132 domain names selling counterfeit merchandise seized on Cyber Monday
WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), law enforcement agencies from Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania and the United Kingdom, and the European Police Office (Europol) seized 132 domain names today that were illegally selling counterfeit merchandise online to unsuspecting consumers.
The 132 domain names seized are part of Project Cyber Monday 3 and Project Transatlantic. These websites were set up to dupe consumers into unknowingly buying counterfeit goods as part of the holiday shopping season. The operation was coordinated by the ICE HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) in Washington, D.C.
This is the third year that the IPR Center has targeted websites selling counterfeit products online in conjunction with Cyber Monday. An iteration of Operation In Our Sites (IOS), Cyber Monday 3 seized 101 websites and yielded one arrest. Additionally, recognizing the global nature of Internet crime, this year the IPR Center partnered with Europol, who, through its member countries, executed coordinated seizures of foreign-based top-level domains such as .eu, .be, .dk, .fr, .ro and .uk. This effort is titled Project Transatlantic and resulted in 31 domain name seizures.
"This operation is a great example of the tremendous cooperation between ICE and our international partners at the IPR Center," said ICE Director John Morton. "Our partnerships enable us to go after criminals who are duping unsuspecting shoppers all over the world. This is not an American problem, it is a global one and it is a fight we must win."
The domain names seized are now in the custody of the governments involved in these operations. Visitors typing those domain names into their Web browsers will now find a banner that notifies them of the seizure and educates them about the federal crime of willful copyright infringement.
In addition to the domain name seizures, officials identified PayPal accounts utilized by the infringing websites. Proceeds received through the identified PayPal accounts, in excess of $175,000, are currently being targeted for seizure by the investigating HSI field offices.
During this operation, federal law enforcement officers made undercover purchases of a host of products; including professional sports jerseys, DVD sets, and a variety of clothing, jewelry and luxury goods from online retailers who were suspected of selling counterfeit products. If the copyright holders confirmed that the purchased products were counterfeit or otherwise illegal, seizure orders for the domain names of the websites that sold these goods were obtained from federal magistrate judges.
IOS is a sustained law enforcement initiative that began more than two years ago to protect consumers by targeting the sale of counterfeit merchandise on the Internet. The 101 domain names seized under Project Cyber Monday 3 bring the total number of IOS domain names seized to 1,630 since the operation began in June 2010. Since that time, the seizure banner has received more than 110 million individual views.
Of the 1,529 previous domain names seized, 684 have now been forfeited to the U.S. government. The federal forfeiture process affords individuals who have an interest in seized domain names a period of time after a "Notice of Seizure" to file a petition with a federal court and additional time after a "Notice of Forfeiture" to contest the forfeiture. If no petitions or claims are filed, the domain names become the property of the U.S. government. Additionally, a public service announcement, launched in April 2011, is linked from the seizure banner on each of the 684 forfeited websites.
The banner and video educate the public about the criminal consequences of trafficking in counterfeit goods and the economic impact that crime has on the U.S. and global economies.
U.S. Attorney's Offices in the Districts of Maryland, Colorado, New Jersey, Southern District of California, Central District of California, Western District of New York, and the Western District of Texas issued the warrants for the seizures. Significant assistance was provided by the Department of Justice's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.
Saturday, March 8 2014 11:57 PM EST2014-03-09 04:57:06 GMT
SOUTH GLENS FALLS N.Y. – The 37TH Annual South High Marathon Dance kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. in the South Glens Falls High School gym. The Marathon Dance has been around for decades, starting with onlyMore >>
Exceeding expectations, the annual event brings in well over half-a-million dollars this year.More >>
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - Police are investigating a threatening phone call at the Four Winds Hospital on Crescent Avenue on Friday night. Hospital staff took the call at approximately 7:30 p.m., and initiatedMore >>
Police are investigating a threatening phone call at the Four Winds Hospital on Crescent Avenue on Friday night.More >>
TROY, NY - City officials are working on repairing a water main break on 15th Street between Hoosick and Hutton. That section of the road will remain closed until Sunday morning when the repair is slatedMore >>
City officials are working on repairing a water main break on 15th Street between Hoosick and Hutton. That section of the road will remain closed until Sunday morning when the repair is slated to be complete. Hoosick Street is open.More >>
FONDA, N.Y. – New York State Police are thanking the students at Fonda-Fultonville High School who volunteered for active shooter training. According to State Police, the training was conducted over theMore >>
New York State Police are thanking the students at Fonda-Fultonville High School who volunteered for active shooter training.More >>
FONDA, N.Y. – State Police say they have arrested a man for allegedly driving drunk and causing property damage. According to authorities, State Police received a report of a vehicle leaving the sceneMore >>
State Police say they have arrested a man for allegedly driving drunk and causing property damage.More >>
ALBANY, N.Y. – A Nobel Peace Prize nominee will be in Albany on Saturday. Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence will rally in Townsend Park from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Kelly is a peace activistMore >>
A Nobel Peace Prize nominee will be in Albany on Saturday.More >>
ALBANY, N.Y. – This weekend marks the final weekend of skating at the Empire State Plaza ice rink. The NYS Office of General Services has announced that Sunday will be the final day of skating for theMore >>
This weekend marks the final weekend of skating at the Empire State Plaza ice rink.More >>
ALBANY, N.Y. – The Ninth Annual Hannaford Kidz Expo is Saturday. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Empire State Plaza, the annual Kidz Expo will be held, courtesy of Hannaford. The Hannaford Kidz Expo offersMore >>
The Ninth Annual Hannaford Kidz Expo is Saturday.More >>
RENSSELAER, N.Y. – Students from 36 schools in three counties will come together on Saturday for the Region 4 Odyssey of the Mind Tournament. From 8:10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at the RensselaerMore >>
Students from 36 schools in three counties will come together on Saturday for the Region 4 Odyssey of the Mind Tournament.More >>
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – A fire broke out at St. Anthony's Church Friday evening. The call for the fire at 331 Seward Place came in around 6:30 p.m. The fire started in the basement and spread upward causingMore >>
A fire broke out at St. Anthony's Church Friday evening.More >>