Thursday, July 25, 2024

Cypriots champions in illegal sports streaming, study finds

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Cyprus has the second-highest rate of young people knowingly purchasing counterfeit sports equipment online in the European Union, according to data from the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The EUIPO, headquartered in Alicante, Spain, found that 14% of Cypriots aged 15-24 have deliberately bought fake sports goods online, placing the country behind only Greece (18%).

The report, titled “European Citizens and Intellectual Property: Perception, Awareness and Behaviour,” also revealed that 14% of Cypriots overall have accessed or streamed live sports content from illegal online sources. This figure jumps to 20% among Cypriot youths aged 15-24.

Across the EU, counterfeit sports equipment inflicts significant financial losses on manufacturers, with the EUIPO estimating €850 million annually in lost sales, representing 11% of the industry.

A separate EUIPO press release detailed a recent operation targeting counterfeit goods, codenamed “Fake Star.”

The initiative, led by Spain and co-led by Greece with Europol coordination, resulted in the seizure of eight million luxury and sports counterfeit goods across Europe, with an estimated retail value of €120 million. More than half of all counterfeit products seized in 2023 (14 million) were apprehended during this operation.

The seized counterfeit sports goods included fabrics, footwear, labels, leather goods, and clothing accessories, with a focus on sports shoes and clothing. Authorities also arrested 264 individuals connected to the counterfeit operation. Notably, the seizures revealed that many counterfeit products have their logos applied in Europe, suggesting a finishing stage for these goods within the EU.

The EUIPO report emphasises the financial and criminal dimensions of intellectual property rights infringement.

The organisation estimates that piracy across all media formats generates €1 billion in illegal revenue annually, while the “Fake Star” operation uncovered links to organised crime, illegal immigration, fraud, and money laundering.

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