A unique coalition of trade and enforcement organisations. Providing a single voice for those who share an interest in promoting innovation and growth through intellectual property in the UK
The sale of counterfeit goods is often seen as a bit of a ‘Del Boy’ occupation. This view is far from the truth. When industry investigators look into the background of those selling fake goods, they frequently find evidence of benefit fraud, identity theft, the illegal sale of pornography, and the trade in illegal cigarettes.
Markets and car boot sales are also infiltrated by racketeers and criminal gangs for whom IP crime is just one in a portfolio of illegal activities that makes up a criminal lifestyle. At present, the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods represents a high return and very low risk and markets are the venues of choice. There is also increasing evidence of children being used to front up market stalls in order to protect the counterfeiters, and of violence and intimidation in the enforcement of traders’ patches.
There is also increasing evidence of children being used to front up market stalls in order to protect the counterfeiters, and of violence and intimidation in the enforcement of traders’ patches.
Those that benefit from IP crime stand to gain thousands of pounds, at the expense of legitimate artists, businesses and taxpayers in the UK.
The seriousness of these links is seen in the adoption of IP crime as a programme of work by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). You can download a pdf of case studies on associated organised crime here, or read below.
In 2012, Anton Vickerman was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud and sentenced to four years in prison for running the pirate website surfthechannel.com following investigations and then prosecution by FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft).
Surfthechannel .com offered an easy to use search facility which linked to pirated film and television content hosted on other webites. At the height of its popularity it was ranked as the 500th most popular website in the world, and generating $50,000 a month in advertising.
Vickerman channelled the money he made through this site through overseas accounts, undertook a number of measures to conceal his identity, and continued running the site despite numerous warnings that he was undertaking unlawful action.
At sentencing, Judge John Evans said: "If films are unable to make a profit the producers won’t bother and the industry which we all to a greater or lesser extent reap the benefit of in terms of the entertainment it provides, will first increase the box office prices as they endeavour to counter the lost revenue from piracy and ultimately may choose to stop making films altogether. So we are talking about millions of people here whose lives are prejudiced by this unlawful activity.
The loss is considerable but also there is here the loss of tax revenue because if the industry was generating this kind of revenue then it would have been shared with a net benefit to the taxpayer."
It is worth noting that this is the first time anywhere in the world an ‘indexing’ website owner has been convicted.
You can watch a news report relating to the case here.
The Alliance is concerned with ensuring IP rights are valued in the UK and that these rights can be properly protected. Click here for further information
This section highlights some of the current activity being undertaken across the numerous bodies involved and how these issues are being addressed and raised in Parliament.Click here
The Alliance is a partner in the Real Deal: Working Together for Fake Free Markets campaignDownload