US seizes domain names in counterfeit crackdown

Nov 25, 2011
Ads seen for Cyber Monday sales are displayed on laptop computers in 2010 in San Anselmo, California. Ahead of Cyber Monday, US authorities have shut down a number of websites in the latest crackdown on online trafficking in counterfeit goods.

US authorities have shut down a number of websites in the latest crackdown on online trafficking in counterfeit goods.

Torrent Freak, a website about the popular BitTorrent file-sharing protocol, said Friday that more than 130 domain names had been seized in an operation it described as the largest yet.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Christensen declined to specify the number of domain names seized but told AFP "these seizures are a part of an ongoing law enforcement operation."

"No further details are available at this time," Christensen said.

Torrent Freak published a list of 131 domain names which it said had been seized in the past 24 hours.

They included sites with names such as reeboksite.com, shopsbag.com, verycheapjerseys.com and officialpumashop.com.

A visitor to the sites is met with a message reading: "This domain name has been seized by ICE -- Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court."

It informs visitors that is a federal crime carrying a penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while trafficking in carries a 10-year sentence and a $2 million dollar fine.

The seizure of the websites, part of a campaign known as "Operation In Our Sites," comes just a few days ahead of , the busiest online shopping day of the year in the United States.

Many of the sites whose were seized appeared to be offering jerseys or other apparel from professional US sports teams.

In November of last year, also just ahead of Cyber Monday, US authorities shut down 82 websites selling mostly Chinese-made counterfeit goods, including golf clubs, movies, handbags and other items.

Pending legislation in the House of Representatives and Senate would give US authorities even more tools to crack down on "rogue" websites accused of piracy of movies, television shows and music and the sale of counterfeit goods.

The bills have received the backing of the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, the US Chamber of Commerce and others.

But they have come under fire from digital rights groups and Internet heavyweights such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo! who say they raise censorship concerns and threaten the very architecture of the Web.

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User comments : 3

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Squirrel
not rated yet Nov 25, 2011
Are there suckers out there that would risk giving their credit card details to rogue sites? If a site is dishonest in one way, why expect it to honor and even send its fake goods rather than just pass your credit details to the nearest criminal doing ID theft.
kochevnik
not rated yet Nov 25, 2011
CC details often aren't kept by the site owner but the payment gateway, like paypal, authorize.net, google pay etc.
No the US stormtroopers don't want to actually enforce the law when seizure and asset forfeiture of intellectual and commercial property is so easy. Now the USA pirates on behalf of the highest bidders without a warrant or a judgment, but likely on cozy arrangements. Why bother with the due process and that silly idea of fairness? It's time to rout the competition and send them to other domains like .co where the US itchy trigger fingers can't reach. Absolutely brilliant!
sams
not rated yet Nov 26, 2011
Disgusting abuse of power by the US.

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