ICE Crackdown on Cyber Monday

Going after online piracy

Monday, Nov 28, 2011  |  Updated 8:59 PM EDT
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Designer goods don't come cheap -- at least, not if you want them to be real.

Designer goods don't come cheap -- at least, not if you want them to be real.

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On Cyber Monday, as American spend millions of dollars making online purchases, a federal agency is cracking down on internet counterfeiters.

Vendors that sell bootleg versions of DVDs, handbags, and athletic apparel are all being targeted by Immigration and Custom Enforcement.  The agency opened up a special unit called the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center to go after the online counterparts of flea-market knock-off vendors.

Last year, the special unit seized the domain names of 82 commercial websites that ICE says were selling counterfeit goods.

This fall, ICE has once again been running the anti-piracy operation, dubbed "In Our Sites."  The agency announced on Monday that it had shut down 150 fraudulent websites that collectively attracted 77 million hits during this year's sweep.  The companies caught up in the operation sold fake Uggs, phony Nikes, knock-off Coach bags, and unlicensed sports jerseys, among many other items.

An ICE spokesperson said the groups behind the websites, which have URLs like www.realtimberland.com and www.nfljerseysupply.com are virtually all located in China and have ties to organized crime.

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