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"Don't be duped by dangerous Christmas Fakes" - Vincent Cable MP

22 November 2001

Dr Vincent Cable, MP for the West London constituency of Twickenham, will tomorrow introduce legislation to crackdown on the makers of fake and counterfeit products.

Pushed for cash as the Christmas season approaches, many people consider buying cheap fakes and imitations. But Vincent Cable MP has warned local people not be duped.

Launching his bill - which enjoys Government and cross-party support, and seeks to increase sentences for counterfeiters and make it easier to secure convictions - Vincent Cable MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary said:

"Cheap imitations - such as counterfeit CDs, videos and games - may look like bargains, but they are often poorly quality and lead to disappointment on Christmas morning. Take the recently seized counterfeit Harry Potter VCDs being sold for £6 each. They've been recorded in the back of a cinema and the sound and picture are unwatchable."

"More worryingly, many fake goods do not comply with British safety standards and can be extremely dangerous. In recent months, I have heard from police about urine found in perfume bottles, concentrated ethanol passed off as gin, and even hardcore porn on children's videos."

The Copyright, etc. and Trade Marks (Offences and Enforcement) Bill, will receive its second reading tomorrow (Friday 23rd) and is expected to win support from MPs across the political spectrum and could become law next summer.

Lavinia Carey, Chair of the cross-industry Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, has congratulated Dr Cable on taking up the issue. Speaking at a news conference, she warned MPs that neither consumers nor business would understand were the bill to be delayed by procedural wranglings:

"Fake goods are not only a rip off and harmful, they are also regarded as low risk sources of funding for organised crime. The Police Service of Northern Ireland has evidence that counterfeit videos, CDs and computer games are being used to bankroll continuing terrorism in Northern Ireland."

"The Government and the opposition parties all support this bill on which there has been extensive consultation. We have waited too long. The time to act is now."

The bill aims to increase the penalties for copyright theft to ten years, strengthen search warrant provisions and give greater powers to confiscate fake goods. An almost identical bill was introduced in the last Parliamentary session by Andrew Miller, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, but fell through lack of time when the general election was called.

For information about joining the Alliance please contact Susie Winter at susie@allianceagainstiptheft.co.uk or on 020 7534 0595