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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 August, 2004, 04:55 GMT 05:55 UK
Faking it
Fashion model
New policy will be wide ranging
Counterfeiting is at an all time high and it's not just designer brands which are being targeted.

So today the government is launching a major national campaign led by the UK Patent Office.

The campaign is aimed at tackling pirate goods including fashion items, books and drugs.

Piracy cheats consumers, costs jobs and funds organised crime gangs.

  • On Breakfast, this morning:

  • Our reporter Jules Botfield looked at the issue of music counterfeiting.

    She talked to Martin Keating from London Music School.

    Jules Botfield
    "One in three CDs sold worldwide is a fake."

    His thoughts were: record piracy has done a lot of damage to the music industry, which needs to make the product harder to counterfeit, and more attractive to the buyer.

    Jules also spoke to some students who felt record companies should charge less and offer more e.g signed t-shirts, thereby making the product more competitive.

    Jules also talked to Matt Phillips of the British Phonographic Industry.

    He said the record industry makes an enormous investment in the artist. If piracy continues untried artists may suffer as the industry may not have the capital to invest.

  • We heard from Dr Jeremy Philpott from the Patent Office and the fashion writer Bronwyn Cosgrave.

    Bronwyn Cosgrave said fashion fakes are attractive to some women as they don't have to spend lots of money on fashion trends.

    She also commented on how some fashion fakes look as good as the real items.

    Dr Jeremy Philpott said counterfeiting is often done by big criminal gangs who dabble in lots of different areas, such as spare parts for cars, alcohol, DVDs, CDs.

    He said the Patent Office are providing the know-how for the frontliners, the trading standards officers, who have to deal with counterfeiting everyday.

    The new nationwide strategy wants to put an end to the cost to the UK economy. The new policy brings together brand owners, police, trading standards officers, and HM Customs and Excise.

    National strategy

    The main points of today's policy are:

  • Better co-ordinate the agencies involved

  • Increase the sharing of intelligence between different agencies involved

  • Improve training for those working at the front-line; and

  • Monitor progress and measure success by publishing an annual national enforcement report.

    Dodgy goods are poor quality but can also be harmful to the consumer - fake perfumes that burn the skin, spirits that are unsafe.

    Around a quarter of counterfeiters are also involved in serious crimes, such as drug dealing and money laundering. Profits from fake goods are lining the pockets of crime gangs.

    Surveys of the public by the ACG suggests that many people are happy to buy fake goods because they want to follow fashion but can't afford it - the counterfeiters are therefore providing a 'service'.

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