While the FIFA World Cup continues, U.S. authorities have seized more than two dozen domain names belonging to popular sports streaming platforms. These targeted websites include weakstreams.com, freestreams-live1.com, crichd.pro, toplivematch.com, guduballs.com and score808.com. Each site has millions of monthly users. Sports piracy is rampant worldwide—more than half of sports fans are frequent users of unauthorized streaming platforms.
Football (or soccer, as it is known in certain regions) is of particular concern, as it’s seen as the sport that encourages other sports fans to illegally stream games. And now, millions of pirates around the world are watching the World Cup, so it’s no wonder that law enforcement agencies are now taking down these domain names that are engaging in streaming piracy.
Sports Streaming Platforms Seized by Feds
Today, sites like 9goaltv.cc, weakstreams.com and istream2watch.com, most of which offer free streams of games, are now inaccessible. Rather than the sports content, visitors are now served a seizure banner that displays the official seals of U.S. law enforcement agencies.
The banner announces the seizure by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in accordance with the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. It warns that any offenders risk criminal prosecution under Title 18 of U.S. Code, Section 2323.
It is unclear if the seizures were handled through domain registrars or through Verisign, the domain registry.
Nameservers Redirected to U.S. Department of Justice Site
The streaming platforms’ nameservers are being pointed at SEIZEDSERVERS.COM. Controlled by the U.S. Department of Justice, these nameservers are frequently used during criminal actions to close down websites, such as when Z-Library was shut down in November.
There is no word so far of any arrests linked to these seizures.
Pirate Sports Streaming Sites Scrambling
At least one site, Stream2watch, has rushed to a new domain name at istream2watch.stream. Other popular sites may be doing the same thing. It is not clear whether the bulk of the seized sites will remain offline.
This isn’t the first seizure of sports piracy sites. In 2012, a number of popular sports streaming platforms were seized at the time of the Super Bowl.