eBay drives commitment to fight counterfeiting and piracy

eBay UK and the music, film and games industry have joined forces to combat counterfeiting and...

eBay UK and the music, film and games industry have joined forces to combat counterfeiting and piracy and protect UK consumers.

Following the success of eBay’s anti-counterfeits campaign last year, the Intellectual Property Office’s (IPO) enforcement unit has added its support to eBay to encourage rights owners, anti-piracy units and representatives from the music, film and computer games industry, including FACT, the BPI and ELSPA, to work more closely with the site to tackle the challenge of counterfeits.

At a meeting earlier this month, rights owners were encouraged to continue in their support of eBay’s Verified Rights Owner Programme (VeRO) – an anti-counterfeit initiative launched in 1998 - as an effective way of fighting counterfeits. Through the VeRO programme, rights owners have an easy-to-use system which allows them to report an item as potentially counterfeit and have eBay remove the listing. eBay has also developed a number of reporting tools, which simplify how rights owners search and notify them of any suspect listings.

VeRO is free for any rights owner to join and currently has over 31,000 members. Globally, 2.1 million listings were removed in 2008 following VeRO reports from rights owners and in the same year, eBay proactively removed a further 2 million blatantly infringing listings from the site.

What else does eBay do?

  • eBay has extensive partnerships with law enforcement and can provide essential evidence on sellers believed to be listing infringing items, as well as provide the support needed to press for successful prosecutions and convictions.
  • eBay trains Law Enforcement officials about the site and how to contact eBay to obtain information for investigations. In 2008 alone, eBay trained more than 2,000 law enforcement officials in the UK and assisted them in over 7,500 investigations, with the arrest or conviction of nearly 200 criminals.
  • eBay has a dedicated team that collects and analyses evidence in response to law enforcement requests as well as a specialist team that identifies and presents cases proactively to law enforcement agencies.
  • eBay launched an anti-counterfeits campaign last year aimed at educating users on how to avoid buying counterfeit and pirated goods on the site, partnering with the Industry Trust for IP Awareness.

David Lammy, Minister of State for Intellectual Property said: “Buying products off the internet has become an everyday part of people’s lives. But we need to make it easier for consumers to do that without the worry of receiving counterfeit goods. Counterfeiting undermines innovation and destroys jobs. Industry, government and law enforcement must work together to tackle what is a global problem.”

Kevin Morgan, Special Investigator for eBay in the UK said: “Our goal is to recruit even more Rights Owners to the VeRO programme, as we can achieve far more when we work together to combat counterfeits. Counterfeits are a global challenge and we all have a part to play in preventing consumers from being able to purchase them. We will continue to play our part by working collaboratively with Law Enforcement agencies and Rights Owners and we’re delighted that the IPO is so committed to working with us to achieve this goal.”

David Wood, Head of Operations BPI said: “eBay is a great online resource for consumers, but counterfeiters selling unlicensed creative content - music, films and games - damage consumer trust. Likewise, because these counterfeiters pay none of the profit they make back to artists and creators, they also damage the UK’s creative industries. We look forward to working with eBay and IPO to ensure that consumers really get what they pay for and artists and creators get paid for their work.”

Notes to Editors:

On Monday 2nd March 2009 representatives of Anti Piracy units from the UK and representatives from the International music industry (BPI / IFPI) film industry (FACT), computer games industry (ELSPA) and licensing agencies (PRS for music) met eBay with a view to tackling counterfeit and pirated optical digital media products. Further meetings are planned throughout the year, which will focus on bringing together representatives from the Clothing, Footwear and Luxury goods industry. At eBay globally, there are three main groups dedicated to working reactively and proactively with Law Enforcement to support their investigations: -> Global Law Enforcement Organisation (GLEO): GLEO includes all eBay staff who in some way work with law enforcement. It assists law enforcement officials in investigations and prosecutions and also trains officials on how to use eBay’s sites, tools and information to prevent and convict counterfeiters. It is a truly global group with dedicated members in North America, Australia, EU, China, Singapore and India. -> Fraud Investigations Team (FIT): FIT collects and analyses evidence in response to official requests. eBay has Fraud Investigation Teams in Dublin (Ireland) and Dreilinden (Germany) to work with Law Enforcement across Europe and Vancouver (Canada), Utah (Salt Lake City) and San Diego (California) in the US plus dedicated resources in Asia. -> Special Investigations Group (SIG): SIG proactively presents cases to Law Enforcement. Its members are based in Germany and the US. Working with Rights Owners -> eBay has worked alongside Microsoft to combat the sale of counterfeits of its products. In a statement, Microsoft said “Certain internet auction platforms, like eBay, proactively cooperate with Microsoft in the fight against counterfeiters... In many cases, sites like eBay can and do play a role in fighting the problem.”[1] Working collaboratively with Law Enforcement -> In 2008 eBay worked with UK North Wales Law Enforcement authorities to secure the ban of a conman selling fake Gucci goods on eBay. -> In 2008 eBay worked with the UK Cambridgeshire Constabulary to secure the conviction of Georgina Pettit, after they discovered she was selling counterfeit designer goods through eBay. About the Intellectual Property Office -> The Intellectual Property Office is within the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright. -> Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge based economy. -> It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to IP to which the United Kingdom is a party.