Feds 'raid' websites trading counterfeit goods
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, the feds are once again cracking down on websites dealing in bootleg goods.
The Department of Justice said Monday that it moved to seize 82 domain names of websites "engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyright works."
The illegal goods include sports equipment, shoes, handbags and sunglasses, as well as the usual merchandise: illegal copies of copyrighted DVD boxed sets, music and software.
Federal law enforcement agents made undercover purchases from online retailers suspected of selling counterfeit goods, which in many cases were shipped to the U.S. directly from suppliers in other countries using international express mail.
"Intellectual property crimes are not victimless,'' said Atty. Gen. Eric Holder in a statement. "The theft of ideas and sale of counterfeit goods threaten economic opportunities and financial stability, suppress innovation and destroy jobs."
The operation, which involved several federal agencies, comes six months after authorities seized domain names of eight websites offering pirated copies of first-run movies. One of those sites, TVShack.net, shut down only to pop up under a similar name, TVShack.cc.
That U.K. domain site was among those seized on Monday, said John Morton, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"We are not going to go away,'' Morton said.
Naturally, the film industry's leading trade group was happy with the crackdown. Bob Pisano, chairman of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, called the Internet sites '' 'the worst of the worst' rogue websites, which cloak themselves in respectability and yet traffic in counterfeit and stolen goods."
-- Richard Verrier