The government shut down 82 websites on Cyber Monday, one of the busiest online shopping days of the year, in a crackdown on counterfeit goods and copyrighted material.
The domains targeted are suspected of selling knockoff goods, including sports jerseys, DVD box sets, handbags and other pirated items. The seizure is a part of Operation In Our Sites 2 by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
"The sale of counterfeit U.S. brands on the Internet steals the creative work of others, costs our economy jobs and revenue and can threaten the health and safety of American consumers," ICE Director John Morton said in a press release. "The protection of intellectual property is a top priority."
ICE agents made undercover purchases from online sites thought to be selling pirated goods. If the goods received were confirmed as counterfeit, the domains were seized. "As of today - what is known as 'Cyber Monday' and billed as the busiest online shopping day of the year - anyone attempting to access one of these websites using its domain name will no longer be able to make a purchase," the ICE announced. Instead, the site displays a banner informing the shopper that the domain has been shut down.According to CNN, most of the sites were operated from China, and most of the goods were manufactured in China.
This most recent investigation stems from Operation In Our Sites I, which was launched in June. "Intellectual property crimes are not victimless," Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference. "The theft of ideas and the sale of counterfeit goods threaten economic opportunities and financial stability, suppress innovation and destroy jobs."