When Joe Biden first formed his team of crack commandos and declared that the U.S. government was finally going to get serious about combating Internet piracy, many probably assumed that funny Uncle Joe was just fucking with you. But no, Internet: He is not fucking with you. He’s here from downtown. He’s here from Mitch and Murray. And he’s here on a mission of mercy, swiftly rounding up nine websites notorious for distributing illegal downloads of films and reclaiming their domain names—among them Movies-Links.tv, Filespump.com, ZML.com, Now-Movies.com, ThePirateCity.org, PlanetMoviez.com, NinjaVideo.net, and NinjaThis.net. (It’s a sad day, my ninjas.)
Most of these sites allowed users to stream unlicensed copies of still-in-theaters films like The A-Team and Toy Story 3, which allowed federal authorities to obtain warrants against them; along with shutting down their web presence, agents have also seized assets and equipment from at least four U.S. residencies. The move is being characterized as part of a “sustained effort” to crack down on such operations, although a spokesman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency acknowledged that the government “can’t always match” the “level of sophistication” inherent in technologies like BitTorrent, which doesn’t have a central storage of data that can be dramatically raided. Still: Avast ye pirates and so on.