Bad news: The federal government has once again made it harder to find the best online shopping spots for all your counterfeit sports jersey and fake Louis Vuitton bag holiday shopping needs. Why? Because they want your family's holiday gift-giving experience to be authentic.
Also, they're concerned about how counterfeiting affects the bottom lines of America's corporations. So with Cyber Monday looming, two federal agencies—the Department of Justice, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement—initiated Operation in Our Sites: a takedown of more than 130 domain names associated with websites that allegedly sell fake items ranging from sports jerseys to bogus bags. TorrentFreak has posted a three-page list of affected sites, including bizjerseys.com, googlejersey.com, cheapestjerseysworld.com, and occupyourcounterfeitjerseys.com (okay, that last one wasn't on the list).
As TorrentFreak notes, the feds conducted a similar operation in 2010—sweeping up 82 sites that offered goods for sale as well as links to music and movies. Another sweep occurred in February 2011—right before the Super Bowl—and targeted p2p sites and sites that streamed sports-related content. One of those sites, Rojadirecta.com, was extremely popular in Spain and even determined to be legal by a Spanish court.
Operators of the seized sites receive no notice beforehand, which raises due process issues. Meanwhile, the efficacy of these seizures is questionable; as TorrentFreak has reported earlier, many sites simply start back up under new domain names. Nevertheless, the feds are pleased with their work and consider their sweeps to be instructive for the general public. And so they will continue.
You'll have to buy your friends and family members for-real Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys now. If you can't afford such luxuries, Etsy offers many wares for sale, and there's always the DIY potpourri basket option.
[Torrent Freak. Image of jerseys via AP]