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.

2.4 million people in Poland paid for pirated content online in 2012. According to the head of the Association of television executives, many of the people paying for pirated content did not know that it was unlicensed. Websites offering television and entertainment options to Polish customers create professionally looking sites that customers are lead to believe are legitimate. These sites in Poland make over $3.2 Million (10 Million Polish Zlotys) per year.

Entertainment executives estimate that for every one person in Poland accessing licensed content online, there are two people pirating content.

Source:  Chris Dziadul, “Scale of Polish online piracy revealed,” Broadband TV News, October 21, 2013.

Data released by the Bank of England stated that 719,000 counterfeit banknotes were discovered and removed from circulation in 2012.

In total, there are nearly 3 billion banknotes in circulation in the United Kingdom.

(How criminals in Peru make counterfeit money with Microsoft Office.)

Source:  Penny Anderson and Jill Papworth, “How to spot a fake banknote,” Guardian, October 18, 2013.

An online brand protection firm conducted an investigation into the availability of textbooks as pirated copies on the Internet. Netnames investigated 50 popular textbooks that are used by students in the United Kingdom. Based on their findings, up to 76 percent of the titles were available as free pirated e-books.

The most pirated textbooks were in the science and engineering fields of study.

Source:  Chi Chi Izundu, “Students ‘worst’ at e-book piracy, says data monitor,” BBC News, Newsbeat, October 17, 2013.

Intellectual property experts in Malaysia state that the cost to produce a pirated DVD that is sold on the streets is $0.16 (.50 Malaysian Ringgit.)

The pirated DVD sellers are able to sell the discs on the streets for $0.95 to $1.58 (3 to 5 Ringgit).

Source:  Rashvinjeet S. Bedi, “Criminologist lauds crackdown on pirated DVD sellers,” Star, October 15, 2013.

Beats by Dr. Dre as high-end headphones that make up almost 70 percent of the market. On its website, the top line Beats headphones retail for $400.

In China, counterfeit manufacturers offer the headphones for a wholesale price of $70. In an interview with CNN, a woman who runs a manufacturing plant that produces fake Beats headphones showed that she had sales to customers in Italy, the United States, Canada and Russia. One customer from the United Kingdom bought an order of fake Beats for $50,000 and flew the order back to the UK by jet, where he sold them as legitimate copies.

The price of $70 is for the highest-quality of counterfeit Beats by Dr. Dre. Medium quality headphones are sold for $45, and the lowest quality fakes are sold for $30. An order of 100 units for counterfeit headphones can be filled in one day, with orders of 1,000 taking up to a week.

The in-ear version of Beats by Dr. Dre are sold for even less. On the streets of Shenzhen, the price of fake in-ear Beats earphones were selling for $1. On the company website, the legitimate version of in-ear Beats sell for $100.

Source:  Johan Nylander, “Chinese fakes cash in on Dr. Dre’s Beats headphones bonanza,” CNN, October 14, 2013.


A survey conducted by accounting company PwC found that 18 percent of consumers in Britain admitted to purchasing counterfeit alcohol. 16 percent reported purchasing counterfeit drugs such as Viagra and weight-loss pills. And 13 percent admitted to buying counterfeit cigarettes.

British consumers between the ages of 18 to 34 bought the most counterfeits, with 60 percent saying that they bought pirated movies and music and 55 percent have bought replica clothing.

Source:  Rebecca Smithers, “Surge in purchases of counterfeit goods,” Guardian, October 1, 2013.

Education experts in China estimate that the market for plagiarized academic papers, fake journals and other types of invented research is generates up to $150 Million a year.

In China, research grants and promotions within universities is tied to the number of articles published in academic journals. Researchers purchase plagiarized reports in order to increase their resume. According to a government survey, one-third of 6,000 researchers at 6 institutions in China admitted to either plagiarism, falsification of the data, or outright fabrication.

In addition to papers, sellers were also offering fake medical journals that offer placement for a price. One counterfeit journal was offering to publish articles for $650.

(More fake diploma and academic fraud information.)

Source:  “Scientific research: Looks good on paper,” Economist, September 28, 2013.

In the first half of 2013, security officers in Germany seized 1.4 million counterfeit drugs. The number of fake medicines seized was 15 percent higher than the amount seized in the first half of 2012.

According to security experts, the profit margin for a counterfeit drug such as fake Viagra can be as high as 25,000 percent.

Source:  Heimo Fischer, “Fat profits behind steady rise in fake drugs worldwide,” Deutsche Welle, September 30, 2013.

In 2010, counterfeit goods exported from China accounted for 63 percent of all fake goods seizures, according to the World Customs Organization.

In 2012, the amount of counterfeits seized worldwide that was shipped from China fell to 43 percent.

During this time period, the amount of fake goods shipped out of Hong Kong has increased. In 2006, the amount of counterfeits seized in the European Union that came from Hong Kong was 1 percent. In 2012, the amount rose to 7.8 percent. In the United States, the rate from Hong Kong was 11 percent in 2009. By 2012, the seizure rate increased to 33 percent.

Source:  Sijia Jiang, “73pc of Hong Kongers admit to buying fake goods – and don’t feel guilty about it,” South China Morning Post, September 29, 2013.

Tax enforcement officials in Malaysia investigated 175 cases of counterfeit cigarette sales in the country between 2012 through September 2013. The value of the black market cigarettes seized by security agencies was worth $36,000 (117,800 Malaysian Ringgit).

A legitimate pack of cigarettes with taxes included is sold for $2.17 (7 Ringgit). A counterfeit pack is sold illegally for $0.93 (3 Ringgit).

Source:  Bernama, “Smuggling of fake cigarettes on the rise,” New Straits Times, September 26, 2013.