Following the seizure of 20,000 fake Canon cameras across Europe the Japanese manufacturer is backing the EU and the Anti-Counterfeit Group’s (ACG) campaign to crack down on the pirated goods.
Taking much the same approach as a recent campaign launched in the US by the movie industry, the EU and ACG hope to put punters off fake goods by pointing out how buying them hits the smaller businesses hardest.
"Our main objective is to raise awareness of the economic and social impact that black-market trade has throughout Europe," ACG’s John Anderson said. "We need to raise awareness about the costs to consumers."
While the EU estimates that about 17,000 legitimate jobs are lost annually through piracy and counterfeiting in Europe - although this is across the board, not simply in the electronics industry.
The problem in Europe is growing fast according to EU figures, which found that between 1998 and 2001 the volume of pirated goods intercepted by customs increased almost 10-fold.
To help halt this trade in fake goods, the EU recently announced a Declaration on the Fight Against Piracy and Counterfeiting in the Enlarged EU, which was adopted by the European Parliament on June 5.
The Declaration hopes to encourage governments across Europe to work together to help stop the fakers by passing new laws and making sure they are correctly enforced. So far it says support for the declaration has been huge.
While the EU is targeting counterfeiters in general, Canon is specifically setting out to warn customers against faked electronic goods, such as the cameras that have been intercepted. It says that buyers must beware of products that might seem to represent a good deal, but in the long run could work out to be a costly mistake.
"Fake goods may sometimes seem like a bargain but there are always hidden dangers for consumers," Canon's James Leipnik said. "The person who sells you a fake won't be around to help if it doesn't work properly; fakes don't come with guarantees."
The only way to ensure what you are buying is the genuine article was to shop at a reputable dealer or retail outlet, the vendor said.