European domain names under siege

By EDRi · December 5, 2012

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Europäische Domainnamen unter Druck |]

On 26 November 2012, 132 or 133 domain names were seized by the U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations
(ICE) in collaboration with the Europol and national law enforcement
authorities. The seized domains were supposed to have illegally sold
counterfeit products on the Internet online.

The common press release of the ICE and Europol not only does not agree
on the correct number of the domain names seized (132 on the ICE website
or 133 on the Europol website), but also does not seem to know the
difference between trademark and copyright (“the copyright holders
confirmed that the purchased products were counterfeit” or “banner that
(…) educates them about the federal crime of willful copyright

The US law enforcement authorities have seized domains before but this
is the first time that European ccTLDs such as .be, .eu, .dk, .fr, .ro,
or .uk. have been involved. The authorities have not released the list
of the 31 European domain names involved in the action, but Torrentfreak
already identified some of those sites, such as:, or

The official press release talks about “a great example of the
tremendous cooperation” that “enables us to go after criminals who are
duping unsuspecting shoppers all over the world.” But there is no
information if the domain name holders were actually identified and
accused of an IPR infringement in a penal case. Or, if a court order was
required to shut down the website. Or, if the website was actually
targeting the US Market, so that the US authorities be involved.

Just a few days later, on 30 November 2012, several BitTorrent sites
including, and found their .EU domains
put on hold by EURid, the European Registry of Internet Domain Names.
“This domain name has been registered and is on hold. It is active but
may not be traded or transferred pending the outcome of legal activity,”
say EURid’s notes. EURid has made no further public comments, but
informed the domain names holders that the action was made “upon request
of the Belgian Public Prosecutor following notification of pending legal
proceedings in respect of the website” without wanting to give any
details regarding the legal proceedings involved.

DDL linking sites and, torrent site, and streaming links sites and are also in a similar situation. All these sites appear in
the first few pages of Google’s Transparency Report which means that
they are associated with a rather high number of takedown requests. It
seems that now, only three sites on Google’s report have not, at least
not yet, been put on hold.

In another news on torrent domain names, and domain names and IP-addresses are to be blocked by all ISPs
in Italy following a local court injunction.

Websites selling counterfeit merchandise taken down by authorities in
Europe and the USA (26.11.2012)

BitTorrent Site Owners Fear European Domain Name Seizures (27.11.2012)

Top BitTorrent Sites Have Domains Put On Hold Pending Legal Action

Italian Court Orders Nationwide Block of TorrentReactor and