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IP Theft On The Increase In South Africa, Experts Warn

by Robert Lee, for LawAndTax-News.com, London

05 May 2005


Following the release of a report on counterfeiting and piracy world-wide by Canada's Gieschen Consultancy, South African intellectual property (IP) experts have warned that such activities are on the increase nationally.

The consultancy, which provides counterfeit intelligence analysis and security research relating to documents, products and intellectual property, revealed on Monday that in the first quarter of 2005, 279 incidents of intellectual property theft (brands, trademarks and copyrights) took place internationally, accounting for 33% of global counterfeiting and piracy, and valued at US$396m.

The report went on to reveal that more than 141 million counterfeit items were seized by customs, law enforcement and brand enforcement agents, which led to the discovery of an additional $255 Million in losses related to IP theft.

Speaking to the ITWeb news service, internet law expert, Reinhardt Buys suggested that IP theft was becoming increasingly prevalent in South Africa, observing that:

"The problem in SA is not so much counterfeit software, music and DVDs, but the rapid increase in the use of peer-to-peer networks to download illegal content."

He went on to add:

"In terms of the 2003 survey by the Business Software Alliance, SA was one of the bottom 20 pirating countries. I'm sure we're now moving closer to the top of the list."


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