Team America, world police, take down 37,479 counterfeit sites

27 nations collaborate on biggest web shonk takedown ever

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A band of merry world police lead by the United States Customs and Border Protection service shut down 37,479 copyright-infringing websites hawking counterfeit goods in the lead up to the Cyber Monday buying blitz.

The takedown involved varying forms of collaboration between 27 countries including the Britain, France, Denmark, and Spain.

It was the first time that Interpol had brought in support through eight member countries including Argentina, Chile, China, and Thailand.

Copyright holders including tech companies, entertainment industry houses, and fashion outfits joined police and Europol in the massive operation.

Europol and Interpol helped target offending Top Level domains.

It was the sixth and largest counter copyright and fraud operation of its kind for both the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and Europol.

"This effort highlights the global commitment to take aggressive action against online piracy,” says Bruce Foucart director of the Homeland Security's National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.

“The IPR Center will continue to collaborate with international law enforcement and industry to protect consumers from purchasing counterfeit goods online, which could expose sensitive financial information and present a health and safety threat.”

Europol's December 2013 takedown, its third, clipped 690 fraud web sites, while the most recent December 2014 operation busted 292 counterfeit domains.

The recent takedown is also the first time Interpol has pulled in support from its member countries.

More cases are expected to be filed against the downed web site operators from aggrieved private sector companies.

"Cooperation with private industry remains crucial and is key to monitoring and reporting IP-infringing websites to the concerned countries via Europol, to ultimately make the Internet a safer place for consumers," EuroPol says in a statement.

"Operation IOS VI followed a new format, in line with the EU Action Plan on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, which resulted in the triggering of seven additional operations. Moreover, several new cases are expected to be initiated due to the huge demand from the rights holders in private industry." ®

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