A new, government-backed initiative has been developed to protect consumers and small businesses from the harm caused by the growing trade in fake goods on social media ‘buy-and-sell’ groups.
The Real Deal Online programme has been developed by the National Markets Group for IP Protection (NMG) in conjunction with the National Trading Standards eCrime Team (NTSeCT) to create greater awareness amongst administrators of local social media groups of their legal responsibility to prevent the promotion and sale of counterfeit goods and other illicit products within their groups.
The programme, which will be rolled out at a local level by Trading Standards Services, establishes a process for trading standards officers to contact administrators of social media buy-and-sell groups and help them run a fake-free group. Administrators are invited to follow the Real Deal Online Code of Practice.
Intellectual Property Minister Sam Gyimah welcomed the initiative, saying:
“The UK is rich with talented creators and innovators, and we must protect their intellectual property rights both online and offline. Social media can be a force for good making it easier for users to buy and sell goods, however with this can come an increase of counterfeit goods and other illegal products.”
“This is why I welcome this initiative, that brings together industry, Trading Standards and local government to help protect legitimate businesses and allow rightsholders to reap the benefits of their own creations.”
The Real Deal Online Code of Practice requires group administrators to welcome local trading standards officers as members of the group and to agree to five simple steps:
- to prohibit the sale of counterfeit and other illicit goods;
- to act on information from intellectual property rights owners and their representatives who highlight the sale of illegal goods;
- to notify trading standards if they believe that illegal goods are being sold within the group and to exclude the sellers of these goods;
- to highlight warnings and advice notices posted by trading standards;
- to make sure that all members of the group are aware of its fake-free policy.
Groups that agree to follow the Real Deal Online Code of Practice, will be allowed to display the Real Deal logo which will act as a visual assurance to shoppers and to traders that it is a fake-free shopping zone. Continue reading