The Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy

Executive Summary

Analysis carried out in this report indicates that international trade in counterfeit and pirated products could have been up to USD 200 billion in 2005. This total does not include domestically produced and consumed counterfeit and pirated products and the significant volume of pirated digital products being distributed via the Internet. If these items were added, the total magnitude of counterfeiting and piracy worldwide could well be several hundred billion dollars more.

Counterfeiting and piracy are illicit businesses in which criminal networks thrive. The report shows that the items that they and other counterfeiters and pirates produce and distribute are often substandard and can even be dangerous, posing health and safety risks that range from mild to life-threatening. Economy-wide, counterfeiting and piracy undermine innovation, which is key to economic growth.

The magnitude and effects of counterfeiting and piracy are of such significance that they compel strong and sustained action from governments, business and consumers. More effective enforcement is critical in this regard, as is the need to build public support to combat the counterfeiting and piracy. Increased co-operation between governments, and with industry, would be beneficial, as would better data collection.