Department of Justice Seal

Prepared Remarks of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
Operation Site Down
Washington, D.C.
June 30, 2005 - 2:00 pm

Good afternoon. I am joined by Assistant Director Louis Reigel of the FBI’s Cyber Division, and Acting Assistant Attorney General John Richter of the Criminal Division.

From cutting-edge technology and software, to new movies and the latest music, intellectual property touches each and every one of our lives. Intellectual property industries make up approximately six percent of our Nation’s gross domestic product, employ more than five million people, and contribute over $600 billion to America’s economy.

But with the global reach and speed of the Internet, digital theft of intellectual property threatens jobs and entire industries because cyber-criminals respect no laws and no national boundaries.

As part of the Department of Justice’s comprehensive strategy to stop intellectual-property crime, I am pleased to announce the results of our latest effort: Operation Site Down. Operation Site Down is one of the largest international law enforcement actions to date dedicated to stopping intellectual property theft on the Internet.

Our objective in this operation was to find and dismantle large-scale criminal enterprises that illegally obtain, copy, distribute, and trade in copyrighted software, music, movies, and video games.

Beginning yesterday morning, the FBI and law enforcement from Canada, France, Belgium, Israel, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, and Germany conducted more than 90 searches in the United States and abroad, and dismantled more than eight major online distribution servers for pirated works—a distribution network that provides the vast majority of the illegal digital content now available online.  In the United States, four individuals have been arrested and charged with criminal copyright infringement violations.  25 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and 32 FBI field offices worked to obtain and execute the search warrants.

It is estimated that the value of pirated works seized in yesterday’s action exceeds $50 million, which is only a fraction of the losses attributable to the online distribution hubs also seized in this operation. By penetrating this illegal world of high-technology and intellectual-property theft, we have shown that law enforcement can find and prosecute those who try to use the Internet to create piracy networks beyond the reach of law enforcement.

We will continue to strive to protect the creative products and innovations of the American people on every front.

For example, at the Department of Justice:

As always, I am grateful to the hundreds of FBI Special Agents who worked tirelessly to help investigate, locate, and dismantle these sophisticated organizations. And I want to recognize the federal prosecutors in 25 of our Nation’s U.S. Attorney’s Offices, as well as prosecutors in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Criminal Division, all of whom spent considerable time developing this case and coordinating the operation here and abroad.

Finally, I want to express my appreciation to governments of the 10 countries, who participated in this operation.

It is only through aggressive and coordinated international efforts like this that we can truly make a difference in protecting the innovation and creativity at the heart of our global and national economies.

I would now like to recognize FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Louis Reigel for comments and then we would be happy to take your questions.