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US Grabs More Domain Names, $1.4M From Online Counterfeit Operations 69

Posted by timothy
from the business-as-increasingly-usual dept.
coondoggie writes "According to court documents, investigation by federal law enforcement agents revealed that subjects whose domain names had been seized in a November 2010 operation continued to sell counterfeit goods using new domain names. In particular, the individuals, based in China, sold counterfeit professional and collegiate sports apparel, primarily counterfeit sports jerseys." So now the government has again taken over a swathe of domain names used in crime.
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US Grabs More Domain Names, $1.4M From Online Counterfeit Operations

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:34PM (#39974585)

    I didn't speak out for them because I didn't own domains and when they came for me....

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 12, 2012 @03:14AM (#39977153)

      I didn't speak out for them because I didn't own domains and when they came for me....

      What are Fat Boys Inc going to do when the world pulls the plug on the USA and cuts you off the inet (i know you think you own and control it but you would shit skyscrapers if you knew the truth) it is going to happen then you are up crap creak
       

  • Yawn (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:40PM (#39974629)

    Is anyone else underwhelmed by this "accomplishment"? Sports jerseys? Really? I guess as long as the proceeds more than fund the operations I am OK with this, but it had better be a net win for the government.

    • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:48PM (#39974697) Homepage Journal

      But now that we have achieved world peace, cured all diseases, and there is no hunger, we have nothing else to do but go after t-shirt and shoe companies.

      GO TEAM!

      • by jcoy42 (412359) on Friday May 11, 2012 @10:54PM (#39975887) Homepage Journal

        Maybe we're just looking at the new cold war.

        I'd say China's gonna take this one.

      • by Spy Handler (822350) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @01:46AM (#39976809) Homepage Journal

        If someone stole your bicycle or broke into your car and stole your stereo, you wouldn't report it to the police because their time and money is better spent going after murderers and rapists, rather than petty crime such as yours? Is that your logic?

        I used to work next door to a small 3-woman firm that licenses Warner Brothers (mostly Batman and Looney Tunes) characters and puts them on car floormats and sells them to auto supply shops. Theirs is "officially licensed product". They pay 10 to 20 grand for a logo per shipment of floormats, and they take all the risk (they pay the license fee regardless of whether the product sells or sits in a warehouse). Competing against cheaper pirated products can easily make them lose money and put them out of business.

        They were nice people and one of them was very cute btw....

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 12, 2012 @05:06AM (#39977471)

          The constatution does not EXPRESSLY make couterfetting a crime, nor does it EXPRESSLY allow the siezure of domain name's without due process.

          This is therefor by definition an illegal tax on competition.

          (roman_mir, can't login for some reason)

          • by TedHornsby (1791978) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @10:01AM (#39978491)

            The constatution does not EXPRESSLY make couterfetting a crime, nor does it EXPRESSLY allow the siezure of domain name's without due process.

            This is therefor by definition an illegal tax on competition.

            (roman_mir, can't login for some reason)

            Your argument would have greater weight if you could spell "Constitution" and "counterfeiting" and "therefore" and "seizure". Also, if you understood the proper use of apostrophes. I'm not usually such a spelling and grammar nazi, but, dude, this is just painful to look at.

        • by tebee (1280900) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @09:07AM (#39978187)

          Much as I feel sympathy for your cute girls, if they are not making money from this it's probably because they are/were paying too much for the licence fee. They made a bad business decision somewhere down the line and flunked out. I have no personal knowledge of the market for Loony Tunes car floormats but would suspect it's not huge anyway.

          If their themed mats are markedly more expensive than an ordinary mats then people just will not buy them. To blame pirated mats for this is just trying to find reasons to avoid taking the blame themselves.

          To a large extent this is how the capitalist system works though, we need survival of the fittest businesses to ensure the market works. The companies that sell the licences will always try to get higher fees for them, it's only the fact that a number of the licensees fail that stops these fees going up any more and us the public having to pay even more for our goods.

        • Re:Yawn (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @10:34AM (#39978675) Homepage Journal

          If someone stole your bicycle or broke into your car and stole your stereo, you wouldn't report it to the police because their time and money is better spent going after murderers and rapists, rather than petty crime such as yours? Is that your logic?

          If you want to compare using Federal agents to go after infringement of some copyright to my bike being stolen and asking my local police to look into it, we have nothing to discuss, as you are an idiot.

    • by sjames (1099) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:18PM (#39974917) Homepage

      And as a result of the squeeze, fake sports jerseys will now cost up to $0.50 more to make up for it.

      I wonder how much the enforcement action is costing us?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @09:04PM (#39975203)
      The Governments purpose is to lay and enforce the framework of society.

      The Government is not there to make money.

      So if we ever want Government to function correctly we as a people must debate what we want the Government to accomplish for society with the understanding that we as a people are willing to pay for it. If we're not willing to pay for it then the Government shouldn't be doing it. What percentage of your income are you willing to pay for roads, school lunches, the military, the elderly? How much are you willing to pay for copyright enforcement?

      What do we want these things to do for us and much should we be spending on them?

      BTW if all you think is we should cut one thing and spend more on another you aren't thinking at all.
      • by davester666 (731373) on Friday May 11, 2012 @11:49PM (#39976209) Journal

        "The Government is not there to make money"

        No, it's there to spend money.

        And contrary to press reports, neither of the two parties in the US seem at all serious about spending less, just differ on where to spend more.

        And they both know the magic words to apply to get any bill through:
        a) terrorism
        b) child porn

  • by santax (1541065) on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:46PM (#39974675)
    We really need to take the USA out of the internet-control. About everything is illegal in the USA and we should not take the risk they keep shutting more and more sites down. Yesterday it was for the children, today it's for the really rich and bad guys (riaa) and tomorrow it's because you tweeted you would go to LA and dig up Marilyn Monroe to party like there is no tomorrow. The world is in need of a new internet, a true internet without the current system of root-servers. A 100% decentralized internet, or in the event that isn't possible, an internet where the rootservers are in international waters. It's become to dangerous and we need to act. Fast.
  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:47PM (#39974685)

    Ah. Whack-a-mole. That most American of games. Such an excellent way to spend someone else's money.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:48PM (#39974703)

    I don't believe that this is right of the American government to do. The Internet is not sole U.S. property and there are no court proceedings to justify it.

    • Re:Not Right (Score:4, Informative)

      by hendridm (302246) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:15PM (#39974885) Homepage

      I don't believe that this is right of the American government to do. The Internet is not sole U.S. property and there are no court proceedings to justify it.

      Then don't put it on a TLD that is within U.S. jurisdiction. You'll notice that thepiratebay.org now redirects to thepiratebay.se for this reason.

      And if the U.S. asks a country to take down a ccTLD/server/whatever and the country complies, who should you be bitching at? The U.S. or your own government that is complying with another country's demands?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:50PM (#39974723)

    try and try again!

    Note: that's not also the definition of insanity...

    Captcha: paranoia!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:51PM (#39974727)

    This quick recovery those counterfeiters managed goes to show just how futile it is to attach the domain name infrastructure for these kinds of infringements. And for obvious reasons... nobody types an URL anymore, they just go to google/bing/whatever. And it's really a point & click matter to have your brand-new replacement domain indexed by them: you just have to fill in a form and watch googlebot crawl your site.

    If they had invested all that effort in seizing bank accounts instead (and the warrants they need to do that), they'd have shut them down for real. Instead, they just inflict collateral damage without any real damage to counterfeiters.

  • Problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IonOtter (629215) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:00PM (#39974781) Homepage

    ACTUAL crime being committed? Check.
    Warrant? Check.
    Proper procedure followed? Check.
    Crime investigated? Check.
    Crime confirmed? Check.
    Crime properly documented? Check.
    PUBLIC DULY INFORMED???

    Check and check.

    I don't have a problem with this.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:08PM (#39974831)

      Was the crime committed on U.S. soil or within U.S. jurisdiction?

      • Re:Problem? (Score:5, Informative)

        by ScentCone (795499) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:17PM (#39974899)

        Was the crime committed on U.S. soil or within U.S. jurisdiction?

        Yes. That's where they're selling the stuff.

        • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:32PM (#39975001)

          So if they sell stuff to other countries do they have to abide by their laws as well? What if those laws contradict each other. If an American company were to ship a sex toy to Saudi Arabia would it be okay for the Saudis to send an agent to chop off the hands of all of those responsible for shipping it? Or how about life in prison in a Saudi jail? The US is treating US laws as though they are the laws of the world. They are not. The US government is only doing this because they can and probably due to corruption. Not because it is proper behavior.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:38PM (#39975047)

            They'd have issues with getting the person extradited, but yes, if you're shipping something to a foreign country, it's your responsibility to know if it's legal. Remember the prince of pot? He would have been fine, but he started shipping to the US where it was illegal. Ultimately, he was extradited and tried.

            This is one of the reasons why many companies don't do business internationally, because they're then having to comply with and track all sorts of export regulations that don't apply if you're shipping to domestic addresses.

            If you don't want to be tried under US law, then don't commit crimes in the US. It's pretty simple, this isn't a case of a packet traveling through the US, these are cases where there is a very real presence in the US.

            • by santax (1541065) on Friday May 11, 2012 @09:11PM (#39975259)
              What needs to be changed is very simple. The US does this for her own coorps and citizens btw. If you sell something, the rules apply from the country from which you are selling. If someone from another country decides to buy from you (foreign) than it's his/her responsibility to make sure the item bought is legal. Not the other way around like some countries act now.
          • Re:Problem? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Bacon Bits (926911) on Friday May 11, 2012 @09:06PM (#39975225)

            So if they sell stuff to other countries do they have to abide by their laws as well?

            Yes. Of course you do.

            What if those laws contradict each other.

            Then you probably can't do business in that country. There is no inherent right to do business, and no right to make a profit. If you can't do it within the bounds of the law, you can't do it.

            If an American company were to ship a sex toy to Saudi Arabia would it be okay for the Saudis to send an agent to chop off the hands of all of those responsible for shipping it? Or how about life in prison in a Saudi jail?

            They could request extradition, assuming the two nations have good relations and working treaties with extradition agreements. This type of thing can and has happened before.

            The US is treating US laws as though they are the laws of the world. They are not. The US government is only doing this because they can and probably due to corruption. Not because it is proper behavior.

            The US is treating properties which are located in the US as subject to US law, which is the natural right of any sovereign nation. Domain names, under the current DNS system, effectively reside in the US because they are managed by ICANN, an organization located in the US. That makes DNS digital property subject to US law.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @09:55PM (#39975549)

              "The US is treating properties which are located in the US as subject to US law, which is the natural right of any sovereign nation. Domain names, under the current DNS system, effectively reside in the US because they are managed by ICANN, an organization located in the US. That makes DNS digital property subject to US law."

              Agreed; which is why it would be preferable to use a way of naming and linking sites which is not under American control. Something decentralised would be best.

            • by Kalriath (849904) on Friday May 11, 2012 @11:48PM (#39976199)

              The US is treating properties which are located in the US as subject to US law, which is the natural right of any sovereign nation. Domain names, under the current DNS system, effectively reside in the US because they are managed by ICANN, an organization located in the US. That makes DNS digital property subject to US law.

              Not quite correct. The US does not claim jurisdiction over ccTLDs, the TLDs which are delegated down to other countries - which are in fact not managed by ICANN (e.g. Australia's ccTLDs are managed by auDA, New Zealand's by InternetNZ, USA's by NeuStar). There are various reasons for this, but mostly it's the technical near impossibility of injecting a "poisoned" DNS entry for a ccTLD by adding it to the root zone, since most DNS servers won't go all the way to the root servers to ask for a single domain.

            • by xenobyte (446878) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @11:23AM (#39978971)

              If an American company were to ship a sex toy to Saudi Arabia would it be okay for the Saudis to send an agent to chop off the hands of all of those responsible for shipping it? Or how about life in prison in a Saudi jail?

              They could request extradition, assuming the two nations have good relations and working treaties with extradition agreements. This type of thing can and has happened before.

              Actually... Until the post 9/11 era it was ab absolute requirement that the crime was indeed a crime in both countries. No problem when it comes to murder and similar, because that's illegal in most countries, but something like a sex toy might be extremely illegal in Saudi Arabia but it sure isn't in more other (civilized) countries. So the people shipping the sex toy would never be eligible to be extradited. Now, some countries have expanded extradition treaties where 'serious crimes' (terror in particular) are grounds for extradition from country A and prosecution in country B even for citizens of country A currently located in country A.

              A recent example was a danish woman who was extradited from Denmark to the US (Florida) on drug charges - her former boyfriend was convicted of drug smuggling which happened while they were together, and as part of a plea-bargain he testified that she was in on it. Fortunately she was cleared (zero evidence) and is now safely back in Denmark. It was an obvious misuse of the expanded extradition treaty because even if she did it (knew about it), she obviously didn't have a connection to the smuggling itself, nor took part in the proceeds except third hand. She was nothing like a drug king pin or similar which would be a minimum for triggering the expanded treaty.

        • by xenobyte (446878) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @11:03AM (#39978837)

          Was the crime committed on U.S. soil or within U.S. jurisdiction?

          Yes. That's where they're selling the stuff.

          Wrong. They're selling the stuff on the Internet. It has no nationality and thus no laws - and thus no crime can be committed.

          Some or most of their customers are in the US but that doesn't matter. If they can't touch the manufacturers (that are committing the crimes here) which are physically located in China they can go after the stuff when it hits US soil. They don't need to mess with the Internet in order to stop people from buying this stuff.

          • by ScentCone (795499) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @03:54PM (#39980967)

            Wrong. They're selling the stuff on the Internet

            A sale involves communication with the customer (or in this case, victim, being sold counterfeit goods), involves moving money around, and involves moving goods around. They aren't "selling on the internet," as that's not even possible with physical goods. They are allowing a customer/victim to communicate order and payment info to them across the internet. And then they use the international banking system, which crosses borders and is subject to all sorts of international treaties and arrangements, to actually take the money from the customer/victim. Then they use common carriers or freight companies to move the goods across international borders to deliver the goods, through customs (subject to international agreements and laws) to the person taking deliver of the bogus, fraudulant items.

            The sale is consumated when the delivery is made. In the US. The sale also happens to involve financial activity across international boundaries, using the US bankking system. Fraudulently misrepresnting the nature of the transaction is a crime. Delivering counterfeit goods is a crime. Ripping off trademarks has both civil and criminal components to it.

            and thus no crime can be committed

            Let me guess, you like to rip off entertainment instead of paying the people who make it what they ask for it, and so you come up with uninformed, assinine "explanations" for this sort of thing as cover for your own ripping off of things. Yup, thought so. It's on the internet so it can't be wrong! Obviously your junior high school teachers aren't serving you very well.

          • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @06:34PM (#39989501) Journal

            They're selling the stuff on the Internet. It has no nationality and thus no laws - and thus no crime can be committed.

            Like ScentCone said, the Internet is merely the way they receive an order. Would it be any different if the customer ordered by phone? Fax? Mail Order?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:11PM (#39974857)

      ...different parts of the world have VERY different interpretations on what constitutes a crime.
      define "ACTUAL crime" in a border-less environment like the internet...

      - considered a crime in the offenders country of origin?
      - considered a crime in the victims country of origin?
      - does it need to be both? if so, who has jurisdiction?
      - if there are treaties... whose take precedence?
      - where was the crime committed? at the point of manufacture? at the point of sale? where is the point of sale exactly? at the point of delivery?
      - does it all come down to he who has the bigger missile silos?

      Its really easy for us to state that something on the internet is "wrong". Its a lot harder to state that its "illegal"

      • by IonOtter (629215) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:34PM (#39975017) Homepage

        Hence the conditions: "Proper procedure followed" and "Actual crime".

        If you follow proper procedure, you will determine whether or not you actually have jurisdiction. And in the US, the sale of counterfeit goods-where 'counterfeit' in this case marking the items to look exactly like the genuine article, such as Reebock instead of Reebok- is illegal. So in this instance, they appear to have cleared all those conditions.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:40PM (#39975055)

      "Check
      Check
      Check ..."

      [citation needed]

    • by rtb61 (674572) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @02:14AM (#39976937) Homepage

      Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law? FAIL.

      "Washington, we have a problem." as a RIAA/MPAA driven Justice Department driven by Uncle Tom Obama send justice hurtling out of control. Steal the stuff, fire the employees, threatening them with extended homosexual rape in US prisons (don't deny Americans routinely comment on it and it is publicly acknowledged http://www.hrw.org/news/2007/12/15/us-federal-statistics-show-widespread-prison-rape [hrw.org]).

      So forget justice this is all about nothing but a corrupt betrayer in the highest office in the United States a true Uncle Tom and out of control greed and corruption.

  • by gstrickler (920733) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:10PM (#39974841)

    ...that seizing domains does absolutely no good, and that in at least a one case [arstechnica.com], it does significant harm to people who haven't violated the law [slashdot.org].

    It's a flawed, ineffective, and destructive policy that can only cause harm and can never have any significant benefit. It needs to be stopped immediately.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @10:49PM (#39975857)

    what i'd lke to know:
    how much does it cost us to identify the sites?
    how many legit sites are affected and lose money?
    etc etc
    what's the point of seizing domains when it's pretty simple to just switch to a new one

  • by pgn674 (995941) on Friday May 11, 2012 @10:52PM (#39975873) Homepage
    If you want to see all of the banners used by the Operation In Our Sites initiative, I have collected them here: DOJ Seized Domain Notices - Paul Nickerson - Picasa Web Albums [google.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @11:39PM (#39976143)

    So according to ACTA promoters, counterfeiting is a $100 billion a year business, and yet these websites combined, resulted in seizure of only $1.5 million??

    "Under warrants issued by a U.S. District Judge, law enforcement agents seized $1,455,438.72 in proceeds that had been transferred from the money service business accounts to various bank accounts in China."

    I notice they included the decimal point in the story and the fraction which makes the number longer, but it is only $1.5 million, probably far less than the budget of the department investigating it, and certainly not worth crippling the world with censorship, surveillance etc.

    So can we now again have a proper assessment of the true damage counterfeiting is and stop this ACTA funny number nonsense??

  • by future assassin (639396) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @01:18AM (#39976677) Homepage

    are not being punished? You can't tell me they couldn't get the transaction history from the payment processors.

  • by Jawnn (445279) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @10:17AM (#39978579)
    Banksters continue to loot the savings and investments of millions of people, and our "leaders" are focused on knock-off NFL jerseys and copied mp3's.
  • Also, we are going to finally win the drug war any day now.

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