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Nov 26, 2012 No Comments ›› Dinah Tellya

Excerpted from The Hill: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and European officials seized 132 websites on Monday for allegedly selling counterfeit merchandise in a coordinated crackdown timed to coincide with the holiday shopping season.

It is the third straight year that the government has seized websites on “Cyber Monday” — the marketing term for the Monday after Thanksgiving, when many online retailers offer steep discounts and promotions.

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit coordinated with officials from Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania, the United Kingdom and the European Police Office to take down the sites.

“This operation is a great example of the tremendous cooperation between ICE and our international partners at the [Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center],” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement. “Our partnerships enable us to go after criminals who are duping unsuspecting shoppers all over the world. This is not an American problem, it is a global one and it is a fight we must win.”

As part of the operation, federal law enforcement officers made undercover purchases of products such as sports jerseys, DVD players, clothing and jewelry from websites suspected of selling counterfeit products.

If the copyright holders confirmed that the products were unauthorized, ICE obtained a court order to shut down the sites.