 Pro, which takes what made the View 20 great, and then improves on it by adding more camera lenses and shrinking the size.
Mobile

Leaks show a new, bright cardinal red version of the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus

Samsung 2019 flagship smartphone lineup is here, and there aren't just two phones as usual — there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.