Is your buy real or fake? And why should you care?
CBC: March 6, 2007
Once the domain of flea markets and street vendors pedalling knock-off T-shirts and watches, the counterfeit industry has bloomed to include electronics, luxury items, even medicine — a global trade worth an estimated $700 billion Cdn.
Counterfeited goods account for between five and seven per cent of world trade in 2006, according to the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition.
High-end phoney iPods and Bluetooth devices are marketed on online auction sites while determined shoppers scour the side streets and basements in places like Chinatown to procure knock-off Prada and Chanel handbags.
In Canada, the counterfeit industry has grown tremendously over the past few years, rivaling the illegal drug trade in its size, authorities say.
The RCMP conducts more than 400 investigations into counterfeit goods each year across the country, while Canadian industry estimates the knock-offs cost it as much as $30 billion annually.
Police have intercepted shipping containers stuffed with counterfeit clothes and raided small manufacturing plants across the country. Canada has also become a leader in producing pirated DVDs for worldwide distribution.
Legitimate businesses hit hard
Pirated and knock-off goods have had a devastating impact on legitimate businesses, some of which have laid off staff or folded completely, the experts say.
"If you would ask people in business in Canada what they'd be able to do with their business [without counterfeit goods available in the marketplace], they would tell you they'd be able to employ more people," Lipkus said.
"They'd be selling a lot more legitimate products and they would therefore be increasing the amount of taxes and other government revenues that are paid."
Businesses also suggest that innovation suffers, as counterfeiters cut into profits intended to fund the research and development of future product lines.
Authorities say organized crime is the largest beneficiary of the counterfeit trade, reaping the proceeds from the sales.
The RCMP says the counterfeit trade is proving attractive to many criminals as the high-profit goods are relatively easy to produce and import.
Also, a drug dealer who is caught will serve jail time, while a counterfeiter will be penalized with a monetary fine.
Knock-off - This is a synonym of “counterfeit good”. It refers to something that is fake, or not authentic.
I really want a Prada purse, but it is so expensive. I might just buy a knock-off instead.
High-end - This refers to something that is very expensive and exclusive.
We went to a high-end department store and were served wine while we browsed.
True or False: