Books: Real evils of counterfeiting

This book explodes the myth that piracy and faking are a fair antidote to corporate profit-making, arguing for cross-border action to protect IP. Eric Nicoli is impressed.

Anyone who still believes that piracy and counterfeiting are victimless crimes should read Knockoff, which documents the story of the world's fastest-growing crime wave. These offences constitute a global epidemic that is now worth $600 billion. It affects virtually every sector in every country, and is having devastating effects on the economy, our businesses and wider society.

Such statements, especially from the chairman of a record company, are often met with cynicism. There is a perception that somehow big business deserves to have its products stolen; that only the big players are affected; that buying a few fake CDs or a knocked-off bag is just a bit of harmless fun.

Tim Phillips' frank account of the grim realities of the global counterfeiting trade explodes such myths. He describes a senior official explaining how he bought a fake Rolex in Beijing while on Government business - a depressing insight into how casually some policymakers take counterfeiting. The attitude sums up how many consumers feel: buying fakes is a way to hit back at the global luxury brands they feel rip them off.

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