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By Sheldon Leiba

This past weekend I purchased a new DVD for my daughter, and paid $16.99.  I had also seen the same DVD for sale at two other locations for only $5, but it was clear that these were pirated copies, with the cover photocopied, the title hand written on the actual CD, and in a cheap case.  So, was I simply stupid for paying triple the price when others were clearly taking advantage of a discounted copy of the same movie?

Product counterfeiting and copyright piracy continues to have a major impact in Canada and worldwide. While intellectual property crime may lack the social stigma of many other criminal offences, this illegal activity is a drain on the economy, is responsible for loss of employment opportunities, and results in a reduction in tax revenues for governments. These crimes also pose serious consumer health and safety risks due to the poor quality and sometimes hazardous nature of the fakes.

Counterfeiting and piracy have also been linked to organized crime. Virtually no industry escapes this illegal activity.

While the counterfeit market used to consist of clothing and other novelty items, larger criminal rings are now pirating everything including, but certainly not limited to, pharmaceutical products, electrical products, DVDs, software, food, personal care products, automobile parts and other luxury goods.

Apart from the economic ramifications of Intellectual Property theft, counterfeit goods can pose a serious health and safety risk to the public, including to you and your family, because they are not meeting any safety standards.

So next time you think about buying a pirated DVD or counterfeit product, consider the type of unsavory industry you are supporting and the damage you are encouraging.  It’s definitely not worth the savings.

Sheldon Leiba is the President & CEO of Mississauga Board of Trade, Mississauga’s leading business association. Mississauga Board of Trade represents businesses in all industry sectors. Visit www.mbot.com.

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