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.

According to a report by Google and the Performing Rights Society for Music in Britain, roughly 86 percent of file-sharing websites that allow users to share digital content rely on advertising to fund their operations. For websites that allow Live-TV Streaming, 67 percent of the sites relied upon advertising to fund their operations.

Source:  Dawn C. Chmielewski, “Report links Google, Yahoo to Internet piracy sites,” Los Angeles Times, Company Town Blog, January 2, 2013.

Full Report: “The six business models for copyright infringement: A data-driven study of websites considered to be infringing copyright,” PRS for Music and Google, June 27, 2012.

The New Zealand Reserve Bank reported that the amount of counterfeit money in circulation within the country was about 1 bank note in a million. The amount of counterfeit money detected in circulation was down from the three in a million rate reported in 2011.

In total, about 136 million counterfeit banknotes, ranging from 5 to 100 bills, are in circulation in New Zealand.

The rate of fake notes is low in comparison with international counterfeiting rates, which typically range between 50 to 100 fake notes per million.

Source:  James Weir, “Counterfeit cash a rare find in NZ,”, January 1, 2013.

In a 2012 investigation conducted by Microsoft, the company purchased 169 PCs from retail stores in China. Every single PC purchased was installed with pirated Windows software. In addition, 91 percent of the computers were installed with malware or other types of security vulnerabilities.

Source:  Michael Kan, “Microsoft: Most PCs running pirated Windows in China have security issues,” Computerworld, December 13, 2012.

Computer Software Maker Adobe reported to the media that there were 55 million pirated activations of its popular photo-editing software Photoshop in 2012.  The head of its anti-piracy unit also stated that the company tracked up to 6,000 illegal activations per day of pirated copies of Photoshop that were 7 years old.

(Software Piracy Rate by Country)

Source:  David Kravets, “Hollywood’s Total Piracy Awareness Program Set for January Launch,” Wired, December 6, 2012.

The Central Bank of Mexico reported that the number of fake bank notes removed from circulation in 2011 was around 9 percent higher than the number of counterfeit money detected in 2010. The biggest rate of increase in counterfeit currency in Mexico in 2011 was in the 50 peso note.

In the United Kingdom, the Bank of England reported that the number of counterfeit currency removed from circulation in 2011 was 24 percent higher than in 2010. The most counterfeited currency was the £20 note.

Source:  Joe Sharkey, “Keeping an Eye Out for Counterfeit Money,” New York Times, November 26. 2012.


Up to $55,000 in counterfeit dollars is detected and seized by banks in the Northern California region each week by the United States Secret Service.

According to the assistant Special Agent in Charge of the region, most of the fake dollars passed in Northern California are made at home by low-level criminals, such as crystal meth addicts, marijuana dealers and teenagers.

(More counterfeit money detection statistics.)

Source:  Will Kane, “Counterfeits – a sour note for retailers,” San Francisco Chronicle, November 22, 2012.

Police in Abu Dhabi reported that between 2009 to 2012, around 1,700 cases of counterfeits and fraud have been refereed to the criminal court system in the Wmirate.

The criminal cases involved counterfeit passports, faking signatures and forging documents and certificates.

Source:  Nada AlTaher, “1,700 cases of fraud and counterfeiting reported in Abu Dhabi,” gulf news, November 19, 2012.

Research conducted by the World Health Organization found that the most common source of counterfeit drugs is India and China.

The most commonly counterfeited drugs are genitourinary medicines, anti-infective drugs, and central nervous system drugs.

Up to 10 percent of the drugs on sale in developing countries are may be counterfeits.

Source:  Olga Khazan, “Here’s why 10 percent of the developing world’s drugs are fake,” Washington Post, November 14, 2012.

According to an anti-piracy organization in Italy, 37 percent of consumers in the country view pirated movies and shows. The viewings of these pirated content causes annual losses of $636 Million (500 Million Euros).

Source:  Nick Vivarelli, “Italy takes on pic pirates,” Variety, November 12, 2012.

According to the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, the luxury market in the United Kingdom losses up to 10 percent of sales to counterfeit goods. The entire luxury market in the UK is worth $372 Billion (£234 Billion), thus around $37 Billion in sales is lost to counterfeits.

Source:  Laura Chesters, “Far East fakes: The burgeoning underworld of counterfeit goods ,” Independent, November 9, 2012.