Piracy and counterfeiting in the seed sector can have a devastating impact on the livelihood of farmers, while seeds that are illegally reproduced represent 'bombs' for outbreak of virus and bacterial diseases. With these risks in mind, it is imperative for the industry to raise awareness among farmers of the importance of buying only from official seed companies, and to tighten supply line security.
The training we have provided over the years to law enforcement agencies in cooperation with IIPCIC has been very beneficial. It is not difficult to recognize counterfeit seeds and plants, but you need to know what features to look for. In addition, law enforcement has to learn how to obtain and secure legal evidence. Clearly, training for investigators in this area is vital to protect the industry and public health.
For AIB members, the e-learning module we developed with IIPCIC on infringement in the vegetable seeds sector has been, and still is, an important instrument to mobilize our members' field staff. In the first 'wave', over 1,100 learners completed the course, and efforts to generate a second 'wave', have already yielded a few hundred learners more.
Counterfeiting or pirating of a brand in the food and beverage sector has the potential to create health risks to consumers as short cuts in production can result in quality issues. In some cases, for example counterfeit alcohol, the final product can even be fatal when consumed.
The complexity of these cases requires a sophisticated and coordinated response that draws together skills from law enforcement, regulators, brand owners and industry bodies. By networking and supporting specialized investigator training, such as IIPCIC’s Mentoring Programmes, we can illustrate the many adverse effects in areas ranging from health and safety to economic impact. Through this collaboration, we enhance operational engagement and develop trust.
We have had great success with our e-learning module developed by IIPCIC and AIB Seeds on "Understanding and Addressing Infringement in the Vegetable Seeds Sector". The e-learning module works very well with our member companies. As AIB has always stated, the protection of intellectual property and seed varieties is the responsibility of every member of every company. The fact that our companies can have all of their employees do this training in about one hour is a fantastic way to get the message out there.
We are actively encouraging our member companies to follow the training course. Criminals will exploit any opportunity to get their copied and illicit seeds into the market, so it is important that our member seed companies are educated and trained and are able to spot and stop any and all infringements.
Audiovisual piracy is a global business which has a serious impact on legitimate operators, but which the industry cannot fight alone. However, the industry has the expertise to support law enforcement efforts, the foundation of which is the training interface promoted by bodies such as the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA).
The training program developed by IIPCIC in cooperation with AAPA on "Investigating Audiovisual Internet Piracy", illustrates the vast sums of money being made by criminal enterprises through AV piracy, some of which is undoubtedly being channeled into other areas of serious and organized criminal activity. Raising awareness with law enforcers and the judiciary is just as important as educating the general public to the damage caused by audio-visual piracy.