The Federal Government has sounded the warning bell, advising consumers to watch for counterfeit compact discs, DVDs and computer games this holiday season.
The offices of the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Daryl Williams, along with that of the Attorney-Genera, Philip Ruddock, have advised consumers to watch for: low prices that are considerably less than consumers would normally expect to pay; no-packaging or poor quality packaging, often with the relevant trade mark removed; and blank-looking CDs (with no reference to the record company) inside the packaging.
As reported earlier in ARN, counterfeiting resulted in $677 million of lost sales in the Australian toy, software and video games industries in 2002, according to the Allen Group.
There was $445.7 million lost sales in the business software industry; $100 million lost sales in the computer and video games industry; and $131.7 million lost sales in the toy industry, the report said.
And while the Australian government said the country had one of the lowest piracy rates in the world, chairman of the Business Software Association of Australia (BSAA), Jim Macnamara, said the piracy rates were high on the business software side, ranking seven per cent higher than the US, Canada or the UK.
To help crack down on the copycats, Macnamara said the government needed to do more in terms of developing sentencing guidelines for judges and to enforce statutory damages.
The government, meanwhile, said piracy rates were low thanks to its tough anti-piracy measures including the Copyright Act, which sets hefty penalties for the importation and sale of pirated goods.
In May, the penalties for importation offences were increased – with legislative amendments to the Act coming into effect. The penalties for importation range up to $71,500 for individuals and $357,500 for companies and/or imprisonment of up to five years.
The Act also stipulates that the onus of proof is placed on the importer regarding the legitimacy of the imported products.