Europol blocks 12,500 websites for counterfeit goods or piracy

The international police service Europol has taken 12,526 domains offline since May for offering counterfeit goods or engaging in piracy. The action also involved taking 32 servers offline and shutting down 15 Web stores.

With the actions taken by Europol and cooperating partners, including national police units, they encountered mainly intellectual property and trademark infringement, as well as infringement of IP TV content and content from movie streaming services. Police forces also came across a lot of infringing content on peer-to-peer sharing platforms and web hosts. The 32 servers taken offline by Spanish police in the action were used to distribute and host illegal content for 2294 online TV channels.

In addition to digital breaches, police forces encountered a lot of trafficking in fake goods. For example, participating parties seized 127,365 fake goods in the operation, including clothing, watches, shoes, accessories, perfume, electronics and phone cases. In total, these goods were worth 3.8 million euros, Europol says. The action took offline 15 online stores that were selling counterfeit products through social media.

The action is called Operation In Our Sites and returns annually. This was the 13th edition and ran from May 1 to November 14. The number of 12,526 sites taken offline is far from a peak. Over 30,000 domains were taken offline in 2019 and in 2018, for example. In the 2022 edition, 14 people were arrested or formally charged with intellectual rights infringement. 10 search warrants were also issued. The main suspect of the Spanish police allegedly earned up to 150,000 euros per month through his criminal activities.


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