Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Community Oriented Policing Services (C.O.P.S.) Bureau deputies sponsored a Counterfeit and Piracy training conference on Wednesday, February 27, 2013.
“The purpose of conducting training classes such as the one held today, was to not only educate law enforcement officers on counterfeiting and piracy crimes, but to bring a greater public awareness to the global impact, financial loses, and the health and safety risks these crimes pose,” said Sheriff Baca.
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The keynote speaker for the event was Sheriff Leroy D. Baca. Sheriff Baca spoke on the importance of protecting intellectual property rights, and law enforcement’s part in stopping counterfeiting and piracy crimes through criminal prosecution, legislative changes, and training and prevention programs.
This event was attended by 350 law enforcement personnel from municipal, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Also in attendance were over 50 brand owners and representatives from a variety of companies; including Proctor & Gamble, Nike, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Merck Pharmaceuticals, Phillips Morris USA, True Religion, Tiffany & Company, Monster Energy, Sony, Acushnet, Fifth & Pacific, and Eaton Corporation. The brand representatives were on hand to provide instruction to the attendees on how to identify counterfeit goods.
Sheriff Baca also commented on the widespread threat counterfeiting poses to the public health and safety. Many counterfeit products contain toxic levels of lead or other harmful byproducts; human feces and plastic particles have been found in counterfeit cigarette tobacco; and pharmaceutical products are sold with the intent to deceptively represent its origin, authenticity or effectiveness.
Sheriff Baca noted that losses to U.S. businesses from the counterfeiting of trademarked consumer products are estimated at $200 billion a year. The underground economy hurts all California taxpayers, costing the State an estimated $8 billion in lost corporate, personal, and state sales taxes each year.
Although many consumers believe that sharing copyrighted music, movies, or buying an imitation purse doesn’t feel like stealing; few consumers genuinely understand the significant consequences counterfeiting and piracy cause.
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