“Counterfeit Culture” Documentary Premiering Tonight

Hey gang,

You must catch this doc tonight at 9pm on CBC-TV.  It stars many of the heavy hitters in the anti-counterfeiting industry, including the legendary Lorne Lipkus.

They can brake your car or break your neck. Counterfeit car parts, including brake pads and air bags, are being installed into vehicles with potentially deadly consequences.

They can brake your car or break your neck. Counterfeit car parts, including brake pads and air bags, are being installed into vehicles with potentially deadly consequences.

Counterfeit Culture is a one-hour documentary that explores the dangerous and sometimes deadly world of fake products. An industry that once dealt in imitation designer handbags and shoes has exploded into a global epidemic of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, foods, toys, electronic goods, car parts and microchips. Astonishingly, the traffic in counterfeit goods now accounts for approximately 10% of the world’s total trade – a staggering $700 billion. And it continues to grow unabated.

Shot on location in Canada, the USA, Asia, and Europe, Counterfeit Culture challenges consumers to take a deeper look at what appear to be harmless knock-offs at bargain prices. This thought-provoking film is a compelling journey through what is now a world-wide plague, a menace that some have called the crime of the 21st century.

 

Why Seizing Domains is Reaping Failure

FailureThe bad guys don’t care.  Just like popping a wheelie on your bike, it’s a neat trick but it only works for a few seconds.  Please understand that we are investigating criminals, not websites.  The person on your staff that tells you they are investigating websites should be fired for incompetence.  That is like a homicide investigator saying he investigates piano wire.  He clearly doesn’t understand the difference between a perpetrator and a tool.

In 2008, I innovated a way to help my clients join multiple websites into one case.  Basically I proved that they were all tools used by the same individual and/or crime gang.  Some clients took my advice and allowed me to use this data to assist law enforcement and put these thugs away.  One of these investigations led to the arrest of  the “King of Spam” Oleg Nikolaenko.  The Intellectual Property Rights community at-large exploited this new innovation for their short term gain by seizing domains by the hundreds (and sometimes thousands).  Not one of these lawsuits with fake million-dollar judgments have yielded in an arrest.

The reason we are fighting the good fight is to stop people from doing bad things and hold them accountable for their actions.  Whether you are enforcing trademark rights or car thefts, this has to be done one person at a time.  In 2010 a client asked me what we could take away from the offenders to make them stop.  My simple answer was “Their freedom.”  Entrepreneurs will always find a way to do business.  Bad guys need to be put away to reflect on their actions.  Nothing else will stop them.  When you take away only the tool, you are training the criminal to improve.  I am not in the business of training crooks.  Are you?

My next series of articles will focus on the components of an Internet crime ring and how they continue to elude.  Please stay tuned as I astonish you with techniques that have never been revealed to an enforcement community.

Now I’m going to finish my coffee.

Five Easy Steps to Success in Online Brand Protection™

IPCybercrime released a white paper entitled Five Easy Steps to Success in Online Brand Protection ™ along with the below accompanying infographic. When our CEO Rob Holmes began outlining his upcoming book The Brand Protection Bible (due in 2013) he realized that everything a brand owner needs to know to get started with a successful online program could be summed up in five words, with brief instructions, that fit into one simple page.  This is to be the definitive approach to protecting any brand online.

Click here to download the free whitepaper

This was created as a free reference for Brand Protection professionals.  If you find any of this information helpful, please share the link, download the white paper and the infographic, use them, and circulate freely to anyone you think might find it useful.  We encourage you to post this to your Intellectual Property website or blog and include it in your association newsletter. If you need a different size for your website, blog, or newsletter, need an accompanying article or interview, have different printing requirements, or have any other requests regarding this piece, send an email to rob@ipcybercrime.com.

Five Easy Steps to Success in Online Brand Protection™

Sh*t Excel Users Say

Case NinjaWe recently launched a case management application called Case Ninja which is a commercial version of the data management system we have been using in-house at IPCybercrime since 2004.  With it, we have tracked our tens of thousands of Intellectual Property cases without the loss of one record or report.  The cutting-edge technology used to write the Case Ninja  application is called TrackVia.  Below is a video that anyone who uses Excel to manage their cases can relate.  If you are still using spreadsheets to manage your cases, you need to call us at (972) 422-2100 for a free Case Ninja trial.

Don’t Drop the SOPA

Imagine a world where all of the world’s creative works are reduced to ones and zeros and the control of that art is in the hands of a few tycoons.  A world where those same few Wall Street companies have enough money, influence and power to force all creators to work for free.  That time is now.

Beginning midnight on Wednesday January 18th, 2012 a few popular websites shut down for 24 hours as a planned protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act known as SOPA & PIPA, respectively.  In fact, one protester’s website says “Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge.”  Reducing my creative works to ‘knowledge’  or ‘data’ that can be commoditized is so Skynet.

Some people spend their entire lives creating that one toy, one song, one book, one clothing accessory.  Their legacy.  In most cases, this creation is the only property of value they will have  to pass onto future generations.  Only to have some tycoon call it ‘information’ and re-purpose it for their own profit.  A creative work is not mere ‘knowledge’.  It’s a human creation.  Someone’s child.

This Ain’t a Movie…

Here is an excerpt from the popular movie The Matrix where the villain explains to the hero how, in the film’s bleak future, one organization controls the masses:

  • “Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from… …Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.

What Agent Smith did not understand was that the human condition is more than ones and zeros.  Our ideas are more than data that can be distributed perfectly with algorithms and without complication.  Humanity is suffering and pain.  Humanity is joy and laughter.  Humanity is complication.  Imposing any perfect-world scenario should not be mistaken as naive.  The last organization to almost succeed in creating a Utopian society were the Nazis.  How’s that working for you, Agent Smith?

The American dream used to be to learn a trade, earn a decent living, have a house, and make your mark.  That is still my dream and the dream of many others but it is no longer the dream that is being fed to us.  This new dream is to start a company, sell it to Wall Street for a hundred million dollars; rinse and repeat.  Although we are being told it is our dream, doesn’t it look a lot like a plan for world domination?

Let Me Clear Up a Few Things…

SOPA will not break the Internet.  The Internet is a network of millions of networks controlled by millions of people.  It’s not one thing that can break.  Yes, this regulation will create more work for some large, not-so-poverty-stricken corporations.  But these new jobs that will be created will actually help keep the virtual streets safe for our kids.

SOPA is not censorship.  Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable.  This bill will not stop anyone from being original or objectionable.  It will, however, stop people from distributing your original works without your permission.

SOPA does not bypass due process.  In order for the owner of a creative work to enforce against a rogue site, they must prove to a judge that the site has received refuge from outside the United States and that there is no reasonable way to properly contact the host or registrar.  Only then will a judge sign an order to block the illegal website.

Google, Facebook and Twitter already have systems in place to filter content they deem objectionable such as spam, child pornography and even racism.  Piracy can join that mix without a ton of disruption.

I have been working to prevent the theft of others’ Intellectual Property my entire adult life just as my father did before me.  I have faith in our judicial system, which is comprised of thousands of officials whom we ourselves elect.  I do not trust a handful of tycoons.

Now, I’m going to finish my coffee…