For the third consecutive year, websites selling counterfeit products online have been seized on Cyber Monday, the day generally thought to be the busiest online shopping day of the year.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that 132 domain names have been seized this year in two campaigns known as “Project Cyber Monday 3″ and “Project Transatlantic.” The latter project refers to the fact that law enforcement agencies in several European countries also took part. The US-based effort nabbed 101 domains, while the European project claimed another 31.
The ICE says that the websites/domains that were seized “were set up to dupe consumers into unknowingly buying counterfeit goods as part of the holiday shopping season.”
The domain names seized are now in the custody of the governments involved in these operations. Visitors typing those domain names into their Web browsers will now find a banner that notifies them of the seizure and educates them about the federal crime of willful copyright infringement.
The ICE didn’t release the names/URLs of the seized sites, but it said that officials made purchases of products such as jewelry, DVD sets, professional sports jerseys and more from suspected counterfeiters. After the purchases, ICE and its partners asked copyright owners to confirm that the purchased items were fakes.
With this year’s effort, a total of 1,630 domains/websites have been seized since the operation began in June 2010. ICE said today that more domains could be seized in the near future.