NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Ten websites that were allegedly engaged in the live streaming of major sporting events have been seized and shut down by authorities, the government said Wednesday.
The 10 sites were among the most popular on the Internet for users hoping to access copyrighted sporting events, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
According to the government's complaint, which was unsealed Wednesday, each of the seized sites aggregated illegal, pirated broadcasts, and provided links to site visitors.
Some of the world's biggest sports leagues were allegedly victimized, including the National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the seizure, carried out just days before the Super Bowl, reaffirms the government's commitment to protecting copyright material.
"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," Bharara said.
The sites were disabled Tuesday, and have since been replaced by a posting notifying visitors that "This domain has been seized by ICE - Homeland Security Investigations."
The seizure were carried out by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
ICE is the principal investigative arm of the larger Department of Homeland Security, and runs the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, which coordinates government efforts to combat intellectual property theft.
The fuss over Apple's complex strategies to avoid taxes put the corporate tax code on display in all its convoluted glory this week. More
The 79 tornadoes that hit over three days in 10 states caused billions in losses, with most of damage concentrated in Moore, Oklahoma. More
Users are flocking to a new email program. More
Vermont, a patent-rich state, is cracking down on so-called "patent trolling," a growing problem for entrepreneurs nationwide. More