I have been working in the brand protection industry for almost 12-years now. Over that time, I have worked with multiple large, medium and small companies around the world to protect their intellectual-property rights (IPR). During the same time period I have seen an explosive of counterfeit goods being sold online – including on Amazon and other online marketplaces.
Most people, however, don’t think twice about IPRs. Counterfeiting is a distance thought buried deep in the cobwebs of our minds. If the concept does pop up, folks usually dismiss the thought with a quick “it doesn’t matter” shrug.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
“Few crime problems are as wicked as product counterfeiting. Far from a victimless crime, virtually everyone is touched by it in some way. It affects consumer health and safety, reduces brand-owner profit and innovativeness, diminishes tax revenue while increasing prevention and enforcement costs, fuels organized crime and terrorism, undermines national security, and results in loss of jobs.” – Jeremy M. Wilson, Ph.D., Director, Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection, “Brand Protection 2020” paper published by Michigan State University in September 2015 (emphasis added)
“There is a long history of authorities only responding to calls for increased enforcement of IPRs if the products are dangerous. ‘You can’t die from buying a fake T-shirt or downloading an unauthorized album,’ they say. Well, yes, you can, actually—if the profits finance terrorism or organized crime like drugs, vice, and illegal arms.” – John Anderson, Chairman, Global Anti-Counterfeiting Network, IPR Enforcement Strategy and Communications Consultant, quoted by Jeremy M. Wilson in his “Brand Protection 2020” paper (emphasis added)
Counterfeiting and IRP crimes do matter. I also know that the best way to influence people is through stories. We humans are wired for a narrative understanding of life – this is why movies, books, theaters and the like are so important to a society.
To help you all understand this importance of IPR crime, I would like to recommend the Brett Kingstone’s book “The Real War Against America.” Written by the former CEO and founder of Super Vision International, this book tells the story of a company fighting to protect itself from a counterfeiter who set out to destroy them. Full of emotions, this book puts a human face on the effects of counterfeiting and its impact on real people.
The book is also fun to read with international scandal, betrayal, undercover private investigators, legal drama and more. I definitely recommend everyone reading it as we in America have a huge problem. Intellectual-property is being stolen daily from all sectors of manufacturing – causing companies to go bankrupt and employees to lose their jobs.
In other words – Don’t knowingly buy counterfeit goods and be very careful of where you buy from if you shop online. Better yet, walk into a brick and mortar store and buy something – especially if you are buying electronics, pharmaceutical medication, or luxury goods.