Fightback against merchandise piracy

Trademark and Rights holders Against Piracy (TRAP) has announced that it has issued over one million copyright and trademark notices of infringement against sellers accused of online piracy in less than four years.

Commercial merchandise piracy costs the industry more than £375 million in lost sales each year. Online platforms are a major target, Household names such as Amazon and eBay have been infiltrated by criminal networks targeting consumers with low prices and inferior products. In fact TRAP, whose mission is to protect intellectual property rights with direct action, currently reports 300 infringing listings per hour worldwide.

This initiative has resulted in the removal of goods worth an estimated £39 million and the suspension of 27,394 seller accounts, but there is much more to do. One million infringement notices may seem like an extraordinary number, but, says TRAP, a worldwide collective of rights holders and publishers, working with the biggest names in music, film, TV, art and sport, these complaints represent only a fraction of the total of infringing products.

That is why, during 2018, TRAP has been increasing pressure on worldwide marketplaces and auction sites to enforce stricter registration criteria for business seller accounts, as well as partnering with law enforcement agencies and supporting criminal litigation against persistent offenders. TRAP also plans to work with sellers, helping to educate them on their rights.

Online piracy remains a huge threat to producers, rights owners, licensees and artists, jobs, output and tax collection. It also threatens the future development of primary trading platforms, vital to the growth of online retail. TRAP protects the intellectual property rights of hundred of performers and labels. Its members include many well-known owners or exclusive licensees that have been awarded merchandise rights by major names in the music industry.

TRAP secretary Alex Mitchell says: “TRAP has been taking the battle against online merchandise piracy to the counterfeiters and IP cheats for four years and, with growing industry support, we are now stepping up our efforts. One million notices is a great response to this threat, but prevention, protection and education are equally important and will form a growing part of the work we do for our members – and the artists we represent.”

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