Illegal Counterfeiting of Money, Goods and Services
The internet is an attractive medium for counterfeit products. Criminals can virtually remain anonymous, while they run a very profitable business online.
In Canada, RCMP estimated in their 2005 Economic Crime Report, the annual cost of counterfeiting to the Canadian economy is between $10 billion and $30 billion. Michael Geist, Canada and Research Chair for Internet and E-Commerce Law disputes these figures, claiming they were derived largely from media reports and the internet.
In Canada, it is difficult to calculate the true financial losses associated with counterfeiting, given the fact that there is no comprehensive economic study conducted to date. This is primarily due to the fact that Canada has no intellectual Property reporting system to maintain statistics on counterfeiting. However, experts have reported that the flow of counterfeit goods has increased from5.5 million in the mid eighties to 512 million in 2005.
Canada continues to be listed on the 2007 Special 301 Report, an annual report that examines the effectiveness of the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement regimes in various countries. We have remained on the watch list for more then ten years due to our weak IP Enforcement system.
In a comprehensive report prepared by the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network in 2007: “Roadmap to Change”, experts identified numerous problems in Canada with respect to piracy and the need for change. Some of the recommendations include: more coordination between RCMP, border security and rights holders, strengthen the IP enforcement program in Canada by addressing the weakness with border-security and amending the copyright and trade-mark legislation.
This report was instrumental in waking up the government by alerting them about the problems of piracy in Canada. Following these submissions to the Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in 2007, a report was tabled in the House of Commons, entitled Counterfeiting and Piracy are Theft. Pursuant to a Standing Order 109, the government responded by implementing an action plan to combat piracy. One change to the legislation makes it illegal to record movies in theatres in Canada. This legislation came into effect in 2007.
In 2008, Audiomaxxx.com was shut down by the RCMP in Winnipeg, Manitoba, after a lengthy investigation conducted in conjunction with the Canadian Recording Industry Association and my firm: Duncan Investigations. These pirates were running a very profitable counterfeit music business right in the heartland of Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the very expense of the creators of the product; the musicians. This was the largest seizure by the RCMP in Canada with respect to the sale of counterfeit product.
Counterfeit products can be easily identified by some of the following means:
- Lack of logo or copyright
- Poor quality packaging
- Cheap prices
- Unknown name suppliers
- Poor quality product
- Spelling errors on the product
Combating piracy requires a continuous coordinated effort among all stakeholders, businesses, citizens and government agencies, to ensure that we protect the rights of our creators, the economy and the safety of the citizens.
By: Janie A. Duncan, [email protected]
At Duncan Investigations, we specialize in counterfeit investigations on behalf of copyright holders, collectives and brand name owners. If you require a comprehensive investigation with respect to your product please email us at [email protected] visit our website above.
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1. (RCMP. Feature Focus: 2005 Economic Crime. Retrieved on November 7, 2008 from:
2. The Star: Misleading Data Undermine Counterfeiting Claims. September 17, 2007. Retrieved on November 8, 2008: http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/257218. Tim Phillips Knock Off: The Deadly Trade in Counterfeit Goods: The True Story of the World’s Fastest Growing Crime Wave, 2005.
4. Office of the United States Trade representative: 2007 Special 301 Report.
5. Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, Report on Counterfeiting and Piracy in Canada: A Road Map for Change, May 2007. Canada. Industry, Science and Technology. Government Reponses to the Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. Counterfeiting and Piracy are Theft. House of Commons, Ottawa. 2007.
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