NEW DELHI: 12,526 websites hosting illegal content were shut down as a result of a large-scale initiative to combat counterfeiting and online piracy across the EU.
Europol said as of Cyber Monday this week, law enforcement agencies disconnected 32 servers that distributed video for 2,294 television channels. In addition, they shut down 15 online storefronts selling counterfeit goods on social media platforms and confiscated 127,365 counterfeit garments, watches, shoes, accessories, perfumes, gadgets, and other things valued at over €3.8 million ($3.9 million).
27 nations engaged in Europol’s 13th Operation In Our Sites, which ran from May 1 to November 14.
The agency issued a warning that an increasing number of counterfeit goods are being manufactured within the EU and that IP-related offences are becoming increasingly linked to serious and organised crime.
In total, ten search warrants were issued and fourteen individuals were detained or accused of IP-related offences, including four individuals apprehended in Spain. According to Europol, the key suspect in this case earned €150,000 per month, lived in a luxury property, drove costly automobiles, and travelled the world on luxury vacations.
Evidently, the criminal network for which they worked made money by marketing and distributing pirated AV content on the internet.
In the meantime, Bulgarian police investigated a criminal network that used Facebook accounts and websites to sell counterfeit clothing emulating popular brands. Europol stated that workshops including sewing and embossing machines were raided and items worth €35,000 were seized.
The agency warned people to exercise caution while purchasing things online. It said that social media channels are frequently utilised to promote e-commerce firms that sell counterfeit goods.
In certain instances, criminal networks also gain cash from advertising on their websites. It was stated that even “prestigious brands” may publish their advertisements on such domains by accident.
According to a Europol estimate published in March, the value of counterfeit goods in 2019 was €119 billion, or approximately 6 percent of total EU imports. It noted that the number likely increased during the pandemic due to the development of e-commerce throughout the era.
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