Brazil: Operation 404 Phase 6 nets another 606 illegal video & music sites

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Law enforcement agencies from Brazil, Peru, Argentina, the U.S. and the U.K. participated in the sixth round of Brazil’s Operation 404.  The action resulted in the blocking of 606 piracy sites – 328 in Peru, 238 in Brazil and 40 in the U.K. Eighteen illegal streaming apps were also taken down.

The operation targeted several illegal streaming and IPTV service operators, and 23 search-and-seizure warrants were carried out – 22 in Brazil and 1 in Argentina. A domain seizure and forfeiture were executed in the U.S. as well. ACE said that the figures may change as the operation is ongoing.

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In round six, Brazilian authorities and their partners blocked 157 domains dedicated to music piracy, including stream ripping sites. In parallel, the Brazilian authorities took action against 12 major stream ripping and MP3 download mobile apps – with collectively over 4.3 million downloads in Brazil – by ordering their removal from both the major app stores and other websites where the apps could be downloaded.  This included the removal and blocking in Brazil of the VidMate stream ripping app which had more than 870 million downloads worldwide and over 1.1 million active users in Brazil, according to IFPI.

The integrated action in the fight against online piracy had the collaboration of the embassies of the United Kingdom in Brazil (IPO – Intellectual Property Office and PIPCU – Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit); of the United States (Department of Justice – DOJ and United States Patent and Trademark Office – USPTO); of the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI), of Peru; the Tax Unit Specialized in Investigation of Cyber Crimes (UFEIC), of the Judicial Department of San Isidro of Argentina; in addition to the cooperation of the Premier League, associations for the protection of intellectual property with presence in Brazil (APDIF, IFPI, ESA, ABTA, MPA, ALIANZA, ACE); and Brazil’s National Council to Combat Piracy.

Operation 404.6 is planned as one of the deliveries of the Action Plan 2023-2025 of the National Intellectual Property Strategy (Enpi), coordinated by the Ministry of Development, Industry, Trade and Services, which aims to promote greater security to the intellectual property environment in Brazil.

Further reading

With the support of MJSP, international operation against piracy takes more than 600 illegal sites off the air.  Press release. November 28, 2023. Brazil Ministry of Justice.

Sixth phase of “Operation 404” shuts down 566 piracy sites in Latin America and 40 in the United Kingdom.  Press release. December 4, 2023. ACE (Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, Motion Picture Association)

Brazilian and Peruvian authorities continue ‘Operation 404’ against infringing music services. Press release. November 28, 2023. IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry)

Previous phases of Operation 404 by Piracy Monitor

Why it matters

According to Brazil’s Ministry of Justice, the penalty for those who commit this crime is imprisonment of two to four years and a fine (art. 184, §3º of the Brazilian Criminal Code). Those investigated may also be indicted for criminal association (art. 288 – CP) and money laundering (art. 1º – Law 9.613/1998).

“Operation 404.6 was a great success, thanks to the joint efforts of global law enforcement and copyright protection agencies who share our mission to protect the creative marketplace,” said Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Chief of Global Content Protection for the Motion Picture Association and Head of ACE. “The Brazilian Ministry of Justice’s Cyberlab and ACE’s Latin America team were invaluable resources in the operation, reaffirming the impact of a global anti-piracy network whose joint mission is to identify criminal enterprises that brazenly flout copyright protection laws. More operations will follow.”

According to IFPI, Operation 404 continues as one of the largest campaigns of its kind and involves a range of actions in relation to unlicensed music services. To date, the operation has resulted in the suspension of nearly 1,500 domains, the removal of 780 infringing music apps and delivery of more than 100 search warrants.

“Operation 404” takes its name from the error message that indicates a website cannot be found.  The initiative started in Brazil in 2019 and progress is announced annually.

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