The Toronto Star has been the home of several columns I've written over the past year that focus on counterfeiting and the need for a bit of perspective (overblown claims column, misleading RCMP data column). I'm grateful for that venue and the paper's support for varying perspectives on the issue. Over the weekend, the paper published a different perspective – a full, special section devoted to counterfeiting.
The section (which can be accessed via the conventional site or a cool, page turning technology) appears to have a single sponsor – the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network – as there are only three ads in the section, all from the CACN. Those three ads are titled Would You Risk Her Life?, Counterfeit Products Fund Organized Crime, and Counterfeiting and Piracy Are a Rip-Off. The articles expand on these themes as readers are told that:
- Canada is a laughingstock internationally because of our weak anti-countefeiting laws
- Canada ranks with Vietnam, Guatemala, and Thailand when it comes to harbouring criminals who rip off intellectual property
- Counterfeiters are taking over world commerce
- The facts seem irrefutable – while Canada is a small player in the international film industry, our country accounts for a disproportionately large share of the piracy problem
- There have been no reports of deaths, but it could happen
- “We are sacrificing the future of favour of $5 DVDs and $20 designer purses” (CRIA's Graham Henderson)
- Counterfeiting has reached crisis proportions
Moreover, the articles claim that venture capital investment declines can be attributed to counterfeiting and that it is leading to lost sales, lost jobs, and lost tax revenues. If you haven't seen it, I try to put these claims into perspective in this video.
Update: The Torontoist provides an interesting contrast from the same day's paper.