The federal government seized 150 sites for selling counterfeit goods to online consumers on the biggest shopping day for online retailers, Cyber Monday. (Source: RNN)
In the place of NinjaVideo.com, which was seized in a previous phase of Operation In Our Sites, sits this notice of seizure for incoming visitors. (Source: RNN)
WASHINGTON (RNN) - On the biggest online shopping day of the year, the Department of Justice announced it had seized 150 domain names as part of an ongoing operation to take down websites involved in selling counterfeit goods.
"For most, the holidays represent a season of good will and giving, but for these criminals, it's the season to lure in unsuspecting holiday shoppers," said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton.
"More and more Americans are doing their holiday shopping online, and they may not realize that purchasing counterfeit goods results in American jobs lost, American business profits stolen and American consumers receiving substandard products," he said.
Federal law enforcement agents bought jerseys, handbags, DVDs, sunglasses and other goods from sites suspected of selling counterfeit goods, many of which were shipped from other countries. When items were confirmed as counterfeit, federal officials obtained warrants to take down the sites.
Visitors to the seized sites now will see a banner stating that the site has been seized, as well as a public service announcement about the effects of buying counterfeit and copyright-infringing goods.
"The sale of counterfeit goods cheats consumers and robs legitimate businesses - both large and small - of the fruits of their hard-earned work," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.
"And the ramifications can be even greater because the illicit profits made from these types of illegal ventures often fuel other kinds of organized crime," Morton said.
The seizure was a joint effort of the Department of Justice, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and the FBI Washington Field Office.
Since the project, nicknamed "Operation In Our Sites," started in June 2010, the government has targeted 350 sites that were selling counterfeit goods. The seizure banner put up in the websites' place has received more than 77 million views.
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