In the battle against online merchandise piracy, over One Million Copyright & Trademark Notices of Infringement have been issued by TRAP’s anti piracy team with up to 50 items per report being removed. This pro-active initiative has resulted in the removal of goods worth an estimated 39 million pounds and the suspension of 27,394 seller accounts. Most of these complaints have been on primary trading platforms such as Amazon and eBay, which in recent years have been subject to a mass infiltration from South East Asian and Eastern Europe criminal networks targeting the western consumer with low prices and inferior products.
Counterfeit and Bootleg merchandise is produced and consumed in virtually all economies, although South East Asia emerges as the single largest producing region. TRAP’s dedicated team currently report 300 infringing listings per hour worldwide, yet online piracy remains a huge threat for the future development of the industry. The current levels of piracy that we are having to deal with not only affect investment in the industry but represent a significant loss to the exchequer in terms of tax revenue and to the wider economy in respect of jobs and output.
Buyers that think there is no harm in purchasing cheaper and inferior product need to think again! Buying counterfeit merchandise deprives legitimate retailers of revenue, rips off the artists, and lines the pockets of organised criminal gangs. In the last four years, the world’s leading marketplaces have been notified more than 1 million times that they are providing a platform for the sale of Trademark & Copyright infringing merchandise that contribute nothing to the Artist, Rightsowner or Exchequer and these complaints represent only a fraction of the infringing products available, commercial merchandise piracy costs the industry more than £375m in lost sales each year.
TRAP are responding to these continued threats with a multi-pronged approach that includes educating sellers on our rights, lobbying marketplaces to adopt tighter controls on business seller accounts, partnering with law enforcement agencies and criminal litigation against persistent offenders.
During 2018 TRAP will be increasing pressure on worldwide marketplaces and auction sites to enforce stricter registration criteria for Business seller accounts including the introduction of a seller approval process scheme. This would put an onus on sellers to submit copies of official purchase invoices from legitimate supply chain wholesale sources to the host website prior to being granted selling privileges within the Merchandise Category.