US shuts down 150 websites to fight counterfeiting

Washington : US authorities have shut down 150 websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works, Xinhua reported.

The operation, executed by the Justice Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and other federal agencies, was timed to coincide with “Cyber Monday”, the biggest on-line shopping day of the year.

“Through this operation we are aggressively targeting those who are selling counterfeit goods for their own personal gain while costing our economy much-needed revenue and jobs,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

“Intellectual property crimes harm businesses and consumers, alike, threatening economic opportunity and financial stability, and today we have sent a clear message that the Department will remain ever vigilant in protecting the public’s economic welfare and public safety through robust intellectual property enforcement,” he said.

The 150 seized domains are in the custody of the federal government. Visitors to the sites will now find a seizure banner that notifies them that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities.

During this crackdown, known as Operation In Our Sites, federal law enforcement agents made undercover purchases of a host of products, including professional sports jerseys, golf equipment, DVD sets, footwear, handbags and sunglasses, representing a variety of trademarks from on-line retailers who were suspected of selling counterfeit products.

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