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Feds Seize 18 More Sites to “Protect Consumers”

Feds Seize 18 More Sites to “Protect Consumers”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) celebrates Valentines Day by seizing domain names it accuses of selling counterfeit goods. Campaign is the fourth phase of the ongoing “Operation in Our Sites.”

Yesterday was Valentines Day as many of you know, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division celebrated the occasion by seizing domain names it accuses of selling counterfeit goods.

This operation dubbed, “Operation Broken Hearted,” was the fourth phase of the ongoing “Operation in Our Sites” aimed at counterfeiting and piracy online.

The first was last July , in which 9 sites were the seized. The second was this past November whereby another 82 were seized. The third was just a few weeks ago before the super bowl and ICE added 10 more to the growing list of domain names seized.

This time ICE focused solely on sites selling counterfeit goods. During the course of the operation, federal law enforcement agents made undercover purchases of goods that included bracelets, earrings, handbags, necklaces, rings, sunglasses, wallets and watches.

“Even on Valentine’s day, American business is under assault from counterfeiters and pirates,” said ICE Director John Morton. “These counterfeits represent a triple threat by delivering shoddy, and sometimes dangerous, goods into commerce, by funding organized criminal activities and by denying Americans good-paying jobs. HSI and our partners at the IPR Center will continue to work together to keep counterfeit products off our streets.”

The websites seized in “Operation Broken Hearted” are:

    • 1DESIGNERSCARVES.COM
    • CHANEL-NEWCOCO.COM
    • CHANEL-WHOLESALE.COM
    • COACH-HANDBAGSSTORE.COM
    • CHOOSEMYHANDBAGS.COM
    • ECREPLICA.COM
    • FABAAA.COM
    • ICOACHOUTLETSTORE.COM
    • KRZA.COM
    • ONSALETIFFANY.COM
    • REPLICA-HANDBAGS-ONLINE.COM
    • SHOPPING-LOUIS-VUITTON.COM
    • STORE-AOL.COM
    • TIFFANYJEWELLERY-US.NET
    • TIFFANYSALE-US.COM
    • TIFFANYSALE-US.NET
    • TIFFANYSILVERSALE.COM
    • USCOACHOUTLET.COM

The seizures occur in the context of the proposed controversial Combating Online Infringements Act which 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 US Chamber of Commerce has been among the vocal proponents of the legislation despite the fact that it intrudes on the sovereignty of other countries. During the last phase, for example, ICE seized Rojadirecta.org despite that site having already ruled legal in that country.

“A very long judicial process (more than 3 years) where have worked the Spanish police, the Spanish Attorney General’s Office and the Spanish justice, ALL of them defending or deciding the legality of the site,” read a message on the site.

The Chamber of Commerce is unconcerned with such trivialities like national sovereignty, and wants to expand US jurisdiction via the COICA.

“ICE is doing fantastic work, but their jurisdiction is limited to the United States,” says Steve Tepp, its senior director for Internet counterfeiting and piracy. “We need legislation to provide enhanced remedies to cut off foreign rogue sites from the U.S. market, where they threaten consumers and steal our jobs.”

That may be case, and even that’s debatable, but seizing foreign-based sites with no ties to the US opens up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities in which other countries could reasonably argue for the seizure of US-based sites in violation of their laws.

Would we allow Iran to seize The New York Times for blasphemy or Thailand to seize YouTube for insulting that country’s king? Hardly, and so it’s pretty amazing to think the US would think its perfectly ok to have a double-standard in place.

Stay tuned.

[email protected]

Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
forfenti
forfenti

it makes me want to visit every site and buy a gift or two :p but really, just so they definitely get the ten dollars back. not because there good business, but because this is being done instead of police investigating something like this and arresting counterfeiters this kind of shit where absolutely nothing gets done for 10 billion dollars happens.

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

lol! 18 down, 437,000 to go. Seriously, these sites are so dime-a-dozen, it's ridiculous. Besides, since all they did was seize the domain, all they have to do is relocate to another domain and start business up again.Cost for feds to pay for bootlegged merchandise: $50.00+ Cost to investigate these sites for bootlegging handbags: $50,000+ Cost for the bootleggers to move to another domain: $12.00 Having the feds operate at a loss over all these raids while the bootleggers turn up nearly a 300% profit margin in all of this: PRICELESS!Seriously, this accomplishes nothing to stop counterfeiting. This is way up there in terms of pure government waste.

good consumer
good consumer

2 comments -"Would we allow Iran to seize The New York Times for blasphemy or Thailand to seize YouTube for insulting that country’s king? Hardly, and so it’s pretty amazing to think the US would think its perfectly ok to have a double-standard in place"Some of these countries already censor the Internet -- so what's your basis here. COICA only deals with dedicated rogue sites -- these are not sites that you are getting your "news" from but actual sites that are duping consumers and increasing the prevalance of piracy among internet users in the U.S. There is no reason for our country to pat theives on the back and use the cover of the Internet as a way to continue criminal activities.In response to Eloh, everyone knows the primary motive and reason to visit these sites is to perpetuate piracy of content that our artists work hard to create. It is absolutely absurd that you argue otherwise -- "It’s not the content of the sites themselves, merely the principle and (possible) injustice dealt to them that makes me upset."

Eloh
Eloh

Supposedly, there is a way around this.http://www.hm2k.com/posts/find-the-ip-address-of-a-seized-websiteHowever It doesn't seem to work all the time. It's not like I goto these websites, but I don't like the idea of ICE seizing domain names. Nobody does.It's not the content of the sites themselves, merely the principle and (possible) injustice dealt to them that makes me upset.

VanisaPascal
VanisaPascal

I agree. Moving to another domain would just restart the entire process. They haven't really done much at the root of the problem.

lol
lol

moar liek "good sheep" amirite LOLZ u need to understand that this power shift is good for consumers, like you u wana side with the same corporations that poison our planet, hold our culture hostage, rape our economy, go for it, but u came to the wrong place troll, u just sound stupid here

CF
CF

The fact is, this is both censorship AND seizure. They are seizing domain names, which are a property (is due process being observed(?)), AND they are preventing free and open speech (pretty much anything on the internet falls into that category).This is akin to an government agency seizing the New York Times printing presses. I'm surprised the lawyers aren't all over this.

Jared Moya
Jared Moya

Censor and seizing are two different things, and the point is that it sets the precedent of any country being able to seize sites hosted in another country for violating local laws. If a site is perfectly legal in Spain the US shouldnt be able to seize it any more than Iran should be allowed to seize Twitter or Facebook.Duping? Linking sites don't "dupe," and yet they were seized, and more importantly, who decided they were illegal or "rogue?" The designation wasn't the result of a trial.Thieves? Again, how are linking sites stealing?Your use of the word "rogue" proves your a US Chamber of Commerce shill.



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