Largest domain seizure yet affects counterfeiters, pirates

By on November 28, 2011, 6:30 PM

Keeping with recent tradition, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Justice have initiated a sweeping crackdown on websites accused of selling counterfeit goods and pirated software. ICE had performed a similar operation last year, as we reported on Cyber Monday in 2010. 

The list is larger this year, TorrentFreak reports. 82 domains were seized in 2010 and this year is easily on its way to doubling that figure. However, this time around, ICE seems to be limiting its endeavor to commercial pirates and counterfeiters. The websites affected all directly profit from the sales or subscriptions of their ill-gotten goods. 

Last year, ICE had focused more on seizing the domains of free music and movie websites. At the time of this writing, no such content has been affected thus far. 

Because ICE only seizes domain names, the websites themselves continue to exist and operate online. They merely lose the "shortcut" you use to access them. As a result, browser extensions exist which can circumvent domain take-downs, such as MAFIAAFire. TechSpot reported in May 2011 how Mozilla resisted a request from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to remove MAFIAAFire from their add-on catalogue. Despite those efforts, the extension is still available, only now for both Chrome and Firefox. 

A few dozen sites have reportedly switched over to back-up domains. Many website operators involved in questionable content have learned hard lessons from previous domain seizures and have planned ahead. By purchasing alternative domain names, their websites can still be accessed through different addresses.

It would seem ICE's ability to seize domain names without any visible due process throws the need for SOPA further into question. A controversial bill, SOPA is set to broaden the authority of government and companies to shutdown websites that may be engaged in illegal activities. Tech companies have expressed concerns over the bill, questioning the potential unintended consequences of the power it bestows.

List of known seized domains via TorrentFreak




User Comments: 12

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Cota Cota said:

Since they are only going for pirates who take profit from sharing illegal media and software shouldn't ISP's be the fist on the line :P

Yes my ISP does count like a pirate, they charge the same money for different speeds

AnonymousSurfer AnonymousSurfer said:

Well I'm glad they are taking down scammers but not so much the pirates. I'm more happy that they are taking down pirates that are making profit off of selling the softwares but still not that happy.

Guest said:

Am I the only one who noticed that 99% of the domains they targeted are enemies of official NFL merchandisers? Coincidence? I think not.

RH00D RH00D said:

By comparison, imagine if you were on land, mainland, and there was stolen goods you could acquire for free on an island, connected to the mainland by a bridge. All they have done is "destroyed" the bridge you would have used to get to the island (website). You still have alternative routes of access, whip out your kayak or take off in your little plane and be on your way to the island. This is kind of the same deal. What they have done is not effective at all, maybe to the casual pirate, but you'd think the government could come up with better censorship methods than that. Oh wait, no you wouldn't, cause the government can't do crap.

treetops treetops said:

Most those sites have jersey in the name don't mess with the NFL I have a hard time downloading missed games.

treetops treetops said:

Oh yeah they smoothly squished counterfeiters with pirates. Damn paper clips!

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

The reality is that taking down these domain names is like pulling over a car and finding a kilo of cocaine in it, and lauding it as a victory in the drug war, while a semi filled with a few tons of cocaine drives past the arrest scene. I would not be surprised if most of these jerseys are made in the same Asian sweat shop that makes the authentic jerseys. Once you have all the patterns and skilled workers, all you need is just to run the factory at night, and churn out the same product.

Mindwraith said:

RH00D said:

By comparison, imagine if you were on land, mainland, and there was stolen goods you could acquire for free on an island, connected to the mainland by a bridge. All they have done is "destroyed" the bridge you would have used to get to the island (website). You still have alternative routes of access, whip out your kayak or take off in your little plane and be on your way to the island. This is kind of the same deal. What they have done is not effective at all, maybe to the casual pirate, but you'd think the government could come up with better censorship methods than that. Oh wait, no you wouldn't, cause the government can't do crap.

i imagine most of these websites target unsuspecting people who think they are buying legitimate merchandise. so this is extremely effective because few people would go out of their way to access an obscure website just to purchase knock-offs.

tehbanz tehbanz said:

Ever see random comments on websites saying

**CHEAP LOUIE VUITON BAGS** <url>

**CHEAP NIKE SHOES** <url>

**CHEAP NFL JERSEYS** <url>

every website on this list reminds me of those comments, although seeing that they have actual merchandise is pretty awesome!

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Mindwraith said:

i imagine most of these websites target unsuspecting people who think they are buying legitimate merchandise. so this is extremely effective because few people would go out of their way to access an obscure website just to purchase knock-offs.

Unsuspecting AND stupid. Why would people think they're getting an amazing deal and getting a genuine Rolex or Gucci product for 5% of the market price?

Gars Gars said:

gwailo247 said:

Mindwraith said:

i imagine most of these websites target unsuspecting people who think they are buying legitimate merchandise. so this is extremely effective because few people would go out of their way to access an obscure website just to purchase knock-offs.

Unsuspecting AND stupid. Why would people think they're getting an amazing deal and getting a genuine Rolex or Gucci product for 5% of the market price?

cos they dont buy quality or lasting products

its a show off for a month or short, then they buys next trendy sh!t with the same quality

its a matter of 'lifestyle' and i dont expect you to understand it (i cant too)

did you see that shop sign that says "genuine fake watches"? check ur_fav_search for images

Guest said:

It's the NFL's fault for counterfeit NFL jerseys. No one sells them anymore, at least not for a reasonable price. They've made it so retailers must buy a million dollars worth of stock in order to buy and resell NFL jerseys. So no sports stores stock them anymore, which is why so many counterfeiters are popping up.

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