If I may we will start with Knock Off Nigel.  For those that don’t live in the UK and maybe missed this treat, its an advert showing the evils of Copyright infringement, or it tries too.  With an unsophisticated attempt to create a stigma around Copyright Infringement, because the creators seem to have been of roughly GCSE level, it created a cult following for its catchy jingle and cheesy character.  Shamefully previous campaigns failed too, with the Channel 4 Series “IT Crowd” even getting in on the act of mocking the creators of these “adverts”.

Reported in the last few days the Scottish Police have siezed around £300,000 of fake designer goods.  Now personally I would not wish to be seen around wearing these “designer” labels, we all know people who buy them and parade about as if they are the real thing.  Ugg boots tearing, swollen where the water has gotten in and aftershave that’s supposed to smell like Joop but after about 2 hours more like Poop.  Suffice to say this is a large collection of goods.  And what do the Scottish Police do?  Read on.

I bet you are thinking that I’ll say the Police have opened up a market stall and as well as producing your driving license or reporting your lost phone you can get a nice bottle of fake Gucci Guilty, or in addition to their uniform the Scottish Police have accessorized with fake designer goods.

Sadly, I can’t say either of these things.

No, the Scottish Police have donated them (with the blessing of the infringed companies) to charity.  Lets hear a round of applause.  Great news for the charity, well done to the respective companies and good idea to the Scottish Police?  Well no, not at all and for me highlights the hypocrisy of Copyright Parasites such as FACT.  We can’t blame the Police (and I assume this practice is common amongst many forces) as their upper echelons of power tend to have more shiny pips detailing their rank than they do IQ points or common sense.

Lets see what Trading Standards have to say about counterfeit goods. Source: Trading Standards

These products may seem like a bargain…………………..These products are of inferior quality but also they can be dangerous.

So these cheap moody goods (and allegedly dangerous) have been sent over to needy people. – Not looking so much like a great donation now is it? Unless Trading Standards are telling lies and counterfeit goods can often be the same or better quality than that which they copy.  You can decide yourself there.

We have the consent and support of the brands to make the donation, for which we are very grateful.

Source: Chief Inspector David Pettigrew 

And what of the companies concerned that have given their blessing in all this? Great gesture? No.  What they’ve done is make a charitable donation which on the surface looks great, scratch a little deeper and you’ll see that these are goods they’ve paid nothing to produce going to people who would never be able to afford them anyway.  A great PR stunt which doesn’t cost them a penny.  I wonder what would happen if the recipients started selling these clothes?  Would FACT get involved? Of Funded by the private sector with the ear of the public one, FACT (who’s STAFF have NO powers over any other citizen in the UK) seem to have forgotten everything they say about counterfeits too.

Maybe the truth is that you can’t infringe copyright if your “low quality” (trading standard words) copies are being given to people who would never be able afford them, in countries where food and medicine is far more the concern than some silly designer label copy where the original may have already been exploiting similarly needy people in other countries to make the “legitimate” versions.

But don’t forget the criminal gang its hurting! That’s the cry we hear.  But then the UK media shows (in the coverage of these cases) mostly the market trader, shop owner and “chap next door” being dealt with in law for this stuff.  The criminal gangs I suggest are the ones manufacturing goods in factories in other countries.  They’ve already been paid and in the majority of cases I’ve seen reported in the media, its the guy (or girl) at the end trying to make a few quid that gets the full brunt of Copyright “law”.   Think this stops people buying from factories? Think again, go to almost any market and its a haven for numerous counterfeits.

In the meantime the UK public doesn’t seem to care what FACT or anyone else says about counterfeits.  The producers of these products have outsmarted them (not hard in most cases) by changing their packages.  So instead of it being a copy of a product the package will say “If you like Joop then try this”.  Personally I’d not bother, but then if you go around most UK markets you see this counterfeit stuff everywhere, so the general public must demand it and seemingly FACT has done little about it.

Maybe instead of paying outfits like FACT who in the digital age have utterly failed in my opinion, they should look at reducing their prices to give consumers value for money.  Maybe that would be a start.  And at the same time when paying money to FACT with its claims about criminal gangs, look to their own factories worker conditions and check that everything is in order there.  I will look at this subject soon too, I’m very interested to see which designer labels have good conditions for their workers and which don’t.  Also it would be interesting to see the profits of these companies and how much (despite the claims of revenue loss) they are actually making.  But that is all for another day, in the meantime I and many other people boycott the products and services that have connections to the parasites who seem to be not only largely ineffectual against those they claim do harm, but also exercise hypocrisy.

It was only yesterday the plight of an individual was reported here, who has had his copyright infringed by a Government Agency and is not seemingly to be a worthy enough cause for FACT to help.  Its one rule for large corporations/Government and fingers up to the individual (or so it seems).  Maybe FACT would like to explain why they haven’t helped this individual to date? Is it because he’s not a paid up member?  Does their “concern” about copyright infringement only go as far as the products of the companies that pay them? or maybe its because here, the allegation is against a Government agency and they don’t, (metaphorically) want to bite the hand that feeds them?

FACT follow me on Twitter yet rarely respond, maybe they thought they were on to something when they saw in my profile picture that I was wearing a pirate hat?  I’ll quite happily debate with them directly over their actions and “views”.  But they won’t.  I wouldn’t call them cowards, although I think they would know that their actions in the past and their arguments I’d could take apart in a few minutes of debate. I’d guess the main reason is that they are not interested, there’s no money to be made in it, nothing for their gain.  And just like the owner of the factory making counterfeit goods, I’d suggest the money, is the only thing they are in it for.

There’s many more Knock off Nigel parodies and fun to be had over on Youtube, showing whatever tactics FACT and similar bodies are trying to use to “educate” people, its not working.  The general public are not as stupid as these people need them to be.

This is why I advocate the use of a Creative Commons license and free/open source software.  The Copyright parasites will scuttle back under their metaphorical rock at the mention of it, there’s no money to be had for them.  If any of these “people” would like to debate the matter directly, ideally for the public on the TechBytes show, please get in touch either here or by email.

Tim

bytes4free@googlemail.com