The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) commissioned research in 2015, by a team led by the University of Hertfordshire, on the impact of social media on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), specifically to assess the ways in which social media platforms might facilitate IPR infringement in relation to physical goods (‘counterfeits’). The range of trade bodies and sectors involved in the research was shaped by those whose goods were most widely impacted by the availability of illicit goods through social media. Employing the required methodology for assessing the extent of social media’s effect on IPR in physical goods meant there were two key aims: firstly, to compare data and insights from industry, government and consumers to produce a representation of recent levels of counterfeiting within the UK and, secondly, to assess the extent to which this kind of illicit behaviour is moving online and is being facilitated by online social media platforms. The more specific objectives of the study involved assessments of the scale, impact and characteristics of infringements, as well as opportunities for IPR.
Ross S. Delston and Stephen C. Walls
Anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures have succeeded in restricting the two traditional avenues of money laundering, namely, the abuse of financial intermediaries and the physical movement of money across borders. Consequently, international criminal and terrorist organizations have turned to trade-based money laundering (TBML) to conceal and legitimize their funds, as this is a channel that remains relatively untouched by international AML/CFT efforts. This abuse of the global trade network has received increasing recognition from the Financial Action Task Force, the international standard-setter, as the next front in AML/CFT. Because TBML methods may be used not only to launder money, but also to finance international terrorism, facilitate weapons proliferation, and conceal and transport weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), this article proposes a far-reaching solution—that those in the international supply chain be required by law to adopt AML/CFT safeguards to protect their businesses, including filing suspicious activity reports, identifying their customers, and designating an AML/CFT compliance officer.
From the start of the commercial Internet, and in the virtual environments that preceded it, computer and network technology have been used to circumvent copyright and facilitate piracy and illicit trade. Today, the pervasive presence of computing devices and the near ubiquity of Internet connectivity has made the problem worse in both scope and scale. The Internet is an ideal medium for such activity because it allows individuals to communicate globally and with a degree on anonymity and privacy sufficient to thwart all but the most intensive and expansive law enforcement efforts. Depending on the type of crime you want to commit, becoming an online criminal is a simple “point-and-click” task, and extremely cost-effective. Serious dealers in illegal content and contraband alike make finding and procuring their products just as simple and easy as legitimate manufacturers and retailers, making it difficult for some consumers to understand that they are participating in a crime. It costs very little to produce a web site that looks and feels completely legitimate. Web site templates can be developed for just a few dollars. If you cannot or do not want to do any work yourself, a web site developer in India can cost as little as $10 per hour. Companies like Squarespace allow you to not only create but also host web sites for less than $200 per year All a criminal has to do is cut-and-paste product descriptions into a template, upload pictures of their merchandise (or copy them from the manufacture’s site), and they are in business.
Akino Chikada and Anil Gupta
The internet’s tremendous reach and economies of scale have revolutionized the way brands engage with customers and drive revenue. Companies in almost every industry have embraced the internet and e-commerce to grow their businesses and their brands; but so have fraudsters, counterfeiters, cybercriminals and other brand abusers. The digital world offers a sizable opportunity for fraudulent entities to hijack reputable brands for their own financial gain – and their tactics are becoming more and more sophisticated. Brands face a wide range of threats that can have a damaging impact on their reputation and customer trust, from counterfeiting and brand-associated phishing to content piracy and pay-per-click advertising scams. Fraudsters continue to leverage new and emerging channels, including social media outlets and mobile platforms, and are becoming adept at disguising their activity in hard-to-track areas of the internet.
Peggy E. Chaudhry
The deep web hosts darknet marketplaces that sell a variety of wares, such as narcotics and weapons, and is testimony to the growth of illicit trade on the internet. The challenge of websites that host digital content piracy is exacerbated through linkages to a variety of malware schemes that have created a lucrative crimeware economy. Digital thieves are luring unsuspecting consumers as digital bait to derive profits from a variety of malware schemes, such as ransomware and malvertising. The hijacking of computers to gain access to their digital content so that it can then be ransomed back to consumers or organizations is considered to be one of the leading threats of internet crime. Malvertising schemes are plaguing the interactive advertising business—criminals are reaping profits by posting legitimate advertisements at content theft sites or using an army of botnets to fake advertising traffic. A variety of stratagems are evolving to curb this illicit trade by way of fostering multi-lateral enforcement tactics; updating legislation to circumvent this type of crime on the internet; training digital savvy citizens; and creating private-sector remedies.
The chapter highlights some challenges and constraints that the law enforcement community faces when addressing illicit trade as a distinctive phenomenon, framing the discussion within the paradigm of organized crime today and current perceptions of illicit trade among practitioners. Notably, the discussion centers on advocating a change in cultural attitudes as a pre-requisite for effective law enforcement action. In addition, a detailed overview of the four major paths that could be followed to create useful deterrents against illicit trade is provided. Those paths include: legislative reform, notably to ensure that appropriate penalties are applied; the use of organized crime legislation in illicit trade related investigations; systematic resort to criminal justice treaties as global legal tools to facilitate the international exchange of evidence, in particular the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; and using more resources on intelligence-driven investigations and preventive criminal proceedings for the purpose of disrupting illicit trade operations “in the making”. Each path is considered as an integral part of a coordinated policy and law enforcement based strategy.
Peggy E. Chaudhry
Peggy E. Chaudhry
In this chapter, the primary focus will be to 1) illustrate the incidence of counterfeit trade by way of seizure data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Customs and Border Protection); 2) highlight the leading agencies designed to protect the intellectual property environment, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); 3) discuss a few agencies that rely on the joint efforts of several of the U.S.-government-led organizations (such as the “StopFakes”) and the private sector (such as, “Looks too good to be true”). The author acknowledges that this chapter is simply a narrative of these agencies, but, providing a roadmap of the distinct governing bodies will prove to be valuable for a variety of stakeholders, especially the novice manager that may get lost in the labyrinth of agencies that may be able to assist with safeguarding the intellectual property of the firm.
Gloria Maria Dominguez Rodriguez
Throughout this chapter, we will share the experience of Mexico through the Tax Administration Service’s efforts to tackle illicit trade. The chapter is divided into four sections. Section 6.2 will focus on briefly looking at the history of the Tax Administration Service, including the issue of contraband at the border between Mexico and the United States. We will further explain how the General Administration for Foreign Trade Audit was created along with how it is structured and encompasses legal attributions. We believe that by analyzing the background of the situation, its origin, its development, the main interests of the actors involved, and specific target areas, we can later provide substantive criticism or applaud the programs and projects proposed by the Tax Administration Service. Section 6.3 intends to demonstrate how state power can curb illicit trade by implementing specific enforcement strategies, developing risk models, conducting effective investigations and performing the necessary intelligence to detect patterns of illicit trade. In addition, it describes how we plan and program audit and control procedures to verify the degree of compliance with tax and customs obligations. Basically we will describe the main programs implemented by the Tax Administration Service in Mexico. Section 6.4 will include positive outcomes through enforcement strategies and international examples of collaboration. A specific example is Enforcement Working Groups (working internationally), which entails the participation of specialized agencies in the private sector. We will illustrate how initiatives based on international cooperation and joint work between the Tax Administration Service and other federal agencies have achieved great results in combating illicit trade. Finally, Section 6.5 will address the Mexican perspective and its priorities regarding illicit trade. Although many achievements have been made, there are many areas of opportunity, including policy recommendations, which require our undivided attention and are currently being considered by Mexico’s government.
This chapter focuses on aspects of intellectual property protection in China’s e-commerce market, providing insights on major policy and enforcement issues and explaining how Chinese regulators are addressing these problems. In the first part, the chapter describes the main features of the legislative and regulatory framework, just as Chinese legislators are working on a comprehensive reform of the e-commerce law. In the second part, a selection of policy documents is presented and the results of national enforcement campaigns described, with a special focus on key issues in the criminal prosecution of commercial scale intellectual property infringements. In the last part, the author looks at recent initiatives by the public and private sectors to work out long-term solutions through self-regulations and a non-contentious approach.