Copyright Alliance Offers Tips for Avoiding Black & Blue Friday

As Black Friday approaches, the Copyright Alliance, which fights piracy of tangible and intangible goods, wants holiday shoppers to be on the lookout for bogus products that could mean some Black Friday blues for legitimate sellers.

So, if that shrink-wrapped box containing those coveted VR glasses says Occulas Raft in blurry printing, look elsewhere.

Here are some words of advice, and warning, from the alliance:

    1. "Don’t buy unused goods at flea markets. Chances are they are selling illegal copies and knock-offs.
    2. "If a product price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful about extreme bargains on software, movies, music, etc.
    3. "Only purchase products from secure online sites, to protect your credit card information and identity.
    4. "When reviewing product packaging, simple things like spelling errors, blurry text and images or poor print quality can help you identify illegal products.
    5. "The best way to avoid inadvertently buying an illegal product is to purchase it from a reputable brick-and-mortar or online retail store or directly from the copyright owner’s website.
    6. "When in doubt about whether a product is legitimate, do further research before making your purchase."

The alliance also cites some sites where shoppers can bone up on what to watch for, including from a couple of local TV stations, Fox's WTTG Washington and Hubbard's KOB-TV Albuquerque.

As of 2015, according to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition, as of 2015, the projected value of global trade in pirated goods was $1.77 trillion.

The coalition adds its own take on the "consider the source" admonition. "Ask yourself if you would normally expect to find the product sold in this type of environment," if not. Walk away. "Deal only with legitimate, established merchants."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.