NEW YORK (AP) — With the Super Bowl days away, federal authorities announced a crackdown Thursday on websites that stream unauthorized broadcasts of sports events just hours after New England quarterback Tom Brady told reporters in Indianapolis that he watched last year’s game on an illegal site.

Investigators seized 16 sites and brought criminal charges against a Michigan man who controlled nine of them.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara warned sports fans in a release that piracy costs sports leagues and broadcasters millions of dollars, forcing increases in ticket prices and other costs to consumers.

His message came soon after Brady casually mentioned his own use of illegal websites during a news conference staged in preparation for the Super Bowl on Sunday between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.

“Last year I was rehabbing my foot in Costa Rica, watching the game on an illegal Super Bowl website. And now I’m actually playing in the game. So, it’s pretty cool,” Brady said.

Web operator Yonjo Quiroa, of Comstock Park, Mich., was charged Wednesday with copyright infringement. Prosecutors said he distributed football, basketball and hockey games and wrestling matches.

Quiroa appeared in federal court in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Wednesday. He was held without bail while his immigration status was under review. Larry Phelan, his lawyer, declined to comment.

In court papers, authorities said Quiroa registered nine of the 16 seized domain names in 2010 and 2011 before operating the websites out of his home, collecting profits of at least $13,000 from online merchants who paid him to advertise on the sites.

Authorities said the prosecution was part of a continuing federal effort to target counterfeiting and piracy on the Internet.

Also in Indianapolis, federal authorities said they seized nearly $5 million worth of phony Super Bowl sportswear and merchandise in a nationwide sweep that was the result of a four-month investigation.

Officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection said agents targeted stores, flea markets and street vendors that allegedly sold counterfeit game-related sportswear. Fake jerseys, ball caps, T-shirts, jackets and other souvenirs were among the 42,000 items confiscated in Operation Fake Sweep.

Authorities put the total take at more than $4.8 million, up from $3.7 million last year.

Also seized were counterfeit Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL items worth about $1.6 million.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (99)
    1. Bdeholl says:

      This year he’ll be watching it on his back…

      1. Mark Twain says:

        The only thing worse than a pretty girl, is a paycheck that is both within and out of reach while thinking about that girl

      2. Zibnewskilata says:

        In your dreams. The Giants will be the Pats bit$%es on Sunday night

    2. NooYawkah says:

      He should know better than to have Directv in a country with so much rain.

      1. Gibbs Bentley says:

        “If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards, you’re a dope. If you’re a kid, the cards are keepsakes of your idols. If you’re a grown man, they’re pictures of men.” ~ George Carlin


    3. Ryan says:

      I don’t know about you but no more illegal superbowl websites is more proof that the apocalypse is coming!

      Better get prepared!

  1. uncle tom says:

    So whats the big deal I didn’t watch any foot ball games for the last 10 years or so because it is a waste of time and my money.

    1. Ryanxx11 says:

      Then why did you click on an article about football then? Did you just come in to comment that you don’t watch it? Wow you are such a trend setter, please pick up your prize on the way out.

      1. Brian says:

        That’s awesome.

      2. jacques poiutine says:

        I clicked because i thought it was aboiut wayne brady.

      3. Bryan R says:

        I don’t watch either. Deal with it!

      4. henry pierce says:

        I clicked because of the reference to illegal websites not football…and not Brady… not sure still who he is.

    2. escho says:

      He watched it illegally not because he is broke. but because NFL has a lousy distribution product, Maybe if they spent more money fixing their garbage website than going after illegal websites, then they wouldn’t have a problem. This should give the industry a clue that they need to compete with the free market, yes, even if its their product to begin with. If your product sucks, FIX IT.

      1. Justin Time says:

        Theft is acceptable because the product sucks?

        Well, that makes sense …

      2. ralfscarrie says:

        JT: It’s not theft. When you steal something, you have it and the victim doesn’t. It’s piracy. It’s an important distinction.

  2. Jeffrey says:

    “Quiroa appeared in federal court in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Wednesday. He was held without bail while his immigration status was under review.”

    If you’re an illegal alien, hold up a liquor store or murder someone and the federal government wouldn’t think of deporting you. Violate copyright law and you’re public enemy number one.

    1. george garris says:

      Over 2000 Americans murdered by illegals every year !!!

  3. Don says:

    So, Brady is a Patriot, they’re accustomed to cheating. Illegally viewing copyrighted material is nothing for them.. BTW, will Brady be charged? Nah, i didn’t think so.

    1. Will says:

      Show me where it says it is illegal to view it.

    2. Zibnewskilata says:

      Don, you’re a sore loser and the Pats will crush the Giants.

      1. Brad says:

        Yeah! Just like they did when in SB XLII when they were a perfect 19-and…

        Oh. Never mind.

  4. juneau says:

    Interesting, the last paragraph states that there were “1.6 million of counterfeit items.” Was it really 1.6 million even though it was counterfeit? I’m pretty sure counterfeit items are only worth the material they are made of. Think about it.

  5. Bill smith says:

    What does it cost the average Joe to see a Super Bowl game today, $1000? Cry me a river NFL, when players are getting million dollar salaries…

    1. Bryan R says:

      $1000? A week ago tickets were $3400 for seats with no view!

      1. Bill smith says:

        Guess I will have to hack into one of the 40 cameras that NBC is setting in place…

    2. Matt says:

      I thought the same thing, if its counterfeiting thats causing ticket prices to go up and the teams and the NFL cant make a profit (thats a laugh!) then why arent players salaries going down? I think maybe the labor costs have to factor into the lack of profit somehow dont they? Oh yeah, thats right, I think all football teams are wildly profitable, thats why the NFL even expanded to add more teams not too terribly long ago……..

      The Federal Govt and all its Corporate Henchmen suck butt.

  6. Brian says:

    Brady must not have had “the express written consent of the national football legaue”. It’s the gulag for you thomas! Seriously though, the commish is gonna love hearing that.

  7. datruth says:

    simply viewing counterfeit material is not a crime in the USA, at least not a realistically enforceable one. maybe there is some “knowingly accepting counterfeit goods” law on the books somewhere but it would be hard to enforce. even if they ddi want to go after people just for streaming or leeching what would the punishment be? the same as shoplifting a movie? if you are the federal government are you going to spend money on a forensic computer examiner just to get a 100 dollar fine out of someone?

    dinosaur media companies think they own your eyeballs and everything they see. they do not. you have a birthright to absorb any information you seek out during your life. piracy is not stealing, the owners still have all their masters and overpriced, pollution producing dvd/bluray copies in their warehouses. piracy is simply a refusal to adhere to antiquated copy-write laws that were basically all written by disney lobbyists. i dont know about you, but im a red blooded intelligent american male, i consider myself an authentic patriot, and i will NEVER bow down to the unjust laws written by some robber barron. they literally want to govern the internet directly and freeze technological media evolution in its tracks. if they would accept things like fair media outlet ownership rules, line sharing, fair competition, and most importantly fair IP expiration dates then maybe i would respect them more. but as far as things go in the real world right now i have zero respect for pretty much any media company in america and ill leech as hard as i can until the day i die and ill teach everyone who wants to learn how to leech just as hard as me.

    1. Htos1 says:

      This is how you beat computer forensics boys and girls(however do NOT dork around with this):

      @ the command line(batch file)
      1. Create a MSDOS bood disk with Debug

      2. At DOS command prompt type the following: Debug[Enter] (Where enter is to press the enter key once)

      NOTE: Type the following bolded text only. You will recieve an error if you type anything other than the bold text. The non-bolded text represents what will appear on you screen once you press [Enter] after each command.

      -F 200 L1000 0 [Enter]
      -A CS:100 [Enter]
      xxxx:0100 MOV AX,301 [Enter]
      xxxx:0103 MOV BX,200 [Enter]
      xxxx:0106 MOV CX,1 [Enter]
      xxxx:0109 MOV DX,80 [Enter]

      NOTE: ( — “80” for hd0, “81” for hd1)

      xxxx:010c INT 13 [Enter]
      xxxx: 010e INT 20 [Enter]
      xxxx: 0110 [Enter]

      -G [Enter]
      “Program terminated normally”

      3. Turn off the computer. On the next startup the hard drive will need to be partitioned and formatted.

      1. Zibnewskilata says:

        Change your username to “Geek” lol

      2. Computer Engineer says:

        All this does is remove the partition information, and does not erase the hard drive. The problem for you is that a forensic examiner does not need partition information to gain access to files that were contained within the partition. Massive fail, nice try though.

      3. hold the mayo says:

        Watch out Zib! You’re the meat in a geek sandwich.

      4. uncomplicatedlife says:

        A hammer is quicker and more permanent.

  8. Steve M. says:

    Preet Bharara, is the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Can someone please explain to me why he is going after someone and his servers are in Michigan?

  9. jj says:

    How in the world does watching illegally on the internet cost broadcasters $millions?? If they can’t watch the game they will be watching youtube videos. Is Bharara another idiot in this admin that is clueless?

    1. Chris S says:

      Costing millions of dollars? The man running all those site for the last two years made 13k the story said. How is that costing broadcasters millions?

  10. jthc says:

    What’s strange is that the networks and NFL make their money off ad revenue, Illegal streams still show the commercials. So what are they really losing?

  11. steve says:

    I think it is far more important to shut down illegal internet sites than enforce U.S. laws by allowing illegals to enter the U. S. Once here, Obama and Pelosi will give them legal status and garner more votes. Illegal internet sites can’t vote.

  12. OklahomaBound says:

    I’ve watched a lot of NFL games on sites the government likely considers illegal. The reason these websites are considered illegal is because they are showing content that the government has allowed to be monopolized and for some reason they are okay with that monopoly. In other words out of market NFL game content can only be watch by subscribing to Direct-TV’s enormously over-priced NFL Sunday Ticket. Our commie government has never been shy about going after companies they felt were acting as a monopoly (AT&T, Microsoft, etc), but when it comes to the NFL they allow the league to sell their out-of-market content to Direct-TV and no one else which means Direct-TV can sell that product at any price they choose without competition. If the government has its panties in a wad because websites based outside of the US are streaming NFL content around the world, including back into the US, and feel it is cutting into the NFL’s profits then maybe they should tell the NFL that they have to make their content available to all cable and satellite companies. The resulting competition, in place of the current monopoly, would set a market driven price for the content that most all consumers could afford to buy rather than having to go to illegal sites to get games for free in a low-quality stream.

    Heck, several years ago I sent an email to my State Rep (I was living in the Socialist Republic Of Washington at the time so my Rep was a commie leftist) complaining about this monopoly and the resulting high prices and he sent back a reply pretending to empathize with me by spewing some rant about the evils of George Bush on a subject that wasn’t even remotely related to my complaint. I guess he figured that any constituent that emailed him in California’s commie cousin up North must be complaining about Bush so any bash session about Bush would be the red meat required to shut someone up. Probably a valid tactic if I had indeed been a brain dead lib. As long as the very government who pretends to seek justice by going after these sites continues to turn a blind eye to the illegal monopoly that spawned these sites I’ll keep seeking out and watching websites that show NFL content for free, and those sites will pop up faster than the government can shut them down because most of them are outside of the US.

  13. Bryan R says:

    Oh no! The piracy is hurting the NFL and other organizations. Can we get a collective AWWWWWW?

    As far as the counterfeit stuff, yes, it’s illegal, but it creates jobs. These are the kind of jobs Obama has created and saved. I just read how much meth lab production has increased over the last 2 years. Yay Obama! Keep them jobs comin’!

  14. Jim says:

    Tom Brady — rocket scientist. Not.

    1. karnak says:

      Have you seen the source material? If not, then this story could be complete bunk. I sense a lawsuit coming of this.

  15. alanwillingham says:

    I don’t know where the “illegal sites” are or how to use them, but it seems to me that people watching there aren’t the type who are willing to pay to watch anyway. The flawed argument that they are costing someone millions of dollars of lost revenue is absurd.

    I will look at and appreciate a pretty girl in a bikini and argue that I am not depriving some strip club of their lawful income.

  16. david says:

    If the NFL or ESPN360 wouldn’t block viewing of content overseas, then people wouldn’t be forced to try and keep up with their fave teams on “illegal” websites…

    1. dam says:

      He could have used a VPN. Problem solved.

  17. Who cares says:

    Yes, the reason sports tickets are so expensive is because of illegal web sites and fake jerseys. LOL give me a break. It has nothing to do with the greed of the players teams or advertisers.

    1. HomerJ says:

      It was just something for ICE to do while illegal aliens and drug smugglers pour over the border

  18. VIc says:

    What a cheapskate! Jeez, pay for it like the rest of us have to. Thanks Obama, president of the people; yeah right.

    1. cody says:

      You do not have to pay for network feeds……..They are FREE

  19. cody says:

    Think about this for just a minute…….You can receive NBC for free of of an antenna………You re-broadcast the signal over the internet for free which you receive for free……Just not seeing the copyright infringement here??

    1. VIc says:

      Not supposed to be able to rebroadcast. Probably against the law. Just joking, who cares, really…

      1. cody says:

        Just was saying, it was ok for Brady but I actually know people in Costa Rica who watch it and just leave well enough alone……

  20. MZ says:

    No TV to watch it on? What was his wife watching Dancing With The Stars on the TV?

  21. MZ says:

    Ah I see. In Costa Rica! Watching poor man’s Season Ticket.

  22. FudgeYou DinoMedia says:

    How does doing anything on a website stop these people from getting money? How does it up the price of anything? Does people not watching the Super Bowl make the ticket price go up? NO! Then how can people watching it on something else make it go up? Nothing lost nothing gained. Most people who use torrent sites or other such “Illegal” sites are in two camps, those who would never buy your product but might after having seen it for free or those that HAVE already bought or ARE planning to buy but need to see it NOW (something thats fixed by such sites as Hulu or the South Park website that has EVERY episode available to watch WHENEVER!. You aren’t losing money, Your movies are overpriced, your television is half assed, and your sports are lame. Who can afford to go to one of these games, and I don’t mean the Super Bowl! More often than not people will go to an official site if such a site exists. MAKE A FREE STREAMING SUPER BOWL SITE AND THIS “PROBLEM” GOES AWAY! It’s not like you won’t be making MASSIVE ad dollars! Get over yourselves old media! This is exactly how they responded to the VCR. UP YOURS!

  23. cody says:

    Actually this year the Super Bowl will be on the internet for free from NBC on their site…………

  24. Joe says:

    Jim. Rocket scientist. Not.
    Jim. Has a job. Not.

  25. HomerJ says:

    You know it’s good ICE is focusing on this and “raked in” $4.8 million in fake gear.. Cause that will cover 1 hours worth of illegal alien babies born and their hospital costs while they’re out doing that..

  26. karnak says:

    Some of you rocket scientists out there do not seem to realize that network streams are not available outside of the US and the only means to watch certain programs are via these restreaming sites. It the broadcasters would allow streams anywhere in the internet, then these alternative sites would not exist!

    1. dam says:

      Again, you’re wrong. Ever heard of a VPN?

  27. Sack Brady says:

    Ticket prices go up cause that’s what they do. They charge what people are willing to pay. If no one went they’d be five bucks and the NFL would fold. That’s not going to happen and they are going to split the difference and give an average joe price for 70,000 seats when over a million people want them.

  28. Bob says:

    So they close down a handful of sites in the US. Big deal. There are hundreds of sites streaming from all over the world you can watch it on. All this does is put yet another US citizen out of work and not paying taxes. There are literally 60 or 70 such sites I can think of off of the top my head in India alone let alone those in the UK, Canada, Ireland, etc… This is like trying to dam up the Mississippi by tossing handfuls of gravel into it.

  29. Chris says:

    You can’t lose money that would of never had been made. I would buy a $10 counterfeit NFL hat. I would never buy a $30 legitimate NFL. So how do they lose money that they would never receive?

  30. mikey says:

    A long time ago I got the chance to go to the SuperBowl (Rams vs. Steelers!) and I got in free because I was part of the pre-game show. You’d think I’d have been grateful for the free 50 yard line tickets we were handed.

    But guess what? I couldn’t see the field! Why? Stupid cameraman was in the way with his escalating cart full of equipment blocking my view! And the NFL planners KNEW it was going to be bad because they had a rather large TV sitting on the cart beside him, facing the crowd so that I and others like me would not complain about the blocked view.

    Guess what I learned that day? Best seat in the house is AT HOME, WATCHING IT ON TV. No blocked view, no headaches, money still in pocket. AND NO TRAFFIC PROBLEMS LEAVING THE GAME AFTERWARD. I would have rather been home that day!

    Oh, and did I mention I had tickets for 50 yard line seats???

  31. mikey says:

    It would have sucked royally to have paid for 50 yard line tickets and then have to watch the game on a TV SCREEN!!!!

  32. escho says:

    If the NFL wants to stop illegal websites than they better expect to compete with the free market. Much like Brady’s situation, he watched it in an illegal website because of convenience purposes. If your product is not better than another or free product than maybe they should get out of the money business. Brady has all the money in the world, and he would have gladly paid for the show, but the NFL’s distribution SUCKED. THIS IS ALL NFLs FAULT in my eyes.

  33. doc says:

    I was in Russia last year and did the same thing otherwise there was no way to watch the game. I would have paid a REASONABLE price yo stream it bug with the NFL, probably unlikely.

    1. karnak says:

      Exactly Doc, You cannot get streams of US programming when you are offshore. That means that the only choice you have is to find a third party site to see the stream. Most of these sites are illegal. The NFL is losing revenue to their own mistakes.

      This article is just another hit piece on a really good guy. Unlike Eli, Brady was never the star, never the highly recruited athlete. Brady had to work hard to get to where he is today and he is a classy guy who any sports fan would admire. Yet when Brady says he hopes to win, the NY papers are all over him. Never mind the chirps from Rolle, Manninham, Cruz etc practically calling for parades and guaranteeing a victory. Brady’s wife, Gisele sends a personal email to friends and family to ask that they pray for her husband and the NYPost somehow gets a copy and makes a story out of it. Now this garbage. No shame New Yorkers – no shame.

  34. vahawker says:

    How does streaming a telecast hurt advertisers> We still the advertisements in most cases? I get to see out market games that I wouldn’t be able to see because I can’t/won’t get direct TV and the Sunday ticket. So instead of being able to watch the games I want, the NFL wants to to try to force feed a bunch I don;t want to watch causing me to completely turn off ALL games. THAT hurts their advertisers.

  35. Pat Dissent says:

    So wait a minute…. allegedly $5 million in counterfeit merchandise. They claim 42K items. . . that means at retail the average selling price of an item was $119.05. I am not Einstein but it sure looks like someone is lying big-time.

  36. meadowlands says:

    Not surprised. He is after all a Patriot. He plays for Belicheat so he learned from the best ,

    1. karnak says:

      Hate much? Did you hear the interview from Antonio Pierce? The Giants stole the Patriots signals, all teams do it. Just that the Patriots got caught. That was from a former Giant. So stop this nonsense it only makes you seem ignorant.

      1. Bob says:

        Thank you… I’m so sick of these idiots and their smug attitude.about Patriots and spygate.

  37. John says:

    The country is falling apart, literally, and the FEDS are worried about counterfeit jerseys. Millions in USA go to bed hungry and the FEDS are worried about counterfeit baseball caps. If I were able to afford to go to the bowl, I would have to let moron borderline pedophiles feel up myself, my wife and my 14 year old daughter. BORDERS are still wide open, but feds have time to hunt down counterfeit websites….Truly I fell down the rabbit hole and am in LaLa land.

  38. Robert says:

    So there is a magical amount of money and no more that people want to make off sports/music/etc? When the whole world gets cable, who needs anything more than the internet?

  39. geo says:

    The solution to this is for the NFL to stream the Super Bowl itself, along with the ads–which is the best part anyway.

  40. Ryan says:

    This is PROOF the world is going to end you better prepare for the apocalypse!

  41. John Svengali says:

    If games are broadcast on free television with commercials, they should be broadcast the same way online. The revenue stream for the broadcast is from advertising. If CBS, FOX, ABC, or NBC broadcast over the regular non-pay Television airwaves,there should be no harm in viewing the same way online, so long as advertising remains in the online broadcast. DUH!

  42. John says:

    It is not the digital but the wrong digital system. Congress had no business voting on something they did not understand. So is it wrong for people to go to the internet to get the free tv that the Government took away from them. The Government lied to the tv stations telling them the signal would be stronger when in fact more than half the people can no longer get what they had no matter the antenna they have.

    1. REPUBLIC RISING says:

      RIGHT ON – you are waking up to the COUNTERFEIT GOV’T that has ENSLAVED us with SLAVERY DEMOCRACY.

      There is Only One Peaceful, Lawful, Constitutional Solution to end the Misery that we Live in Slavery Democracy – RISING in REPUBLIC “…and to the Republic for which it Stands…”

  43. Roger Cotton says:

    Brady is a real idiot to say that. Telling people it’s ok to cheat. Guess he took lessons from Belicheck. I hope they lose…and I was a Patriot fan until today!

    1. Jude Law says:

      You’re a moron. And for what it’s worth, the Pats will win fairly easily tomorrow.

  44. mikekat says:

    My only comment is “SO WHAT!”


    Well we have COUNTERFEIT GOV’T, COUNTERFEIT PRESIDENT, COUNTERFEIT ECONOMY and COUNTERFEIT MONEY and they all get away with it – the only that gets charged is the small guy that isn’t really doing much damage to anyone. He is just trying to help those that can’t afford the COUNTERFEIT “Aunthentic” stuff. So actually the NFL and such Didn’t have ANY LOSS because those that buy this cheaper stuff would NEVER Buy any of the Counterfeit “Authentics” any. SO PROVE YOUR LOSS!!!”
    There is Only One Solution to the Misery that we Live REPUBLIC RISING

  46. jack says:

    That is the biggest problem in the usa stolen tv, winch didn’t take money from any ones bank account

  47. Critter says:

    I remember when the internet was free and justice was for the guilty, just don’t forget all the money to stop illegal internet coulc be used to stop a child from being abducted, molested or even worse, murdered. Another thought would be to end human slavery, we only rmember the US african slave trade when slavery comes, a horrible time in us history, but people are still slaves in the US and around the world. Ohh thats right, typically human slavery isn’t hurting US corporations, lets forget aobut it and focus on illegal internet sights for sports…..everyday the US population gets duped to make the rich weatlhier…..ohh if canads wasn’t so cold or mexico wasn’t so violent I could find a new home…..F this countrys priorities.

  48. MidWestMike says:

    What as true yesterday is true today: you can’t teach stupid.

  49. Dude says:

    Welcome to the New Age, slaves. This is a time in history in which big corporations control EVERYTHING, and small time vendors better not even think about setting up shop. Starting a business legally for average folk is now almost impossible due to all of the hurdles put in place by a CRIMINAL government. A government joined AT THE HIP to big business. The only thing left that most entrepreneurs really have is to get rich on the net or to start illegal businesses like the ones discussed in this article.

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