Amazon Has Growing Problem of Third-Party Counterfeiters

In the “risk factors” section of its annual report, e-commerce leader Amazon listed counterfeit products, stating that the company may be “unable to prevent sellers in our stores or through other stores from selling unlawful, counterfeit, pirated, or stolen goods, selling goods in an unlawful or unethical manner … or otherwise violating our policies.” This is a first for the tech giant, which had never discussed the ongoing problem. In principle, it has a “zero tolerance” policy but the site is full of merchants selling knockoffs. Continue reading Amazon Has Growing Problem of Third-Party Counterfeiters

Startup Develops Technology to Identify Counterfeit Products

One year ago, New York startup Entrupy introduced a technology based on a handheld microscope camera and mobile app to spot counterfeit fashion accessories. Since then, the company says it has improved accuracy to 98 percent for handbags from 11 luxury brands, including Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. The tech has also been tested on CE products. Fashion brands have thus far used holographic tags, microprinting and, more recently, radio beacons woven into fabric to protect their products against counterfeiting. Internet shopping and second-hand retailers have made it more challenging. Continue reading Startup Develops Technology to Identify Counterfeit Products

Music Industry Contends with Major Uptick in Counterfeit CDs

Despite shifts in music consumption involving streaming services, Internet radio, digital downloads and more, many consumers are still purchasing CDs. However, the revenue does not always reach the artists and labels responsible for the music, since piracy is running rampant in the form of counterfeit CDs offered through online retailers such as Amazon. Counterfeits are becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish from the official versions. While CD sales represented a mere 13 percent of revenue for U.S. labels the first half of this year, they accounted for almost 40 percent of global revenue for the recording industry last year. Continue reading Music Industry Contends with Major Uptick in Counterfeit CDs

3D Printing Brings More Piracy Issues to Entertainment Industry

The rise in accessibility to 3D printing has provided avid fans and hobbyists with the ability to print their favorite characters and props from movies, TV shows, comics and video games, which often violates the intellectual property rights of entertainment companies. So far, Hollywood has not taken any significant legal action against 3D printers. Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios and Warner Bros., however, are among those that have responded by releasing sanctioned 3D designs as a promotional tool prior to movie release dates. Continue reading 3D Printing Brings More Piracy Issues to Entertainment Industry

Alibaba Tests Dotless Visual Codes to Fight Counterfeit Goods

Alibaba is facing a growing problem with counterfeit goods that has led to some top brands taking legal action. The Chinese e-commerce giant is debuting a solution in the form of unique tags similar to QR codes. The company is working with Israeli startup Visualead to introduce dotless visual codes, which can be used to scan products to prove their authenticity and then automatically destroyed so they cannot be used more than once. Customers will use Alibaba’s Taobao mobile app to scan the codes when they receive their orders. Continue reading Alibaba Tests Dotless Visual Codes to Fight Counterfeit Goods

Alibaba Combats Counterfeit Goods After Filing IPO Prospectus

As part of its effort to streamline the process of addressing counterfeit goods, Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group has begun to automatically remove from its biggest shopping site products that certain brands have deemed as fake. Alibaba’s Taobao shopping site is one of the busiest in the world, and counterfeit goods have been a concern ahead of the company’s IPO. Its expedited take-down process will initially apply to products identified by less than two dozen brands participating in the program. Continue reading Alibaba Combats Counterfeit Goods After Filing IPO Prospectus

Government Report Outlines New Plans for IP Enforcement

According to U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, the administration has outlined a number of action items for the coming year that include improvements to transparency in IP policymaking, international negotiations, law enforcement communication with IP stakeholders, and education regarding fair use. The annual report also examines technology such as mobile apps, 3D printing and IP-compliant software. Continue reading Government Report Outlines New Plans for IP Enforcement

Media Piracy is Big Business for Organized Crime

Businessweek reports that the entertainment studios lose more than $6 billion a year to movie piracy (according to a report by the Institute for Policy Innovation) — and that media piracy has become big business for organized crime. For example, the Los Zetas drug cartel of Mexico earns a reported $1.8 million a month through its “side” business of pirated music and DVDs. Some groups — including Los Zetas — even stamp their products with gang logos before distributing them to public markets.

The article cites an array of international drug smugglers and crime rings based in Russia, Mexico, China and Ireland that have made trafficking counterfeit entertainment media products a highly lucrative enterprise.

In an effort to address these international concerns, the MPAA is employing former law enforcement officers in Russia, Singapore, Britain, and Malaysia, to work with local police. The impact of piracy has been so severe in South Korea that “major studios have closed their regional home-entertainment offices because sales aren’t high enough to support the operations.”

The MPAA explains that some of these criminal elements have found significant success with online efforts, creating rogue websites that look so professional they’ve been bold enough to sell advertising on them. In these cases, pirated movies are streamed from the sites for free while the criminals earn revenue from the advertising. The MPAA is reportedly lobbying for passage of new U.S. legislation to combat such enterprises.