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Knock-Offs Don't Only Come From China


For all the rhetoric, China shouldn't have to shoulder all the blame.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said seizures of counterfeit goods rose by 83% in 2006, totaling an estimated $155 mln.

According to a report in The Economist, approximately 70% of China's Internet bandwidth is used for the transfer of pirated movies and films. The Associated Press recently reported that 81% of counterfeit products seized in the U.S. were manufactured in China. At the time of its IPO two years ago, around 20% of searches performed on (BIDU) are seeking unlicensed MP3s and, with the losses being absorbed by record labels these days, it doesn't seem that those numbers would be going down anytime soon. Worldwide, companies lose more than $60 bln a year due to Chinese piracy and counterfeiting.

But, for all the rhetoric, China shouldn't have to shoulder all the blame.

Cori Hartje, Director of the Microsoft (MSFT) Genuine Software Initiative, says the rate of counterfeit or unlicensed software is around 35% globally and the loss is equivalent to the entire industry getting paid for only three of every five days worked. A 2006 study by the Business Software Alliance shows that a 10-point drop in the global piracy rate over a four-year period would create 2.4 mln new jobs and $400 bln in economic growth, as well as $67 bln in tax revenue.

The country responsible for $865 mln worth of that pirated software? Spain.

Russia is now known for producing exceedingly high-quality counterfeit pharmaceuticals. John Theriault, vice president for global security at Pfizer (PFE) and a former FBI agent told The New York Times that knock-off Russian medication was "the finest he'd ever seen."

And a Reuters article says that "market vendors throughout Asia seem to agree that the best fake handbags are manufactured in South Korea."

South Korea is, in fact, responsible for a raft of phony products:

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Then, there's Japan:




And, the good ol' US of A:

However, no one can hold a candle to Mexico, where they've managed to knock-off Elvis:

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