Talked About On Twitter: #CyberMonday Domain Seizures

Were you able to take part in any of the Cyber Monday deals taking place all over the web today?

Hopefully you weren’t fooled into purchasing any counterfeit items! For although everyone knows a true Frey Wille can only be purchased in a boutique for thousands of dollars, knock-offs are tempting, aren’t they?

But have no fear, the government is here to protect you from yourself.

#CyberMonday is a pretty big deal. For those of us unwilling to have a fistfight over the last cashmere scarf or just uncomfortable watching people get trampled like the zombie apocalypse is upon us – Cyber Monday is fantastic. And for retailers who are likely still cleaning up from the destruction that is Black Friday, Cyber Monday must seem like a Godsend.

But if you were hoping to pick up a few moderately-priced knockoffs today, you may have found your selection had slimmed. And that’s okay – stealing is wrong. You’ll find what you want somewhere else. No biggee.

Folks whose shops were shut down today though may not recover as quickly. Who cares? Again, if they were selling stuff that didn’t belong to them, then too bad, so sad. But what are the odds that out of the 132 sites that were seized today without benefit of due process were actually legitimate?

Ars Technica reports that the seizures are part of “Operation In Our Sites, a program launched in 2010 to seize websites used to distribute infringing goods and content. ICE says that it has seized a total of 1529 domain names and forfeited 684 of them to the government.”

Parker Higgins of the Electronic Frontier Foundation was critical of the seizures, which can occur before domain owners have been convicted, or even charged, with any crime. “Domain seizures on Cyber Monday are timed to cause maximum disruption,” he tweeted, arguing that was “great if you’re not worried about due process.”


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seems happy with the result and how they arrived there. Are you?

During this operation, federal law enforcement officers made undercover purchases of a host of products; including professional sports jerseys, DVD sets, and a variety of clothing, jewelry and luxury goods from online retailers who were suspected of selling counterfeit products. If the copyright holders confirmed that the purchased products were counterfeit or otherwise illegal, seizure orders for the domain names of the websites that sold these goods were obtained from federal magistrate judges. [Bold ours.]

And we all know copyright holders aren’t capable of lying to go after legitimate competitors, right?

(Stamp image from Shutterstock)