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Posts tagged "ecommerce"

BAD SPORTS: 300+ Websites Seized for Sports-Related IP Infringement

Furthering the US government's efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy online, special agents recently seized a total of 307 websites. Sixteen of the sites illegally streamed live sporting telecasts over the Internet, including NFL games. Two hundred ninety-one website domain names were illegally selling and distributing counterfeit merchandise.

Additionally, Yonjo Quiroa, 28, of Comstock Park, Mich., was recently arrested by special agents with HSI. He is charged with one count of criminal infringement of a copyright related to his operation of websites that illegally streamed live sporting event telecasts and pay-per-view events over the Internet. Quiroa operated nine of the 16 streaming websites that were seized, and he operated them from his home in Michigan until yesterday's arrest.

The website seizures during Operation Fake Sweep represent the 10th phase of Operation In Our Sites, a sustained law enforcement initiative targeting counterfeiting and piracy on the Internet. The 307 websites have been seized by law enforcement and are now in the custody of the federal government. Visitors to these websites will then 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.

American business is threatened by those who pirate copyrighted material and produce counterfeit trademarked goods. Criminals are attempting to steal American ideas and products and sell them over the Internet, in flea markets, in legitimate retail outlets and elsewhere. Intellectual property (IP) thieves undermine the U.S. economy and jeopardize public safety. American jobs are being lost, American innovation is being diluted - and organized criminal enterprises are profiting from their increasing involvement in IP theft.

Since the launch of Operation In Our Sites in June 2010, the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) has seized a total of 669 domain names.

College Student Could Face 20+ Years for Internet Coupons

Lucas Henderson, a 22 year old college student from Lubbock, Texas, is charged with wire fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods, in connection with his creation, dissemination and use of counterfeit online coupons for consumer and electronic goods ranging from Tide laundry detergent to PlayStations.  As a result of Henderson's conduct, retailers and manufacturers paid out on the coupons and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars through the scheme.
Since July 2010, Henderson allegedly created fraudulent coupons designed to look like legitimate online print-at-home coupons available to consumers on the Internet at www.SmartSource.com.  These counterfeit coupons, which ranged from lower-priced consumer items such as energy drinks, beer and cigarettes, to more expensive consumer products such as X-Box and PlayStation, all made unauthorized use of the "Powered by SmartSource" logo, as well as a distinctive border, both of which are registered trademarks belonging to News America Marketing, a subsidiary of Manhattan-based News Corporation.
Between July 2010 and March 2011, Henderson made a number of the counterfeit coupons he had created available on the Internet by anonymously posting on two message boards devoted to the discussion of online coupons - using the nicknames "Anonymous 123,""Anonymous234,"and "Anonymous345."  In addition to creating and disseminating fake coupons himself, Henderson also wrote tutorials, which he posted online, providing instructions to others for creating counterfeit coupons using their own computers.
Henderson's actions have resulted in substantial losses not only to the manufacturers of various affected products but also to retailers and consumers themselves.  For example, in or about December 2010, $200,000 worth of counterfeit coupons for Tide laundry detergent were redeemed by consumers over a two to three week period.  Proctor & Gamble, which manufactures Tide and is the single largest coupon issuer in the United States, has never issued a single online print-at-home coupon.  The costs associated with the redemption of those counterfeit coupons were subsequently borne by Proctor & Gamble and the various retailers victimized by the fraud.
Henderson is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.


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