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Last Updated: Monday, 9 August, 2004, 07:55 GMT 08:55 UK
Fake goods tempting young adults
Counterfeit goods being crushed in Thailand, AP
Anti-piracy campaigns are often very public
Almost half of young adults in the UK own pirated or counterfeit goods, a survey has found.

Software watchdog, the Business Software Alliance, found that the younger adults are, the more likely they are to own and use pirated goods.

Only 17% of the over-50s own pirated goods compared to 44% of those between 18 and 29 revealed the research.

The net, cheap CD burners and traders selling fake products were blamed for making it easy to get pirated goods.

Designer gear

The most popular pirated possessions were software, CDs and DVDs.

The BSA said that the research revealed a growing disrespect for copyright and the forming of a so-called pirate generation that felt it could justify buying and using counterfeit goods.

The survey revealed that 28% of 18-29 year-olds did not even consider copyright laws before they bought such goods.

It also found that 8% of 18-29 year olds said they thought they would face criticism from family and friends for buying pirated or counterfeit goods.

Spectacle designer Alain Mikli with fake and real eyewear
It is not just software that is pirated
"What was particularly shocking was that it did seem to pick out the younger generation as the ones who were actively into and accepting of piracy," said a BSA spokesman.

He said acceptance of counterfeit goods extended beyond software as many young people were happy to buy and wear fake designer clothes or accessories.

"That they do this shows that people value the lifestyle these brands offer," he said, "but they are living a life they cannot afford."

"This problem starts in the schools and we need to work with the education system to explain to younger kids that intellectual property should be respected, why it should be respected and what's the downside of not respecting it," he said.

The spokesman said the problem needed tackling because the move of manufacturing to Asia and the growing use of off-shore call centres would mean that the UK economy would become more based on intellectual property (IP).

"We are going to be more and more dependent on IP-based industries to make a living," he said. "That's why we need to understand why we should be defending them."

Crime figures

The survey also showed that attitudes to buying and using counterfeit goods change depending on whose goods are being pirated.

Doom 3 screenshot, Activision
Doom 3 is being widely pirated online
Generally the larger the corporation, the happier people were to buy pirated versions of what it made.

"We need to dispel the myth that counterfeiting and piracy are victimless small-scale crimes," said Bryan Lewin, lead officer for counterfeiting at the Trading Standards Institute.

He said often counterfeit goods were made by organised criminal gangs who use the practice to launder money or to bankroll other crimes.

"Making consumers aware of the true nature of intellectual property crime is vital," he said, "there is very little distinction between piracy and the actions of a burglar who steals property from a house."

The survey suggests that education can do more to stem the popularity of pirated goods.

Some 85% of those questioned said they would be less likely to buy pirated goods if they knew the range of crimes, such as drug smuggling and human trafficking, they were used to potentially fund.

Almost half of those questioned, 45%, said fines equal to double the value of the pirated goods they bought were needed to stop them buying them.


SEE ALSO:
Software piracy continues to grow
07 Jul 04  |  Technology
Undercover agents fight net piracy
30 May 04  |  Technology
Why that mix CD might be illegal
10 Nov 03  |  Technology
'Spy kids' to target game sellers
06 Aug 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Swindlers prey on website owners
03 Aug 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Long-awaited Doom 3 leaked online
02 Aug 04  |  Technology


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