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Mountains of pirated and counterfeit CDs and DVDs seized in global operation

15 octubre 2010

Mountains of pirated and counterfeit CDs and DVDs seized in global operation

Brussels, 15 October 2010

Press Release

Today the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) announced the seizure of tens of thousands of pirated and counterfeit CDs and DVDs at international mail facilities and express courier depots in the course of a global operation.

Forty-two countries participated in Operation Global Hoax which aimed to stem this growing trade and stop these economic saboteurs from using postal and courier channels to move their illegal goods around the world.

As of early October, thirty Customs administrations had reported their final results while resulting investigations remain ongoing. More than 782 parcels were seized, yielding in excess of 142,000 DVDs and 28,000 CDs.

Customs also seized over 271,000 other counterfeit items, including razors, pharmaceuticals, curling irons, household goods, watches, mobile phones and accessories, clothing, computer accessories, jewellery, video game gadgets, MP3/MP4 players, and leather goods.

Some Customs administrations went even further; raiding street markets selling counterfeit and pirated goods, either on their own or in collaboration with other enforcement agencies. These informal markets have become a common point of sale for counterfeiters with a veritable “supermarket” of illegal goods available including pyramids of DVDs and CDS.

“Using postal and express courier channels to move tens of thousands of counterfeit and pirated goods around the world is increasingly being exploited by criminal traders,” said Secretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya. “Operation Global Hoax which targeted the use of this means of transport for illegal goods yielded outstanding results, and is a clear demonstration of the Customs community’s resolve to fight these global gangsters in partnership with all our key stakeholders,” Mikuriya added.

Over 5 million dollars worth of counterfeit and pirated DVDs and CDs were seized in the United States alone by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) who played an active role in the operation as partners of the IPR Center, one of the US Government’s key weapons in the fight against IP theft.

“The smuggling of counterfeit goods robs Americans of jobs, steals the creative content of our artists and diverts legitimate revenue from responsible industries to the pockets of organized crime,” said ICE Director, John Morton. “We thank the WCO for agreeing to coordinate this operation and facilitate the cooperation of so many member countries,” added Morton.

Global Hoax was coordinated by the WCO who facilitated the sharing of information and made available CENcomm – its secure communication tool – to participating administrations for exchanging data on pirated and counterfeit products seized.

The WCO will continue its ongoing positive dialogue with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on the misuse of the international postal system by organized counterfeiting gangs. UPU officials have welcomed the engagement with the WCO on this global problem and further talks are set to take place with a view to seeking an effective solution.