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Feds Seize Domain Names in Crackdown on Counterfeit Goods and Piracy

On Monday, a government office that is part of the Department of Homeland Security swooped in on 82 websites, leaving visitors to the sites to see only the "scary eagle" graphics below:

The government seized 82 domain names that it believes are linked to counterfeiting and piracy. Wired's Threat Level reports that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder explained on Monday that the crackdown is part of “Operation In Our Sites v. 2.0,” which seeks to identify and stop websites that sell counterfeit goods or facilitate illegal music piracy.

Threat Level notes that most of the seized domains are for websites that deal goods, such as realtimberland.com and louis-vuitton-outlet-store.com. After federal agents made undercover purchases of counterfeit goods from certain sites, a court authorized the seizure of those sites’ domain names.  Critics of the government's action point out that in some cases, "the proprietors of the targeted websites were not given advance notice of the action, and had no opportunity to challenge the seizure in court."

The Market Ticker blog adds that the seizure is only of the domain names, and not of the websites themselves. That means that the owners of the websites can get back up and running by simply re-registering for a top-level domain not under the US Government's jurisdiction (such as ".info" instead of ".com.")

Posted by Bruce Carton on November 30, 2010 at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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