U.S. Seizes 16 Unauthorized Sports Streaming Sites Ahead of Super Bowl

 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

NEW YORK - Ahead of this Sunday's Super Bowl, federal authorities cracked down on more than a dozen Web sites that illegally stream live sporting events, including some pay-per-view events, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Authorities also conducted a similar roundup before last year's Super Bowl.

Investigators from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal agencies seized 16 sites and brought criminal charges against a Michigan man who controlled nine of them, according to the report. The 28-year-old man, who made a profit of $13,000 from the sites, was arrested and charged with criminal copyright infringement, it said.

Sports content found on the sites included NFL, NBA and NHL games, as well as World Wrestling Entertainment events.

"This enforcement action ... sends a strong message to website operators who mistakenly believe it's worth the risk to take copyrighted programming and portray it as their own,'' ICE director John Morton said.

Added U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York: "These websites and their operators deprive sports leagues and networks of legitimate revenue, forcing spectators and viewers to bear the cost of this piracy down the line."

Law enforcement officials also seized more than $4.8 million in fake NFL merchandise from flea markets, stores and other vendors, the Times said.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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