Federal authorities on Monday announced the seizure of 150 domain names for Web sites that featured alleged knock-offs of authentic jerseys, handbags, sports equipment and other items.
The results of the undercover operation "In Our Sites" top last year's crackdown, when investigators shut down 82 web sites.
In most cases, the person or people operating the commercial sites do not challenge the domain name seizure in court, Lanny Breuer, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s criminal division, told reporters.
“The sale of counterfeit goods cheats consumers and robs legitimate businesses – both large and small – of the fruits of their hard-earned work,” Breuer said in a statement today. “We will not tolerate those who seek to profit by abusing the Internet and stealing intellectual property at the expense of authors, artists and inventors.”
John Morton, who heads the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, told reporters on a conference call: “We want to promote a lawful online environment as much as we can and that means going after the small but significant number of Web sites that are engaged in frauds on consumers.”
Morton and Breuer said law enforcement officers worked with copyright holders in an undercover sting to determine whether any targeted Web site was offering counterfeit goods for sale. Investigators bought sports jerseys, golf equipment, DVDs, shoes, sunglasses and other items.
DOJ officials said in most of the cases the goods were shipped to the United States from a supplier in another country. China was a main source for much of the goods, according to law enforcement officials.
The domain name becomes the property of the federal government if no person challenges the seizure. Since 2010, federal authorities have shut down 350 domain names through “Operation In Our Sites.” Of the 350, 116 sites are now the property of the government.
The authorities post a banner on any site the government has seized. “MyJerseyShop.com,” for instance, is no longer up and running. The banner on the site notifies the visitor of the seizure and provides the penalties for willful copyright infringement.
Click here for a list of the web sites the authorities seized. A sampling form the list: louisvuitton-bags-forcheap.com, mlbjerseyswell.com, texansjerseystore.com and shopsbag.com.