Nobody knows exactly, but probably the first counterfeit dates back since the introduction of the coin in human society. Romans made a series of counterfeits, later on called "legal", by making coins of copper silvered. Roman soldiers fighting in enemy territories were paid with these coins. If they were to be taken prisoners, they did not want to lose gold or silver this way! (...) details... In countries where democracy and market economy are currently strengthening, countries that were led by dictatorial regimes or centralized economies, freedom has lead to a real explosion on the market of services and large consume goods. Taking into account that the legislation for the protection of intellectual property rights and trademarks in these countries appears and is strengthening with time, the state's control bodies do not always manage to fight efficiently against counterfeiting. Cosmetic products, medicines, textiles, food, cellular phones, music or software CDs, spare parts for motor vehicles, these represent a multitude of counterfeited products, thrown on the market, under renowned trademarks, for attractive prices. Who is losing from the sale of these counterfeited products? (...) details...

From romanian press

Romania Loses Over 60 Million Dollars to Software Bootlegging Each Year prin pirateria de software
Doru Dragomir, COTIDIANUL, November 2000
Worldwide Loses Registered by Computer Software Manufacturers
Results of the most recent study carried out at the request of Business Software Alliance (BSA) and Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) show that, in Romania, the rate of software bootlegging by the end of 1999 was of 81%. Although a five-percent from previous year was registered, Romania is one of the countries with highest rate of software bootlegging. The first places in this negative top are occupied by Vietnam and China, with rates of 98% and, respectively, 91%. Romania takes the thirteenth place, same as Thailand and Kuwait.

Business Software Alliance (BSA) estimates the loses of the State to approximately 25 million dollars, by avoidance duty payment on purchasing bootlegging software products, and 35 million dollars loses of software companies by sale of bootlegging software products, stated Nicolae Burchel, BSA lawyer, in a press conference held in Bucharest on Saturday.

2000 was the worst year for software bootleggers in Romania since the enforcement of the Copyright Law: 260 companies are currently under criminal prosecution for unauthorized use or distribution of software programs and computer games, three companies were sentenced, and Internet sites were closed down and Internet pirates have criminal records.
Illegal trade with bootleg CDs and Cassettes
Marius Ioszef, COTIDIANUL, August 9 – 15th, 1999
A large check-up operation organized by the Department against Organized Crime and Corruption together with the inspectors of the Romanian Copyright Office was carried out in Mamaia, Costinesti and Neptun Spas.
On this occasion, there were identified 12 retail units belonging to SC „Tropheum" SRL of Constanta, administered by Carnu Iulian. 1500 cassettes and 300 CDs of foreign music, without license, goods in total amount of approximately 200 million ROL, were confiscated.
”Tropheum" Company is well-known to the Police since last year, when, also following a check-up, the Police confiscated 16000 cassettes and 6000 CDs of foreign music, without license, and other goods in total amount of approximately 1.2 billion ROL. Carnu Iulian is currently at liberty and under investigation and he is to answer under the law for infringement of the Copyright Law.
The Cluj-Napoca Court of Law sentenced Christoss Pittaras, administrator of SC DORTER SERVICE SRL, to pay a criminal fine of 2.000.000 ROL and compensations in amount of more than 9.000.000 ROL. Also in Cluj-Napoca, the court sentenced Vasile Iusan, single private member and administrator of SC FOTO Clip SRL, to pay a criminal fine of 1.500.000 ROL. The court also sentenced him to pay a compensation of approximately 23 million ROL to manufacturers of computer software.
The Romanian Police, seized by Business Software Alliance, has recently instrumented and settled two cases of Internet bootlegging. On,, and www. web pages, Bogdan Manea of Sibiu published illegal offers of bootlegged software. His clients contacted him by an unidentifiable GSM number or by e-mail. Next to software programs, Manea distributed also pornographic materials in the same fashion. Due to the complexity of the case, the investigation was carried out by the Department against Organized Crime of IJP Sibiu. After analyzing the CDs found as a result of domicile search, the provisional prejudice was established to approximately 5000 $.
Due to the fact the software bootlegging takes various forms, the Police also controlled some computer vendors, and in some cases it found that they were selling illegally pre-installed computers. This means that the respective vendors were installing software programs for their clients as free advantages, but without informing them that this represents a criminal offence.
Counterfeit Products
Emil Bojin, VOCEA CONSUMATORULUI, September 2001
In August 2001, our Association carried out a summary inquiry on counterfeit products. This is what we found:
”Delfinului” Market: T-shirts for men by Adidas, Lotto, Diesel, Reebok, Nike; trousers for men by Nike, Adidas.
”Titan 2 (Minis)” Market: T-shirts for men by Fila, Adidas, Lotto, Diesel, Reebok, Nike; trousers for men by Nike, Adidas
”Rahova” Market: T-shirts for men by Hugo Boss, Fila, Versace, Adidas, Lotto, Diesel, Reebok, Nike; sport shoes, backpacks and carpet bags: Boss, Adidas, Nike, Reebok, Fila; trousers and blouses for women by Nike, Boss, Versace; shorts, track-suits and socks by Nike, Reebok, Fila, Lotto.
”Niki Scorpion” Market: T-shirts for men by Hugo Boss, Fila, Versace, Adidas, Lotto, Diesel, Reebok, Nike; sport shoes, backpacks and carpet bags by Boss, Adidas, Nike, Reebok, Fila; trousers and blouses for women by Nike, Boss, Versace; shorts, track-suits and socks by Nike, Reebok, Fila.
N. Balcescu Blvd., corner to Lipscani Street, on the sidewalk: perfumes by Lacoste, Armani, Boss, Calvin Klein (150.000 ROL a piece)
Lipscani Passageway: T-shirts by Lotto, Diesel.
In “H” Pavilion in Herastrau Park, Axel Trading sells: socks by Adidas, Lotto, Nike; Sorry 95: T-shirts by Lee, Diesel; Nabuco: belts by Lee, Levi’s, Calvin Klein, Versace, Diesel; Silvia Group: tennis shoes by Nike, Adidas, Lotto, Reebok; Cordial: T-shirts by Kappa; Avanvi 98: shirts by Pierre Cardin, Hugo Boss; Edboli: shirts by Ungaro.
”Aviatiei” Market: T-shirts by Diesel, Adidas
Gara de Nord Railway platform shop: watches by “Longines” (200.000 ROL)
What can we say? Either the authorities do not find this matter serious, or we have the cheapest economy in the world: a watch by "Longines" equals approximately three kilos of cheese (good one, made in Sibiu!).
Persons that Bought Counterfeit Products May Use Authorized Services
These products brought from other markets need be decoded in order to be used in the local networks. The decoding, which implies changing of software, is deemed as counterfeiting. As regards the consumers, in most cases the unauthorized decoding affects the proper operation of phones. Persons that bought such phones may no longer use authorized services in case of malfunction due to the fact that these breakdowns are caused by unauthorized decoding, stated in a press conference Radu Ionescu, representative agent of Ericsson. Thus, the buyers may repair their phones only in unauthorized services. Next to prejudices caused to the consumers, State budget registers loses of millions of dollars. “Due to the underrated value of imported phones, customs duties and VAT do not represent the real figures that should be paid to the State. According to the type of phones, the damages brought to the State may reach 50 dollars for a single cell phone. Keeping in mind the rapid growth of the total number of users of mobile phones, the phenomenon requires immediate measures", said Claudia Popa, Managing Director of HAT International.
According to a study drawn up by the major companies in the field, following the import of 100.000 such phones, the budget loses amount to more than 200.000 dollars, representing customs duties and VAT. We can easily imagine the prejudice to the State for this year, especially as it is estimated that over one million cell phones will be introduced on the “grey market”.
Romania Became the Paradise of Counterfeit “Cell Phones"
Claudia Botezatu, COTIDIANUL, May 2000
Nearly 60% of the Mobile Phones Sold in the Country Come from the “Grey Market”
Recently, Romanian newspapers were practically bombarded by advertisement such as: “decoding any GSM phone" or “GSM phone service, we repair, decode and unblock any model”. These advertisements prove the fact that there is a rampant illegal market for mobile phones in Romania. Beginning with the previous year, this phenomenon reached an alarming spread. That is why the major manufacturers of mobile phones got together to find solutions for this problem. As opposed to the other central and Eastern European countries, showing a much lower import levels, in Romania the “grey market” of mobile phones reached catastrophic proportions. Approximately two thirds of the phones traded enter the country by unofficial methods. The main countries of origin of counterfeit phones are Turkey, Italy, France, England, Germany, Spain and Hungary. In Romania, owners of mobile phones represent 5% of the country population at this moment. Last year the largest volume of mobile phone imports was registered, of approximately 600.000 phones. Most serious is that 60-70% of the mobile phone market is “grey". If we would consider the fact that it reached maximum 10% in the other countries, we would easily understand that Romania became the primary retail market for counterfeit mobile phones.
Mobile Phone Manufacturers Demand Intervention of Romanian Authorities
Half of the complaints filed to the Office for Consumer Protection regarding electronic products refer to mobile phones. “The “grey market” of mobile phones affects the good name of brands that we represent. Consumers accept to pay a certain price for the quality guaranteed by a phone brand, but they do not know that unauthorized decoding may impact the phone and, practically, cancel the warranty of the brand”, says Daniela Andreescu, representative agent of Motorola.
”The “grey” market works as follows: there are two types of imports. First, phones are subsidized and they come directly from the manufacturer. Second, the phones are not subsidized, that is, they do not come with subscription. The “grey market” works as an intermediary link”, explained Andrei Savu, representative agent of Mmd. The phones commercialized by illegal methods are very attractive as regards the price. “Prices may reach amazing levels. But the problem is that they present no guarantees with regard to quality. What at first sight seems to be a bargain could turn into a problem”, said Radu Cozma, Sales Director of Nokia.
This phenomenon can not b stopped as long as the applicable laws are easily infringed. On this line, the major companies will organize a debate with the participation of competent authorities to find solutions to put an end to the counterfeiting and sale of counterfeit mobile phones.
How can you identify a counterfeit phone?
In the following we will show you how to identify counterfeit as a buyer: the phone is not delivered in its original packaging; the seals of the components inside the package are broken; the body of the phone shows the logo of a foreign GSM operator (Ola, One, Orange, Telsim); the identification number of the phone does not correspond to the number written o the inside of the phone; there are no instructions for use in Romanian and the phone does not have a warranty certificate of the manufacturer; the warranty seal inside the phone is damaged.
Ten Percent of Romanians Suffer from Severe Gastric Diseases
Stress, Pollution and Poor Nourishment Are to Blame
because they are stressed, they do not eat well and live in a polluted environment, more and more Romanian suffer from gastric diseases. More frequent then ulcers, say the doctors, are the so-called reflux diseases, caused by the attack of gastric acid o the oesophagus mucous, and they are also more dangerous because they lead to oesophageal cancer if left untreated. Statistics of gastro-enterologist physicians show that nearly 10% of the population suffers from a complicated reflux disease, translated into ulcerations, oesophagus haemorrhages or deformations. Only 30% of patients go to a physician for this kind of illnesses. The rest of them simply ignore the symptoms, or use empirical treatments with analgesic drugs that do not cure the disease. “Oesophageal cancers, lately of increasing frequency, are preceded by extremely common symptoms that do not receive proper care, such as the burning sensation behind the sternum”, explains Prof. Alexandru Oproiu, resident of the Romania Society of Gastroenterology. Specialists warn that medical check-ups are compulsory in case these symptoms occur more than twice a week. In choosing the medication for gastric diseases, physicians recommend extreme care, as the offer of drugs on the Romanian market includes a wide range of counterfeit products. Thus, Losecomeprazol product, the only drug guaranteed and accepted by its inventor that should be found in pharmacies is affected by a series of counterfeit copies of dubious quality. The specialists warn that these drugs may severely affect health by inadequate treatment of gastric illnesses. For an efficient therapy, the proper medical treatment is not sufficient, as there is also need of a change of the life style.
From Romanian Press
This section presents a series of gleans from articles on the topic of counterfeiting published in the Romanian newspapers in the last years.
Nicolae Burchel said that the courts of Cluj-Napoca and Ploiesti delivered three decisions, which may be challenged according to the remedies specified by the common law, against persons involved in the illegal distribution and use of software programs.
according to the data provided by the representatives of Business Software Alliance, General Inspectorate of Police carried out a search at the Bucharest domicile of Ion Catalin Austreanu, which was offering to the public, using the Internet website, bootlegged software programs. He was collecting orders which it honoured by mail or other methods allowing him to remain anonymous. In this case, the prejudice caused to BSA member companies amounted to approximately 50.000 $.
Since the beginning of 2000, Romanian Police and the Romanian Office of Copyright, in cooperation with Business Software Alliance, verified the legality of use and commercialization of software programs by 260 unauthorized users or sellers of software programs.
The Court of Ploiesti sentenced Marian Constantin, administrator al SC KRALICEA SRL, to six months in prison, with conditional suspension of the sentence, also forcing him to pay damages in amount of approximately 25.000.000 ROL. Constantin was sentenced for selling CDs burned with bootlegged software programs.
Romanians Wear Sport Shoes by Adidas or Nike Made in China
International Traffic with Counterfeit Currency
Adrian Schiffbeck, TIMPOLIS, November 2000
In Stamora Moravita, Border Police captured 19.000 counterfeit DM
The officers of the Border Police in Stamora Moravita had to face an unusual situation on Friday, November 24th. It was an attempt to introduce a significant quantity of counterfeit currency in the country. There were frequent cases of frauds and small amounts of counterfeit dollars or DM in Timis County, but this was a business of major magnitude about to invade the market.
Nothing Suspect – At First Sight...
At the customs, border police officers stopped for control a Volkswagen automobile with two persons onboard. At first sight nothing seemed suspect. The two persons presented their perfectly valid passports, with interdiction visas for our country, declaring that they were tourists. They are the Bosnian citizen Tasic Dejan, 28 years old, domiciled in Banjaluka, and the Serbian citizen Nikolic Ivan, 45 years old, from Zajecar. After the usual questions, related to the possibility that the “tourists” have something to declare, and their negative answers, master sergeant Viorel Marcu and customs worker Adrian Fistea, led by lieutenant colonel Liviu Nechita began to search the car. “There was a moment of inspiration on the part of the policeman and customs worker as they doubted the statements of the car passengers”, stated lieutenant colonel Viorel Alexe, spokesman of the Border Police Inspectorate of Timis County. They discovered a hidden hand bag belonging to Tasic Dejan, holding 19.000 German marks, in banknotes of 500. The careful verification of the currency led to the suspicion that it might be counterfeited. The thickness of the material was different from that of real banknotes, and some of them had the same series, both clear indications that the money was counterfeited.
The same evening, shortly after their discovery, the border policemen seized the Department against Organized Crime of Timis Police, which took over the case for further research. Thus, the hearings of Tasic Dejan revealed that he received the money in Belgrade from a certain ‘Tvia”, who was to meet him and the Serbian citizen in Timisoara. This “Tvia”, which remains unidentified, handed them the banknotes because he was forbidden to leave Serbia wit more than 1.000 DM on him. Tasic and Nikolic declared that they did not know the banknotes were counterfeited and that the person that gave them the money intended to buy mobile phones in Romania with that money. The two also said that they received 500 German marks from “Tvia” (real ones this time) as payment for getting the money into Romania.
A Case of Extreme Rarity
The counterfeiting method of these banknotes is extremely interesting. Officers of the Department against Organized Crime established that counterfeiting was recent, probably by a matrix, and that this it was the first case banknotes of such series and characteristics were introduced on the market in this part of the country. In fact, as lieutenant colonel Viorel Alexe told as, this is also the first case of this type encountered by the border police of Stamora Moravita since July 1st this year. As regards the Bosnian and Serbian citizens, they were handed over to the Serbian Police for further research. The mysterious “Tvia” remains to be identified, as well as his eventual accomplices in this business.
Fines for Entertainment
Virtual Arad News, August 9th, 2001
Music industry seems to have the Romanian gone completely mad. This is no longer a cultural phenomenon, but more likely a social one. Teenagers, and not just them, became the target of an extremely profitable business. Practically, millions of dollars are circulating in the field each year. The commercialization of audio or video cassettes or CDs brings unimaginable profits. As it should be, concerned authorities, such as records companies or artist associations developed some measures to protect their intellectual property rights. It was expected for illegal traders to enter the market. For some many millions of dollars a lot more millions can be obtained from illegal trade. It is estimated that in Romania, over 50% of these commercialized products are counterfeited and have nothing to do with the genuine productions. If you don’t know already, there is a law forbidding not only the commercialization of audio and video products, but also their broadcasting without payment of a duty towards the Union of Composers. This means that the music we hear in pubs, shops or even inside the means of transportation is breaking the law. But this law (we should mention that this is not the Copyright Law) also forbids the broadcasting of music in public. For example, if someone wants to give you a fine, he could very well come to a party you organized and you listen, together with a dozen other people, the last album of your favourite band.
Automotive Parts Shall Have Security Stamps
MONITORUL, June 7th, 2001
Just as drinks and cigarettes, automotive parts shall have security labels starting with June 11th
Following the model of cigarette packs and drink bottles, which may be commercialized only if they have security stamps, starting this month also automotive parts shall be branded with security labels by the national authority. The introduction of this labelling system follows a government decision adopted in December last year, but it will only become effective starting with June 11th. After this date, all automotive spare parts to be commercialized in profile shops shall have to present these labels; in contrary cases the vendors will risk confiscation of goods and withdrawal of operating authorization for the respective retail unit.

The security labels to be applied on al spare parts shall be made of a special plastic foil, of 10 x 25 mm or 20 x 50 mm sizes, similar to stickers. The stamps, for this is how these security labels will look like, shall be numbered to prevent application on multiple parts, and each product will have a specific group of numbers. The stamps will be carry the “Genuine Product” mention, and they shall have several alphanumeric information specifying the certifying unit, manufacturing company, product series and the year of manufacture for control purposes. The novelty of this security labelling model to be applied on automotive parts is that it will practically impossible to counterfeit or to transfer from one product to another; the adhesive employed will be made of two layers, and the moment the label would be exfoliated from the genuine product the “annulled” mention will appear automatically on the stamp. The only units to have right of certification of automotive parts shall be the Romanian Auto Register, for braking and steering systems and other subassemblies, and the National Authority for Consumer Protection, for the other products.

The manufacturing costs of these labels are estimated to approximately 1.000 ROL/stamp and, in principle, the introduction of stamps should not impact severely the retail prices of automotive parts. However, taking into account that the manufacturers create series of parts, in some cases it could generate a small increase of price. The primary purpose for the introduction of these security labels was the elimination of counterfeit goods from the market because the profiteers were invading the trade with unauthorized products imitating genuine products without any compliance with technical parameters. As many drivers found their cars to be malfunctioning simply after changing a planetary wheel or a liner, and discovered that the parts were “counterfeit” only in case of accidents, even they had bought them from profile shops, there was a need for intervention on the part of the State. With the introduction of stamps, the owners of cars will know if the parts they buy are genuine or counterfeited and, even if they will have to pay more for this, any driver should feel more comfortable, at least as regards the warranty of the product bought and traffic safety.

As you can see for all the information above, sometimes things are so well-arranged that they seem absurd. Except that, overcoming some people’s concern to limit the number of listeners based on the number of products sold, the markets are invaded by counterfeit products. To rarely the competent bodies punished the traders of counterfeit products. Anyhow, if they were to be caught, they would only have to pay a fine of a few hundreds of thousand of ROL, which surely would not discourage them. Counterfeiting has gone as far as in Arad there are dozens of traders trying to sell you CDs for a bargain. On the other side of the war, the traders see things slightly different. “We are purchasing the cassettes and CDs from certain recording studios. How are we supposed to know that they are illegal or not?” says Ileana Stanca, trader of such products. In fact and after all, there is some truth in her statement. We have heard of illegal traders that were sentenced, but not so often of counterfeiting producers that were punished by law. In fact, who’s fault it is? “I was fined two times so far. I paid the fine because there was no other way around. But why did not they follow the thread to see where all this mafia begins? I showed the policemen and guardsmen the documents of origin, but it was all in vain. Listen to me, we the small ones pay while the big thieves make profits. Is it fair?" asked herself somewhat rhetorically Ileana Stanca.

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