Here recently there has been an uproar from consumers and website owners at the hypocritical actions taken by the US against certain websites by the effort known as Operation In Our Sites. This effort shuts down commercial websites that are selling or distributing counterfeit material and has led to the seizure of more than a hundred and thirty domains, ars technica reports.
Unfortunately websites now have to fear more than the US government as one luxury goods maker has proven here recently. Chanel, a long standing fashion designer that utilizes the double C logo to trademark their goods, has been fighting counterfeit handbags and other goods for a long time however now they have taken swift action against the online sale of these counterfeit goods.
Taking matters into their own hands, Chanel did not wait for SOPA to pass or wait for the US Government to take action, instead they went to the courts in Nevada and set up multiple hearings (all of which were one sided) to dispute specific sites that were selling false Chanel products. After the hearings, the federal judge who presided over them agreed that Chanel had the right to seize the domain names of the sites and transfer them all to the GoDaddy registrar. On top of that the judge even had the audacity to order that all of the Internet search engines and social sites (specifically Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, and Bing) to “de-index” the domains that were in question therefore completely removing them from search results!
This stunning turn of events took 228 sites domain names out of commission and what is even more surprising is that none of these sites had a chance to dispute the claims or stop it before their sites were taken down! Chanel even has a joint suit in Nevada against another 700 domain names!
So how exactly did Chanel “discover” and “investigate these allegedly counterfeit sites? Well of course Chanel hired their own personal investigators and officials to determine that these sites were counterfeit and this was good enough for Judge Kent Dawson (the Nevada judge who issued the order).
Now this is why we should not let judges with no technical knowledge make decisions such as this. Not only did the judge’s orders apparently apply worldwide to Google and the other search engines/social media sites (of which none complied), but Judge Kent Dawson also wanted a GLOBAL censoring of these sites even when they weren’t registered in the United States.
One of the sites on the list is poshmoda.ws which is registered in Germany and there has been no compliance with the German registrar yet nor have the search engines or social media sites complied and “de-indexed” the sites.
It is quite appalling the lack of technical knowledge that the judges have when presiding over similar cases such as these. Their ignorance on these matters only makes it that much easier for companies such as Chanel to bypass proper legal procedure in their attempt to squish their counterfeit competitors.