Trademark counterfeiting? Most people are unfamiliar with the term but are likely familiar with knockoff, replica, and counterfeit to describe a crime that accounts for an estimated seven to ten percent of the world economy. This is not a new crime but dates back to the Middle Ages and the trade guilds, which were required by law to have a distinguishing mark or brand to distinguish their goods. Stealing the brand by way of using a trade guild’s mark to sell inferior copies was widespread.
Many guild marks or trade names are in use today. Sterling silver is an alloy developed by silversmiths in Germany in the Twelfth Century. Pewter is a metal alloy of tin, mixed with copper or alimony and dates back to the Twelfth Century in France.
Bread counterfeiting was a big problem in the Middle Ages. The Assize of Bread and Ale was enacted in England in the 13th Century to set price controls for bakers and lasted for 500 years. This was a public policy of regulating the price and size of a loaf to ensure the poor could afford it. Bakers using the proper amount and size marked the bread. Bakers would try to cheat by adding chalk, white sand or other additives.
I attended PirateCon 2015 which was held in Boston. This was a one day convention held by the Massachusetts Pirate Party. I attended to obtain material for a book I’m writing on file sharing on the Internet. The Pirate Party, which originated in Sweden, is now in 60 countries world-wide. The President of the Massachusetts party has a title of “Captain.” The Massachusetts party has about 400 people and is likely the largest Pirate Party in the United States.
There was a live streaming video interview with Rick Falkvinage, founder of the Pirate Party. He impressed me as a very intelligent and spoke on a wide range of issues that focused on political actions for the next year. Members of the pirate party introduced themselves and asked questions.