Politico: NFL Blackouts May Soon Be Internet Proof

CINCINNATI OH - AUGUST 15: A Cincinnati Bengals fan cheers during the preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium on August 15 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Bengals won 33-24. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The NFL and other professional sports leagues are using the law to shut down websites that have been streaming live games.

According to Politico.com, the NFL has paired with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to shut down several websites, including channelsurfing.net, rojadirecta.org and ATDHE.net, because they are illegally streaming sporting evens online.

"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 fans by raising prices for tickets and pay-per-view events," said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. "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."

The Bengals last few home games were blacked out in the 2010 season but that hasn't stopped Bengals fans that live within the 75-mile blackout range from watching the games on certain websites. The government is taking action, much like they have against websites that allow visitors to download music, to shut down websites like ATDHE.net because they are illegally infringing on the copyright of the NFL's (or other league's) content. However, the Internet has proven to be a tricky thing for the government to control.

But the government’s action didn’t provide a permanent solution to the problem. One of the sites that was shut down on Wednesday, ATDHE.net, has already reappeared at a new Web address, ATDHE.me.

The timing of the websites being shut down couldn't come at a better time for the NFL. The Super Bowl is one of the most watched programs on TV every year and the inability to watch the game on the internet may drive up ratings even more.

So, if you're worried that the Bengals games in 2011 were going to be blacked out, maybe you should worry a little more if you were planning on watching the games on the Internet. It may be a little harder to find.
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