Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Chair yields five minutes to the Honorable Senator from the NFL...

I did not know this. Though it turns out to be old news.

'Operation Fake Sweep' Results in Seizure of $4.8 Million in Fake NFL Merchandise
Speaking at a National Football League news conference on Thursday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations in Chicago David Murphy and NFL Vice President for Legal Affairs Anastasia Danias announced the record-breaking results of a nationwide enforcement operation targeting stores, flea markets and street vendors selling counterfeit game-related sportswear throughout the country.
Good news, citizens! Your heroic, heavily-armed protectors from the Federal Government have stepped in to protect you from the terrible scourge of counterfeit football jerseys. Sleep well tonight.

And of course, what would any .gov crackdown be, if it didn't shut down websites?
U.S. special agents and officers have seized a total of 307 websites as part of an initiative called “Operation Fake Sweep.”

Launched on October 1, the project was led by Homeland Security Investigations within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Most of the sweep ties into a crackdown on illegal NFL-related merchandise leading up to the Super Bowl this Sunday.

As far as the websites go, 16 of them were set up for illegal streaming of the live sportscast, while another 291 domain names were brought down for illegally selling and distributing counterfeit merchandise.
Now don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against the NFL making a few bazillion bucks, as long as it's taking them from willing customers. Counterfeiting amazingly overpriced merchandise isn't the most heinous crime I can think of, but it's still kinda theft. Seems to me that if the NFL wasn't hawking the damn, dumb things for upwards of $200, counterfeiting might not be such big biz, but that's not my business. I'm agnostic on the whole trademark and copyright infringement issue, I can see where people would object, but it's hard to be terribly sympathetic when the "victims" get to sic the feds on you for something so banal and non-violent.

But this is where I fall off the wagon: This is a "homeland security" issue? Really? Are the fake jerseys woven from Semtex or something? The Department of Homeland Security seems to think so.
Intellectual property (IP) thieves undermine the U.S. economy and jeopardize public safety. American jobs are being lost, American innovation is being diluted and organized criminal enterprises are profiting from their increasing involvement in IP theft.

We knew mission creep was gonna happen, the second Bush announced the kickoff (heh) of DHS. But

This. Is. A. Masterpiece.


Brass said...

How can anyone own an idea? Or a fashion? Or a style?

You can own physical goods. That's it. If you commit fraud, that's another story.

Anonymous said...

I am all on board with protecting someone's intellectual property from fraud and piracy. No problem. I'd hate it if I had a unique product and some assclown in Taiwan was copying it and selling it as authentic.
That said, umm....... I have an Angels cap I bought at the stadium a few years back. I'm so happy that these raids will save the american jobs of all those expatriate American workers living in Korea who are credited in it's making on the tag just under the NLB seal of approval.



Carl-Bear said...

This is obviously an incorrect report. How could the feds have possibly shut down 307 (309 is the number I've seen in every other report) web sites -- or Megadownload -- without the benefit of that masterpiece of government restraint (of trade!) and individual liberty, SOPA/PIPA?

In fact, I asked "my" congress-scum just that.


Speaking of pirates, I'm getting hit with the taxes on NSP/Benner's profits from my books they pirated. But for some reason no senator representing the Corporate State is stepping up to help me. Well... the NFL has more voters. And money.