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Entries in Souvenirs (2)

Tuesday
Feb072012

Seized: $5 Million In Fake Super Bowl Souvenirs

The Official NFL Logo (NFL)(WASHINGTON) -- The New England Patriots aren’t the only ones who had a bad Super Bowl Sunday. Counterfeiters and vendors trying to make a buck hawking fake NFL t-shirts, caps and souvenirs, found themselves in the crosshairs of a federal crackdown that seized more than $5 million in counterfeit NFL goods, according to federal officials.

The nationwide, multi-agency law enforcement operation targeted stores, flea markets and street vendors selling knock-off, game-related sportswear in Indianapolis and throughout the country.

And the effort didn’t end with the retail outlets. Special agents and officers also targeted illegal counterfeit imports into the United States, and seized hundreds of websites engaged in selling counterfeit NFL gear or illegally streaming NFL games.

“In sports, players must abide by rules of the game, and in life, individuals must follow the laws of the land. Our message is simple: abiding by intellectual property rights laws is not optional; it’s the law,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.

The Super Bowl is traditionally a bonanza for counterfeiters, who rip-off NFL team logos and images to create knock-off t-shirts, caps, jackets and trinkets to sell to souvenir-hungry fans. But this year, law enforcement and the NFL geared up to defend against the counterfeit offensive. “Operation Fake Sweep,” launched Oct. 1, was a joint effort of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indiana State Police, all in partnership with the NFL.

ICE issued these points on Tuesday to illustrate the impact of Operation Fake Sweep:

  • Authorities seized 50,703 items of phony Super Bowl-related memorabilia, and other counterfeit items, with a total value of $5.12 million.
  • In addition to Super Bowl gear, another 22,570 items of counterfeit merchandise and clothing representing other sports leagues, including Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League were seized by law enforcement.
  • In total, the operation netted 73,273 counterfeit items worth $6.69 million.
  • On line merchants were not exempt; special agents seized 386 websites. As many as 370 domain names were illegally selling and distributing counterfeit merchandise. And 16 of the sites illegally streamed live sporting telecasts over the Internet, including NFL games, according to ICE.   Authorities placed a banner reading “Seized” over the websites, and are investigating the operators.

Yonjo Quiroa, 28, allegedly operated nine of the 16 websites seized by authorities for illegally streaming live sporting events from his home in Comstock Park, Mich. He was arrested last week and charged with criminal infringement of a copyright.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar092011

Smithsonian Promises to Sell More American-Made Souvenirs

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- From the Capitol building and the Lincoln Memorial to the White House and the Washington Monument, Washington, D.C. is home to iconic American landmarks.  But the souvenirs sold there so visitors can take a small piece of the nation's capital home with them are anything but American.

It's difficult to find a D.C. keepsake that's not foreign-made.  The busiest gift shops in the city are at the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, where everything from presidential busts to Elvis bobbleheads are made in China.

On Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called the Smithsonian's top officials into his office to demand they sell "Made in the U.S.A." products.  Previously the Smithsonian suggested that it was just too expensive, but any tourist can find domestically-produced gifts at a thriving shop called Appalachian Spring a few blocks away.

The Smithsonian hosts 30 million visitors every year and last year its gift shops made almost $44 million.

After the meeting with Sanders, Smithsonian officials said they would sell more American-made souvenirs and promised to devote one gift shop to American-made products.

Sanders said, "It's a start."  But for some in Congress, it's not good enough.

Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., the top Democrat on the committee that oversees the Smithsonian, said he plans to introduce a bill that would require the Smithsonian to sell only American-made goods.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio