The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said it had been granted seizure orders against three websites “engaged in the illegal distribution of copies of copyrighted Android cellphone apps”.
After an action which the watchdog said “was coordinated with international law enforcement, including Dutch and French law enforcement officials”, visitors to applanet.net, appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com are being presented with a notice informing them of the sites’ closure, and that “willful copyright infringement is a federal crime”.
The DoJ said that this marks the first time that it has seized domains related to mobile app piracy.
During the operation, agents from the FBI downloaded “thousands” of copies of pirated apps from the alternative app stores. It said that in “most” cases, the servers hosting the apps were located overseas.
“Criminal copyright laws apply to apps for cell phones and tablets, just as they do to other software, music and writings. These laws protect and encourage the hard work and ingenuity of software developers entering this growing and important part of our economy”, said US Attorney, Sally Quillian.