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Super Bowl Pre-Game: Feds Seize, Arrest Online Sporting-Event Pirates

Days before the Super Bowl, a Michigan man was arrested for streaming live events, and 16 sites seized

Just three days before Super Bowl Sunday, federal authorities have tackled a Michigan man for illegally streaming live sport events over the internet.

On Monday, authorities arrested Yonjo Quiroa for copyright infringement after discovering that websites he operated out of his home streamed live sports telecasts and pay-per-view events.

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In a related action, government also seized 16 websites, nine of which were operated by Quiroa, for their illegal procedure. The seizures were carried out by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, in conjunction with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

No sport was spared. The seized sites allegedly streamed pirated telecasts from the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment and the TNA Impact Wrestling.

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Quiroa, also known as “Ronaldo Solano,” took in $13,000 from online merchants who paid to advertise on at least one of the linking sites that he operated, authorities said.

According to the indictment, the illegal sites all were “linking” sites– gateways that link to third party websites that are actually hosting the pirated events.

“Sports fans may be tempted by illegal streaming websites, but in the end, it is they who pay the price,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement. “These websites and their operators deprive sports leagues and networks of legitimate revenue, forcing spectators and viewers to bear the cost of this piracy down the line. Yonjo Quiroa’s arrest and these 16 seizures underscore our commitment to stopping this virtual thievery.”

The team of seized sites includes: firstrow.tv, xonesports.tv, firstrowsports.tv, firstrowsports.net, firstrowsports.com, hq-streams.tv, robplay.tv, soccertvlive.net, sports95.net,  sports95.com, sports95.org,  sportswwe.net, sportswwe.tv, sportswwe.com, youwwe.net and youwwe.com.