Friday night’s most important sports story was the always-resilient Pittsburgh Penguins taking on the Buffalo Sabres in a regular season match-up at Consol Energy Center. At least, it was to Pens fans. How were the Pens going to survive against the Sabres’ smothering defense without superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin?
I wanted to find out, so, like anyone with half a brain and an Internet connection, I looked for a stream of the game. It wasn’t on local TV, and I don’t have NHL Center Ice. But to my surprise, the game was nowhere to be found. What gives?
Turns out it was found — by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The DHS shut down 10 websites yesterday that were illegally streaming professional sports. As the AFP reports, the timing was no coincidence, what with the Super Bowl only a day away.
Federal officers armed with court-issued warrants seized the online domains of Atdhe.net, Channelsurfing.net, HQ-streams.com, HQstreams.net, Firstrow.net, Ilemi.com, Iilemi.com, Iilemii.com, Rojadirecta.org, and Rojadirecta.com.
The sites provided illegal access to copyrighted telecasts of the US National Football League; National Basketball Association; the National Hockey League; World Wrestling Entertainment, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
US Attorney Preet Bharara urged the court to order the website operators to permanently forfeit the domain names.
“The illegal streaming of professional sporting events over the Internet deals a financial body blow to the leagues and broadcasters who are forced to pass their losses off to the fans in the form of higher priced tickets and pay-per-view events,” Bharara said.
“With the Super Bowl just days away, the seizures of these infringing websites reaffirm our commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to protect copyrighted material and put the people who steal it out of business.”
Well, I guess the websites were violating the law, but, come on; I know the NHL isn’t losing any money off of this piracy. Hell, the NHL can’t draw ratings in to save their lives when games are on broadcast television. Shouldn’t they just be happy that someone, somewhere, is watching their product?
Oh, well, hats off to the Department of Homeland Security. I guess they are only pursuing these small fry copyright violators because they’ve caught all the terrorists. With one major exception.