According to Europol, in a combined effort, Police forces across Europe have seized nearly 300 web domains, which were being used to sell counterfeit goods. The websites were selling luxury goods and sportswear, electronics, pharmaceuticals and popular pirated goods such as movies and music. If you were to visit one of these sites from now on, you will now be shown a page providing you with information on copyright crime. According to the BBC, it is understood that currently no arrests were made during the operation. However, a source that was close to the investigation has said it was possible that arrests would be made in the near future.
The Police could use the site closures as a way to track down those who are responsible for the actual counterfeiting of goods. It is understood that Europol wanted to act quickly, in order to minimise the websites’ business in the period leading up to Christmas.
Bruce Foucart, acting director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, and who assisted in the action said, “Counterfeiters take advantage of the holiday season and sell cheap fakes to unsuspecting consumers everywhere…Consumers need to protect themselves, their families, and their personal financial information from the criminal networks operating these bogus sites.”
A total of 292 seized domains has not necessarily equalled 292 closed websites. the reason is that many domains can point to the same operation. This action also does not close the website itself, but instead it closes the domain pointing to it, so, in theory it will make it harder to access the site.
Europol said since the launch of the initiative, called “In Our Sites”, back in November 2012, the total number of domains seized in this way was now 1,829. Rob Wainwright, director of Europol said, “The infringements of international property rights is a growing problem in our economies and for millions of producers and consumers…Europol is committed to working with its international partners to crack down on the criminal networks responsible for this illegal activity.”
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