Fake Watches, Fake Websites

Nov 29, 2010 1:34pm

If you want Timberland boots online, you may look at Timberland.com.  If you really want them, would you go to RealTimberland.com?

If you do today, you’ll find this. Click on it to enlarge:

The Justice Department and Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation today announced they’ve seized 82 domain names that were being used to sell counterfeit goods — fake handbags, pirated software, copies of DVDs, Burberry scarves that aren’t, and so forth.  A lot of people wouldn’t fall for the fakes, but enough would be satisfied with them that they stayed in business, until now.

A few of the URLs:

You get the idea.  If you really wanted a fake Rolex, or a copy of a brand-name bag, you might just type one of these names into your browser. As we’ve reported in the past, some fakes can be pretty convincing.

“By seizing these domain names, we have disrupted the sale of thousands of counterfeit items, while also cutting off funds to those willing to exploit the ingenuity of others for their own personal gain,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement. “Intellectual property crimes are not victimless. The theft of ideas and the sale of counterfeit goods threaten economic opportunities and financial stability, suppress innovation and destroy jobs.”

A Justice Department report on intellectual property, released in June, said, “Annually, copyright piracy affecting the U.S. Motion pictures, sound recordings, business software and entertainment software/video game industries cost the U.S. Economy $58 billion in total output, 373,375 jobs, $16.3 billion in earnings, and $2.6 billion in Federal/state/local tax revenue.”

At a news conference, John Morton, the head of ICE, said, “Are the criminals behind these websites hiring American workers, paying federal and state taxes, providing pensions and health care, investing in new products? No. They make money stealing other people’s work and innovation without any care for the consequences.”

The government timed its announcement for Cyber Monday, and the effort is part of something called Operation in Our Sites.

Hat tip to Pierre Thomas and Jason Ryan for passing the information on.

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