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The European law agency Europol has seized 292 domain names in cooperation with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and 25 law enforcement agencies from 19 countries. The sites were allegedly used to sell counterfeit merchandise, such as sportswear, electronics, pharmaceuticals, but also movies and music.
Countries involved were: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.
Law enforcement has been preparing for this since August based on information provided to them by trademark holders. 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 find either a banner that notifies them of the seizure and educates them about the crime of wilful copyright infringement, or the visitors will not be able to access the website anymore.
Project “In Our Sites” (IOS) is a sustained law enforcement initiative that began to protect consumers by targeting the sale of counterfeit merchandise on the Internet. The 292 domain names seized under Operation IOS V brings the total number of IOS domain names seized to 1829 since the IOS project began in November 2012.