Fifty-five websites have been seized for illegally live-streaming matches from the World Cup in Qatar, the United States Justice Department said Monday.
The websites were shut down after a FIFA representative identified sites being used to distribute copyright-infringing content without the authorization of the soccer world governing body, the department said in a statement.
FIFA holds exclusive rights to the World Cup, which has reached the semi-final stage.
“While many may believe that such websites do not constitute serious threats, the infringement upon rights holders of any intellectual property is a growing threat to our economic viability,” said special agent James Harris of the Homeland Security Department.
“The impact can be felt across multiple industries, and it can be the conduit to other forms of criminal activity,” Harris said.
The Justice Department did not identify the seized websites but said visitors to the sites would be redirected to another site for additional information.