Why avoid pirated productsBuying pirated goods is regarded by many people as not particularly serious, but the consequences can go far beyond what is immediately apparent, both for individuals and for society.
- Do not support criminals
- Don't gamble with your life
- Don't destroy the employment market
- Respect creative effort
- A fleeting pleasure
- Protect the environment
- Use of vulnerable labour
- The harm caused affects us all
When you buy a pirated product you are helping to support organised crime. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (NODC), several countries have done studies showing that pirated goods fund other illegal activities, such as human trafficking, drugs, money laundering and illegal arms trade.
Europol and Interpol also warn that piracy is an increasing activity for serious organised crime. This area attracts organised criminals who tend also to engage in other forms of serious organised crime.
Lower penalties compared with many other areas controlled by criminals, greater public tolerance and high earnings are some of the reasons why piracy is increasingly attracting organised crime.
Pirated products and counterfeit medicines pose a serious risk to your health and safety. The consequences of trademark counterfeiting go far beyond loss of earnings for legitimate businesses, illegal exploitation of the innovations of others and loss of revenue for society.
Pirated goods may be harmful to health or dangerous because they are outside the authorities' control and safety procedures. Those who engage in piracy do not run the risk of being held liable for their products in the way that the legal manufacturers are.
For those who produce fake versions of goods produced by others, it is the profit that counts. They do not need to think about their reputation and the quality of the product in relation to the consumers, and can use cheap but harmful substances in their fake products. In the Europol Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment for 2013 it is mentioned, for example, that counterfeit clothing and running shoes containing harmful and illegal amounts of toxic substances such as mercury and phthalates have been found.
Pirated medicines may contain a lot of junk. They have been found, for example, to contain active substances that have been taken off the market because of serious side effects or because they have been discovered to be carcinogenic.
Safety marks and approvals such as the CE mark may also be faked. Toys, tools, car parts, aircraft parts, electronics and medicines are goods that may be particularly dangerous if they are fake – don't take the risk, choose a genuine product!
Piracy costs businesses a huge loss of revenue, which in turn leads to society losing large revenues in taxes and duties. Legitimate companies are exposed to illicit competition from businesses that steal the ideas of others, and therefore do not need to commit resources to development. As a result, the jobs of those who work for the genuine brands are jeopardised. Nor do the illicit manufacturers pay taxes or duties, so you and other members of society have to pay more to offset the shortfall suffered by society.
Do you enjoy watching television series? Going to the cinema? Do you dream about a job in film, music or photography? Creative industries are entirely dependent on us as consumers being willing to pay for the cultural experiences that are created. If you download music and film illegally, the livelihoods of those who make the music and films you enjoy watching are threatened. It's not just the big film stars who have to live on the income from a film production; those who have worked on the film set, including the camera crew, costume designers, make-up artists, sound technicians, those who work on administration and those who supply the food also have to earn an income.
There are a large number of "ordinary" professions that contribute to the creative entertainment industry. Help pay for your experiences, so that those who create the cultural expression that enriches our lives can invest in new creative works, films and music.
Read more about the musician Jean Michel Jarre's views on the importance of intellectual property rights for creative professions in this article from WIPO Magazine.
Counterfeit goods are generally of far lower quality than the original products. Those who produce counterfeit products usually use far cheaper and poorer materials than the original manufacturer. This means that in many cases you may have to replace your cheap purchase because it did not meet your expectations: "Buy fake - Buy twice!"
As a rule people also tire sooner of things they know not to be genuine, so the pleasure in making the purchase may be a fleeting one. If you are caught with counterfeit sunglasses in the street in Italy, you additionally face the risk of having to pay enormous fines. Make sure your holiday memories are happy ones, don't buy fake goods!
Because pirated goods are outside the general control of the authorities, production of such goods may pose large environmental challenges. There is a great risk of the producers of pirated goods releasing harmful toxic substances, chemicals and unknown substances into the environment, contrary to procedures and regulations intended to ensure responsible handling.
Enormous quantities of pirated goods such as sunglasses, bags, shoes, medicines, electronics, batteries and plant protection products are destroyed every year. The level of toxins and uncertainty over the chemical composition of many of the illicit products, particularly in electronics, makes recycling difficult and costly.
Read more about the challenges associated with the disposal of pirated goods in this article from WIPO Magazine.
Stories are constantly appearing in the media about large, well-known companies that use cheap labour in poor developing countries and provide their workers with appalling working conditions. However, such businesses are, in spite of everything, subject to some form of authority control and minimum requirements.
Because pirated goods are produced illegally in the black economy, there is no form of control or regulation of working conditions where the pirated goods are made. This puts the workers in these factories or production premises in a very vulnerable situation, where the danger of exploitation and inhumane working conditions is even greater than it would otherwise be.
Do not support piracy, choose genuine products!
As the examples above show, piracy and trademark counterfeiting are far from "victimless" crimes. On the contrary, piracy is harmful to the economy and to safety, not just in Norway but also throughout the world. The negative consequences affect us all – even if you do not see any visible harm from counterfeit products yourself.