Business to G20: fake goods hurt economies
The International Chamber of Commerce pressing its point to the G20 Summit that counterfeiting and intellectual property theft damage national economies.
A study prepared for the G20 by UK-based Frontier Economics suggests business loses $877 billion each year in intellectual property theft.
Within G20 countries, that amounts to a loss of $125 billion and puts 2.5 million legitimate jobs at risk.
While the study is European-based, Rozwadowski says Canada is far from immune from the effects of counterfeiting, pointing to the example of Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry.
"Apparently, there are counterfeit BlackBerrys all over the world which have batteries which are not functioning, [from] which information gets lost, et cetera, so from a consumer's perspective, you're less protected if you have counterfeit goods," he said.
The chamber has been coming to meetings of world leaders for more than 15 years, pressing the same point — governments need to take more action to crack down on counterfeit goods.
Rozwadowski concedes there's been a lack of progress in efforts to lobby governments, but he does applaud Canada for its recent legislation to change its Copyright Act.
"Canada has been doing something very specific with copyright, which we welcome; its something which is important."
Technology has made intellectual property theft and counterfeiting much easier and profitable, according to the group Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy.
"Counterfeiting and piracy is like any other business, it's an illicit business. There's a supply side and a demand side, and for the most part governments have been tackling the supply side," he said.
A recent study by BASCAP showed a wide range of consumers willing to purchase fake goods or pirated media. The study found consumers find it easy to justify their purchases.
He said technology makes the practice easy. "High-speed internet, file sharing, low-cost mass storage makes piracy low hanging fruit and very difficult to resist the temptation."
Part of the BASCAP pitch will be to help consumers recognize the other costs of counterfeiting, such as its contribution to organized crime.
"It supports more of the bad things that organized crime does. It's more capital for them to invest in prostitution, illegal drugs and other activities."