February 1st, 2014, 20:36 PM
Websites busted for pushing counterfeit Super Bowl gear
As they have for the past few years the U.S. Customs department teamed with the National Football League to cut into the lucrative counterfeit sports gear market.
In what the feds called “Operation Team Player,” special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and officers from Customs and Border Protection worked with the National Football League (NFL) and other sports leagues along with law enforcement agencies to identify illegal shipments imported into the U.S., as well as stores and vendors selling counterfeit trademarked items.
The website seizures during Operation Team Player are the next iteration of “Operation In Our Sites,” a long-term law enforcement initiative that targets counterfeiting and piracy on the Internet. Since the launch of Operation In Our Sites in June 2010, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center has seized a total of 2,713 domain names.
According to ICE, the 163 websites have been seized by law enforcement, and are now in the custody of the federal government. Visitors to these websites will find a seizure banner that notifies them that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities and educates them that willful copyright infringement is a federal crime. In addition to the domain names seized by law enforcement, the NFL also executed civil seizure orders in 2013 for more than 5250 websites, ICE stated.
“These teams have already seized more than 202,000 items of phony sports memorabilia along with other counterfeit items worth more than $21.6 million. Law enforcement officers have made 50 arrests in relation to Operation Team Player so far, three at the federal level and 47 at the state and local level. Super Bowl XLVIII efforts will continue through February 7,” ICE stated.