742 web shops selling counterfeit products have been shut down in a large-scale international collaboration. Belgian customs closed down 254 .eu domains and 7 .be domains.
261 domains shut down in Belgium
In total, 261 domains are no longer available in Belgium. Consumers that still visit these sites will get an informational page explaining the nature and result of this internationally coordinated operation against counterfeit products.
With this move, Customs want to maintain the economic value of both consumers and honest enterprises. “The websites that were shut down offered both counterfeit and real products, which was unfair competition for legitimate businesses”, the ministry for the Economy has stated.
"They also threatened to severely damage consumer rights, as they will not only get items seized by customs, but will also be charged for their destruction.” Plenty of these blocked sites do not clearly identify the retailer, “which is an obligation”.
The large-scale operation was part of the “In Our sites – Transatlantic III” operation, coordinated by Europol. Belgian customs also passed on 74 .com domains to the United States government, that mainly sold counterfeit clothes and medicine.
"Customs and the organization against counterfeit continuously point to the dangers of counterfeit. It severely damages our economy and causes plenty of people to lose their job. Also, ”when looking at counterfeit medicine, there are additional health risks, the ministry for the Economy added.
328 domains were shutdown worldwide in a similar operation during the summer, 79 of which were .be and .eu addresses.
(Translated by Gary Peeters)