ICE Capades and AGgressive Online Enforcement

Who knew that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was so punny or had such a finely tuned sense of timing? 

broken heart.jpgOn Valentine's Day, ICE took a group of online retailers by storm, shutting down websites selling fake versions of 14 different fashion brands:  Breitling, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Omega, Patek Philipe, Prada, Rolex , Tiffany & Co. and Timberland.  The action, "Operation Broken Hearted," was the fourth phase of "Operation In Our Sites," which targets online counterfeiting.

Presumably the ICEmen were aware that a mere two days later the Senate Judiciary Committee would be holding a hearing on Senator Leahy's somewhat controversial Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA).  Originally introduced in the last session of Congress, the bill would expand the Attorney General's power to shut down offending websites by choking off their life support systems, which in the case of these electronic retail beings means access to internet, financial, and advertising services.  Teams are divided as expected:  intellectual property rights holders (in favor), free internet folks and the occasional government-leery libertarian (against), and service providers (very wary).  

Counterfeit Chic predicts that COICA is likely to pass at some point, in some form, and thus allow the AG to wield a bigger club in its ongoing game of whack-a-mole against online counterfeiters -- but wishes that the acronym weren't so close to "cloaca."