Counterfeit Goods

Information and statistics about counterfeiting and the sale of counterfeit goods. Estimated losses from counterfeits, markets where fake goods are sold, and other piracy statistics are collected from criminal justice programs and public information sources.

The United States Department of Justice reported that the website Appbucket.net provided pirated copies of Android mobile apps to users. In the plea agreement with the websites two founders, criminal justice officials stated that over 1 million pirated apps were illegally downloaded from the website. The value of the downloads was over $700,000, according to prosecutors.

Another website providing pirated Android apps was SnappzMarket.com, which was also seized by criminal justice agencies in 2012. The website reportedly allowed over 1 million illegal downloads of pirated apps that were valued at $1.7 Million.

Source:  Chris Welch, “Justice Department lands first ever convictions against mobile app pirates,” The Verge, March 24, 2014.

In a report by NBC News, an illegal passport broker offered the reporter a genuine passport from Spain that could be obtained by a corrupt official working inside the Spanish embassy. The broker, working in Lima, Peru, offered the genuine Spanish passport for $1,750.

The broker also offered a legitimate looking Peruvian passport for sale for $900.

(More prices of illegal goods and services.)

According to the Secretary General of Interpol, up to 4 out of every 10 international travelers are able to board planes and travel abroad without their passport being checked against the global database of stolen passports.

Source:  Anna Schecter, “Passport Black Market Remains ‘a Gaping Hole’ in Air Security,” NBC News, March 18, 2014.

A black market passport dealer from Myanmar who was working in Bangkok explained to a reporter about the illegal passport trade in Thailand. According to the dealer, there are three types of passports that are available for sale on the black market: Stolen passports, real passports that the owner is selling in order to make money, and fake passports.

The price of passports in Thailand depends on the issuing country. A passport from Myanmar (Burma) costs between $1,300 to $2,000 (40,000 Thai Baht to 60,000 Baht). Black market passports from European Union countries are available for sale for $2,600 (80,000 baht). The most expensive passports in Thailand are from the United States, which sell for $3,300 (100,000 baht).

(All statistics on fake ids and fake passports.)

Source:  Linn Thant, “Crackdown Under Way on Illicit Thai Passport Trade,” Irrawaddy, March 18, 2014.

According to a survey, around 60 percent of the population in Singapore committed online piracy at some point in their lives.

Breakdown of the piracy rate by age:

16 to 18 years old: 69 percent committed online piracy such as downloading unauthorized content.

19 to 24 years old: 74 percent.

50 to 59 years old: 31 percent.

60 to 64 years old: 40 percent.

Source:  Eileen Poh, “Survey shows online piracy in S’pore most prevalent among youths,” Channel NewsAsia, March 18, 2014.

In a study released by the Digital Citizens Alliance, researchers calculated that online streaming sites and BitTorrent sites that allow users to access pirated movies and television shows make up to $227 Million a year from advertising.

The 30 largest websites, such as The Pirate Bay, earn around $4.4 Million a year, with the largest sites making $6 Million a year from advertising. Smaller websites with less than 1 million unique visitors per month can make over $100,000 a year.

On average, across BitTorrent sites, streaming sites, full movie downloads, and linking sites, the profit margins for these websites is between 80 percent to 94 percent. The main driver of cost for these sites is the hosting fees, since all content is pirated.

(More earnings from illegal jobs and activities.)

Source: “Good Money Gone Bad: Digital Thieves and the Hijacking of the Online Ad Business,” Digital Citizens Alliance, February 2014.

Police in Phuket, Thailand report that a foreigners can sell their passports on the black market in Phukett and receive up to $200. The foreigner can then report to their home embassy that they have lost their passport and receive a new one.

(Fake id cards and passports for sale on the black market.)

Between January 2012 and June 2013, over 60,000 passports of both Thai citizens and foreigner tourists were reported missing or stolen in Thailand.

(More earnings and income from illegal jobs.)

Source:  Amy Sawitta Lefevre, “Thailand grapples with ‘massive’ fake passport racket,” Reuters, March 10, 2014.

In 2013, authorities in the Czech Republic seized 2,045 counterfeit korunas within the country, down from the 3,586 counterfeit Czech banknotes seized in 2012.

In addition to the fake koruna, Czech financial investigators removed 1,085 counterfeit money and banknotes from foreign countries in 2013.

Below is the number of counterfeit koruna and altered coins that were removed from circulation between 2008 and 2013, according to data released by the Czech National Bank.

Year:     No. of counterfeits.

2008:     4,612

2009:     6,955

2010:     6,529

2011:     6,002

2012:     4,514

2013:     3,130

(How criminals make counterfeit money.)

Source:  “Number of fake banknotes, coins falls to 3,130 in 2013,” Prague Daily Monitor, March 6, 2014.

American broadcaster NBC reported that it shut down 45,000 illegally posted video clips or online pirate streams of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Company officials state that 20,000 video clips of the competition was prevented from appearing on YouTube. This was done through filtering technology of the video, as well as flagging the video and manually pulling it down after its been posted.

An additional 20,000 videos was prevented from appearing on other video websites such as Dailymotion and VK.com.

The remaining 5,000 video was internet streaming sties that were providing coverage of the Winter Games.

According to officials, up to 98 percent of the people viewing the Olympics online were using legal channels.

NBC paid $775 Million for the exclusive American television and streaming rights of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Source:  Associated Press, “NBC Says Thousands of Illegal Video Stopped,” ABC News, February 27, 2014.

The central bank in South Korea removed 3,585 counterfeit banknotes from circulation in 2013. In 2012, a total of 8,627 fake bills were removed from circulation.

The number of fake 50,000 won note that was removed declined by 74 percent to 84 bills in 2013. The number of counterfeit 10,000 won notes removed declined by 76 percent to 909 fake bills.

According to the Bank of Korea, the number of counterfeit money per 1 million banknotes in South Korea was 0.2. In comparison, Japan has a rate of 0.2 counterfeit banknotes per 1 million, while Australia has 10.2, Canada has 28, and Mexico has 33.7 fakes per million.

(How criminals make counterfeit money.)

Source:  Yonhap News Agency, “Fake bills fall 58.4 pct in 2013,” Global Post, February 23, 2014.

At the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, an estimated 35,000 counterfeit Hockey Canada jerseys were available for sale, according to the licensing manager of the team. During the 2010 Winter Games, security officials and brand trademark enforcement officials were able to seize about 17,000 counterfeit jerseys.

At the 201 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of the Team Canada Hockey jerseys are believed to have been counterfeited. The jerseys are offered at online websites, where the team jerseys are offered for around $20. Authentic jerseys that the hockey players wear on the ice costs about $450.

Source:  Showwei Chu, “Hockey Canada going after jersey counterfeiters,” 680 News, February 20, 2014.