Federal authorities are taking aim at websites that sell counterfeit or copyright-protected goods. In their latest action, authorities seized 150 domain names of sites that are believed to be committing these violations.
That brings the total number of seized domains to 350 since the feds started this effort. It's also probably not a coincidence that this action was taken on the biggest online shopping day of the year - Cyber Monday. Undercover agents reportedly purchased numerous products from the sites in order to prove the sites were actually committing these violations.
Meanwhile, Congress is taking part in this fight as well by considering legislation that would give private stakeholders the ability to take down websites that violate their trademark and copyrights. The holders of the rights would be given the ability to block ad traffic to these sites, as well as financing in certain cases.
In order to seize the sites, the federal authorities are relying on laws that allow them to seize other criminal property, such as drug houses and bank accounts. The feds use Verisign which controls the .net and .com domains and the Public Interest Registry which controls .org domains to access the domains and take them down.
In order for these sites to regain their domains, they will have to prove that the property in question is rightfully theirs.