Spain involved in international operation that closed down 30,506 internet domain names dedicated to counterfeit and pirated items

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A LAW enforcement conference in Malaga on Spain’s Costa del Sol has helped authorities from 18 EU Member States and the USA close down 30,506 internet domain names that distributed counterfeit and pirated items. 

These included medicines, pirated movies music, software and illegal television streaming. 

Europol organised the Adaptive enforcement initiatives against new IP crime trends in Malaga,  on 18 and 19 June 2019 as part of an international campaign against internet crime. 

Together with Eurojust, INTERPOL and the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Centre, Spanish law authorities and their counterparts in Albania, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Hong Kong, China, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Moldova, Romania , Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States targeted online sellers. 

During the investigation, officials arrested three suspects, seized 26,000 luxury products (clothes, perfumes), 363 litres of alcoholic drinks and many hardware devices. They identified and froze more than €150,000 in several bank accounts and online payment platforms.  

Europol ’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC3) supported the investigation on the ground by deploying experts with a mobile office. Europol officers carried out real-time information exchange and cross-checks of the data gathered during the course of the action against Europol’s databases. In addition, IPC3 experts organised several online investigation techniques training courses in intellectual property infringements in 2019 with law enforcement authorities all over Europe. 

A statement from Europol explained: “In Our Sites (IOS), launched in 2014, is the continuation of a recurrent joint global operation that has increased significantly year-on-year. The operation is the result of the comprehensive approach which Europol follows with the aim of making the internet a safer place for consumers, by getting even more countries and private sector partners to participate in this operation and providing referrals.  

Europol, supported by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), continued to enhance efforts in 2019 by successfully supporting many high-priority investigations related to online crimes, providing training for online investigations, and organising the conference on Adaptive enforcement initiatives against new IP crime trends in Malaga, Spain on 18 and 19 June 2019.” 

It added: “To raise awareness of this growing threat, Europol’s IPC3 launched the Don’t F***(ake) Up campaign. The campaign aims to inform citizens of the risks of buying fake products online and give advice to help identify illicit websites selling counterfeit goods, as well as other means used by counterfeiters, such as fake social media accounts and fake apps.” 

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Written by

Dilip Kuner

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