There’s a timely warning from the feds this Cyber Monday: Be careful what you buy online, especially when it comes to designer goods and copyrighted materials. That Coach bag, Louis Vuitton briefcase or complete boxed set of every Seinfeld episode may not be what you think.
Seizure orders have been executed against 82 domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works, Attorney General Eric Holder
and Director John Morton
of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) announced today.
The investigation targeted online retailers of a diverse array of counterfeit goods, including sports equipment, shoes, handbags, athletic apparel and sunglasses, as well as illegal copies of copyrighted DVD boxed sets, music and software, officials said.
During the course of the operation, federal law enforcement agents made undercover purchases from online retailers suspected of selling counterfeit goods. In many instances, the goods were shipped directly into the United States
from suppliers in other countries using international express mail. If the goods were confirmed as counterfeit or otherwise illegal, seizure orders for the domain names of the websites that sold the goods were obtained from U.S. magistrate judges.
“Intellectual property crimes are not victimless. The theft of ideas and the sale of counterfeit goods threaten economic opportunities and financial stability, suppress innovation and destroy jobs,” said Holder in a statement.
Of the seized sites, 23 are in the District of Columbia
, earning our area the distinction of having more alleged knock-off sites than any other in the investigation. The seized D.C. sites include: mygolfwholesale.com, coachoutletfactory.com, realtimberland.com, and getdvdset.com.
Users who try to access the affected sites will find a full screen note from the government explaining the website has been seized.