A year ago, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized 82 domains - mostly sellers of knock-off products, but this included a couple of torrent sharing sites. It was part of "Operation In Our Sites", the domain name seizing initiative designed to crack down on online piracy and counterfeiting.
This year, ICE grabbed more than 130 sites, including counterfeit clothing sites and those that charged directly for services.
Torrent Freak brings up and interesting point asking why is SOPA needed if the courts are issuing these warrants. Google's opposition to SOPA may have motivated a judge to rule they and other search engines and social networks had to drop listings for some specific piracy sites.
The government's position was echoed in Attorney General Eric Holder position on the domain take downs. "The theft of ideas and the sale of counterfeit goods threaten economic opportunities and financial stability, suppress innovation and destroy jobs. The Justice Department, with the help of our law enforcement partners, is changing the perception that these crimes are risk-free with enforcement actions like the one announced today."
The list of the domains seized is below.
ICE has seized hundreds of sites over the past year, despite the blocking of Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act (COICA) and PROTECT IP and SOPA's opposition.
The timing of the seizures just before Cyber Monday no doubt sends a strong message. If it becomes an annual event perhaps Google will eventually do a doodle!