Feds Seize 70 Domain Names of “Counterfeiters” and “Pirates”

Feds Seize 70 Domain Names of “Counterfeiters” and “Pirates”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, executes more than 70 court-ordered warrants against sites accused of offering counterfeit goods or copyright infringing material.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, has launched a major offensive against online sites offering counterfeit goods or copyright infringing material.

“ICE office of Homeland Security Investigations executed court-ordered seizure warrants against a number of domain names,” said Cori W. Bassett, an ICE spokeswoman.

So far more than 70 domain names have been seized.

The move follows the Senate’s Committee on the Judiciary recent unanimous approval of the controversial Combatting Online Infringements Act.

The COICA would give the Department of Justice an “expedited process” for cracking down on websites that illegally make copyrighted material available, including the ability to “prevent the importation into the United States of goods and services offered by an Internet site dedicated to infringing activities.”

The Bill’s sponsors believe the COICA would finally give the Dept of Justice the tools it needs to track and shut down “websites devoted to providing access to unauthorized downloads, streaming or sale of copyrighted content and counterfeit goods.”

Thankfully critics like Oregon Senator Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat, has vowed to block the COICA as it is currently written.

“Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb, when what you need is a precision-guided missile,” he said at Senate Subcommittee meeting on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness. “If you don’t think this thing through carefully, the collateral damage would be American innovation, American jobs, and a secure Internet.”

In the meantime it’s curious that some of the sites were even seized at all. BitTorrent trackers sites, as we all know, don’t actually host any copyrighted material so therefore arguably can’t be accused of “trafficking in counterfeit goods.”

None of this seems to matter to ICE, and if the COICA does manage to become law domain seizures like this are just the tip of the iceberg.

Stay tuned.

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