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Federal officials take down 132 websites in 'Cyber Monday' crackdown (thehill.com)
37 points by billyarzt 1642 days ago | hide | past | web | 31 comments | favorite

As part of the operation, federal law enforcement officers made undercover purchases of products such as sports jerseys, DVD players, clothing and jewelry from websites suspected of selling counterfeit products. If the copyright holders confirmed that the products were unauthorized, ICE obtained a court order to shut down the sites.

I am confused due to the way this is worded. Does this mean that sites selling second-hand, authentic goods (not counterfeit) could be taken down if the copyright-holder did not "authorize" the site to sell their goods?

I think it more reflects the nature of the modern apparel market: Companies like Nike and Puma frequently don't make their own products anymore; they license or contract other companies to manufacture products bearing their logo.

Potentially there's a thing about "grey market" - eg a supermarket (Tesco) in the UK buying Levi Jeans from a different region and selling them cheap in the UK.


I'm not sure what the state of the law is now.

But I think it's just bulk pirated goods. Many t-shirts with fake labels stitched on or look-alike handbags sold as real brands etc.

If they were selling them as "new", sure.

Can the MPAA stop someone from selling a sealed DVD as "New" then if they bought it from Best Buy first?

In the US, they probably can't. If the DVD is imported, they almost certainly can.


Omega was able to successfully prevent Costco from selling genuine, certified authentic Omega watches intended for different foreign markets as "new Omega watches" in the US.

So yes, if you bought a sealed DVD from a Russian Best Buy equivalent (ignoring the region coding issues) and sold it in the US, you'd probably be in trouble.

Why not take down eBay then? I'm sure officers could easily fulfil the same criteria of being able to buy "counterfeit" goods from there. Amazon too no doubt. Letting authorities get away with this sort of shoot-first approach is a very slippery slope. The Dot Com debacle is simply a bigger version.

Sure - these may be bad actors, but we don't really know that do we. Where is the due process? Where is the investigation uncovering a warehouse full of goods? Can any of us trust our business to a .com domain name any more?

eBay has its own takedown process and follows US law because they are US-based. They only seize domains for sites that are outside the US (but their domains are registered in the US) and do not respect US laws. There are still huge due-process concerns, though.

eBay has plenty of foreign sellers, but yes, they work with the authorities, not against them. So, I have to say, did MegaUpload and Kim DotCom. What's a foreign business to do?

The underlying issue is that a .com domain name is no longer safe, and I suspect the new top level domains will be in the same bucket.

Once seized, they generally point them at the server at which hosts their seized image. Thus using a simple reverse IP lookup we can see a list of all seized domains: http://viewdns.info/reverseip/?host=

wow that's pretty cool. Looks like everything from that list was in November. Also looks like the majority of the sites were selling prescription drugs.

those dates do not reflect when a site was initially seized. For instance, Filespump.com was seized in 2012 and lulzsec.com was seized in March. Both say November according to this list.

Dates are when the domain was last checked by the site.

What about those folks who bought from these sites in the preceding days and weeks before this action was taken? Shouldn't sites be taken down as found, instead of waiting for a "special" day, if they allegedly violate laws.

They know full well that these take-downs are nothing but token gestures. That means two things: 1) theatrics are emphasized. Taking them all down at once is more theatrical. 2) If they take down sites weeks before a major shopping holiday, they will be back well before the holiday hits. They are doing the equivalent of spritzing febreeze around the apartment right before people come over to visit.

I'm not sure how valid your argument is. Christmas is almost a month away, and that's plenty of time for these websites to spring back up.

Well I suspect the idea is most people buy things before Christmas, not during. The perception seems to be that the single largest online shopping day in the "before Christmas" season is this "Cyber Monday".

Maybe the most active shopping day is the second Tuesday of December, or something else relatively obscure, but since theatrics are valued it would still make sense to hit on the day most people think of as "the big day".

> It is the third straight year that the government has seized websites on "Cyber Monday"...

Did not know this.

> ICE's Homeland Security Investigations unit coordinated with officials from Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania, the United Kingdom and the European Police Office to take down the sites.

A great example of mission creep. Counterfeit goods have nothing to do with terrorism.

ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Still mission creep, though.

Counterfeiting has always been part of ICE's mission and the "homeland security" dig is a cheap shot, since ICE got absorbed into DHS; it wasn't an effort spun up by homeland security.

ICE is a merger of the former INS and Customs. Prior to DHS Customs had nothing to do with immigration, and that job is now split between ICE and CIS for reasons that don't seem apparent.

Be nice if they could pay a bit more attention to the things that matter to the little people, like fraud and spam.

If they have the ability to do this, then what would SOPA have bought them?

Do the websites allegedly selling counterfeit products have any way to defend themselves? Or does the copyright holder just say, this is mine and they get shut down without any verification.

They can sue to get the domain back, but it's usually not worth it. Or if you're lucky they'll give the domain back after a year: http://www.techdirt.com/blog/?company=dajaz1

Whatever happened to innocence until proven guilty?

Doesn't apply at the border

Not sure what they achieved. Tomorrow the same people will register another 132 domain names and continue operating as usual.

But they're down today, on the (if you believe the hype) biggest online shopping day of the year.

It's like busting the drug dealer on the corner. Taking down small level offenders, doesn't solve the problem.

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