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New Research on Counterfeiting Looks Towards Consumers

Tuesday, 28 September 2004

Recent estimates by The Organised Crime Task Force in Northern Ireland have suggested that terrorist groups are involved in 80% of all counterfeiting and piracy. Given that the global counterfeiting market is worth in the region of $350 billion (approx £195 billion), the potential effect of this illegal market is enormous.

While international companies, including those from Hollywood & Silicone Valley, are working hard to make products more difficult to copy, little is so far known about the consumer end of counterfeiting. However, researchers from the University of Central Lancashire and Manchester University have teamed up with the Northern Ireland Office and a number of major trade associations to find answers to some of the questions about the attractions of buying counterfeit goods. Project leader, Dr Jo Bryce said:

Beyond a very simple notion that people buy counterfeits good because they are cheaper than the legitimate item, there is a lack of any real data about people's buying patterns and the motivations of consumers who see little harm in buying copied DVDs, fake handbags, or counterfeit food, alcohol or medicine.

Working with a project board that includes representatives from the British Phonographic Industry, British Video Association, Business Software Alliance, Entertainment Leisure Software Publishers Association, Federation Against Copyright Theft, UK Patent Office, and the Alliance Against Counterfeiting & Piracy the researchers have been conducting what looks like the first independent national study of counterfeit consumption.

So far 15,000 postal questionnaires have been sent out in England and Northern Ireland. As a further part of this work, an online survey is currently running specifically aimed at Internet users. This looks at consumer attitudes concerning issues around the purchase of counterfeit goods, downloading music and films from the Internet, and understanding the dangers of counterfeit goods.

The survey can be accessed via and everyone who completes the questionnaire is given the opportunity to be entered for a prize draw. Prizes include:

  • A Toshiba DVD player plus 10 top titles
  • A Sony PlayStation 2 games console plus 10 new games
  • A Sony Mini System plus Top 10 CDs
  • 20 x £10 vouchers from Woolworths and HMV

The questionnaire takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and provides an opportunity for consumers and the general public to make their opinions and attitudes known to the government and industry.

The questionnaire can be found at:

More information about the project and research team can be found at:


Dr Jo Bryce

Department of Psychology

University of Central Lancashire




Tel: +44 01772 893881

Fax: +44 01772 892925


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