Intellectual property (IP) is any creation of the mind, such as an innovation [this can be commercial or artistic]; any new method or formula with economic value; or any unique name, symbol, or logo that is used commercially. The IP system is in place to create an environment where creativity and innovation can flourish.
The three main methods used to protect intellectual property are copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Copyrights cover the artistic and literary works. This method has the widest range of protection, from patterns, to books, music, videos, and other forms of expression. Patents, on the other hand, only protect inventions; while trademarks are used to distinguish one branded good from another. The fourth method of protecting IP is state and federal laws.
In the U.S, 373,000 jobs are lost each year due to the increase in counterfeit products, mainly movies and music. This takes $58 billion from the U.S economy every year! Avoiding counterfeit products helps to protect American jobs. The National Crime Prevention Council launched the Intellectual Property Theft (IPT) campaign to raise the public’s awareness of the impact of counterfeit and pirated products.
According to the Research by GFK Custom Research for the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), “more than 80 percent of Americans agree that stealing is wrong and inventors and artists have the right to profit from their work.” NCPC’s video, “It Hurts”, shows what really happens when we buy counterfeit or pirated goods. http://www.ncpc.org/media/banners/IP%20Theft/My%20Video%20Player.html
For consumers, purchasing a product that is counterfeit at a low cost may seem like a bargain at first, but it has the potential to cause you sickness and bodily harm. For example, counterfeit prescription medicine may have toxic effects, such as death or contain no active ingredients. Counterfeit companies are playing Russian roulette with our health and safety. Additionally, the National Crime Prevention Council states, “counterfeited products deprive governments of desperately needed tax revenue, and even result in the spread of organized crime and gangs—which in turn can damage more lives and destroy neighborhoods. Counterfeiters are knowingly using substandard and hazardous methods for developing and making products.”
Those people who are making counterfeit goods don’t care about you. Why continue to put money in their pockets?
Buying a counterfeit is not a bargain at all ; it puts legitimate, tax paying companies out of business, risks our health and safety in addition to supporting criminal enterprises. Either way you look at it; counterfeiting isn’t a victimless crime.
The National Crime Prevention Council has an Intellectual Property Theft Podcast, featuring Bob Barchiesi of the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition (IACC). In the podcast (Download Intellectual Property Theft), Bob discusses the dangers of IPT and how it is not the victimless crime that many believe it is.
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