Do you consider illegally downloading a song or purchasing a counterfeit handbag the same thing as robbing someone on the street? According to research conducted by the National Crime Prevention Council, more than 3 in 4 adults believe it is, yet 68% still willingly make these purchases to ‘save money.’
While 2 out of 3 adult Americans agree that piracy and counterfeit products are a problem, the public does not believe anyone is getting hurt by making such purchases or that these actions can have an impact on the safety and health of our loved ones. But the truth is, 'pirated' and counterfeit products put lives at risk. For instance, nobody would buy dangerous medicines on purpose. But when you buy prescription or even over-the-counter drugs online from unknown sources, you could be doing just that. Counterfeit products such as extension cords or cell phones are dangerous as well. Fake products are made without safety standards and they put you and your family at risk. Illegal downloads and other pirated products expose your computer to viruses and create an opportunity for criminals to steal your identity.
It’s easy to stay on the straight and narrow:
When you buy a tune on the Internet and download it, make sure you don’t send a copy to a friend or someone who might sell it to others.
If you get a tune from someone, don’t re-send it to others.
Don’t make copies of DVDs and give them out to your friends and relatives—even as gifts.
Don’t instant message a tune.
Don’t download products from file-sharing services if you’re not entitled to them.
Don’t pay a fee to join a file-sharing service that you know isn’t authorized to provide the goods it’s distributing. They may allow you to download all the tunes or movies you want, but it’s against the law.
Don’t burn CDs or DVDs.
If shopping online, beware of sites that aren’t familiar to you—and that are selling expensive products at prices that are way too good.
Examine the wrappings of the tunes and other products you buy offline and make sure they look “original” and are of the usual quality for the product.
Look for the brand insignia of the manufacturer on the product and make sure it looks they way it’s supposed to.
Don’t buy CDs or DVDs from street vendors. Their products are often counterfeited.
Ask street vendors or discount stores that sell CDs and DVDs at bargain prices where they got the products and how they can sell them for such steeply discounted prices.
If your city or state has a sales tax, be suspicious when you buy something and no tax is collected.
Don’t use an illicit cable decoder or satellite descrambler to watch movies and programs you haven’t paid for. Don’t buy the decoder or descrambler to begin with.
Don’t record a live public performance when you don’t have permission. Most public performances prohibit the use of video equipment, cameras, and other recording devices. You may be depriving the artist and those who depend on the artist from income.
Remember that if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. The product offered at a bargain price is probably illegal.
Intellectual property theft is a serious crime, but there’s lots that can be done to stop it. NCPC hopes you will find the information they have at www.ncpc.org/getreal useful in helping to understand and prevent this kind of crime and keep from becoming a victim.
I received no compensation for this post. This post is for informational purposes. Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services. Your opinions and results may differ.