Counterfeit Crackdown!
Despite companies' efforts to fight forgery, bogus Gucci bags seem as plentiful as ever. And today, counterfeiters are also ripping off drugs, car parts, and electronics that not only cost jobs, but also lives.


"This is an unfinishable battle. [You] try to do everything, but it is a long war."
– Gyula Almási, head of Hungary’s Intellectual Property Rights Defense Department

This particular long war isn’t against terrorists. It’s against counterfeiters. Companies have been fighting the proliferation of knockoff Rolexes and Gucci bags for years. Now both business and – quite literally – people’s lives are at risk as counterfeiters move in on markets for everything from drugs to car parts. Globalization and the Internet make it tougher and tougher to catch the copycats. And, as the developing world is learning, where new consumers create a demand, the black market shall supply – and that can kill local industries and people alike. The policing the world’s market for fakes, phonies, and frauds… Counterfeit Crackdown!

Deborah Amos speaks with Professor Adrian Johns about what piracy is and discusses arguments for and against protecting intellectual property.
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Sean Carberry reports from Ghana, where stepped-up enforcement efforts have failed to stem the flow of counterfeit clothes, car parts and drugs into the country.
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Ann Kim travels to India where counterfeit and substandard medications have dangerous implications.
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Deborah Amos speaks with Victoria Espinel, the first US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, about US government efforts to enforce IP.
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Ed Low, a Chief Customs and Border Protection officer, takes us on a tour of the port of Oakland, CA and explains what it’s like to be on the front line of the fight against counterfeit goods.
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Jordana Gustafson investigates how Hungary got off a US watch list for piracy and why enforcement alone may not be enough to put an end to illegal trade.
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Deborah Amos speaks with intellectual property experts Chris Sprigman and John Whealan about when and why intellectual property matters and about the challenges of enforcing IP rights across borders.
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Video Extra

In 2010, for the first time in seven years, Hungary was removed from a special watch list kept by the Office of the US Trade Representative. This is a list of countries the Trade Rep says fail to adequately protect intellectual property (IP) rights.

Part of Hungary's strategy has been to increase IP enforcement training for customs and other agencies. This has resulted in an increased number of raids and seizures of counterfeit goods and internet servers.

Here, customs officials raid a market in search of fake back braces known as Kosmodisks.

Featured Experts

Victoria A. Espinel
Victoria A. Espinel serves in the Executive Office of the President as the first U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. She was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator in September 2009 and was confirmed by the Senate in December 2009.
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Adrian Johns
Adrian Johns is a professor in the Department of History and the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science at the University of Chicago. He is the author of "The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making," which won the Leo Gershoy Award of the American Historical Association, among other awards.
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Chris Sprigman
Chris Sprigman teaches intellectual property law, antitrust law, competition policy and comparative constitutional law. His scholarship focuses on how legal rules affect innovation and the deployment of new technologies.
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John M. Whealan
John M. Whealan is Intellectual Property Advisory Board Associate Dean for Intellectual Property Law Studies. Before joining GW Law School in 2008, Dean Whealan worked at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) where he served as deputy general counsel for intellectual property law and solicitor since 2001.
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Counterfeit Crackdown / Executive Producer: Aaron Lobel / AAM Producers: Monica Bushman, Sean Carberry, Mallory Durr, Jordana Gustafson, Ann Kim and Matt Ozug / Interns: Ethan Chiel and Brendan Maaghul / Additional production help: Brett Myers, Yusuf Misdaq and Flawn Williams / Director of Broadcasting and Station Relations: Steve Martin / Web Producer: Javier Barrera / Photo credit: Kevin Ho.

Host: Deborah Amos / Length: 51 minutes / Airdate: Aug 2011

Support for this program was provided by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center.

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