As of November 28, law enforcement agencies across several continents have taken down 12,526 websites, disconnected 32 servers used to distribute and host illegal content for 2,294 television channels and shut down 15 online shops selling counterfeit products on social media sites.
More counterfeit products are being assembled within the European Union’s (EU) borders and intellectual property crime is closely intertwined with serious and organised crime, show findings of an operation carried out from May 1 to November 14 this year supported by Eurojust, the EU agency dealing with judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and INTERPOL.
In the physical realm, investigators seized 127,365 counterfeit products like clothes, watches, shoes, accessories, perfumes, electronics and phone cases worth more than €3.8 million, according to a release by Europol, the EU agency for law enforcement cooperation.
The main issues continue to be intellectual property infringement on trademarks, as well as on copyrighted content available on internet protocol television (IPTV) and movie streaming services, peer-to-peer sharing platforms and hosting websites.
Organised crime groups frequently use established social media platforms to promote their websites and guide potential consumers to online sales platforms. Websites offering illicit products may also profit from advertisements, the release said.
Occasionally, even prestigious brands may accidentally publish their ads on such domains, which might cause reputational harm and loss of investment.
In certain cases the advertisements placed on commercial platforms (which are infringing intellectual property rights) may expose the consumer to malware or spyware, the release added.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)