Monthly Archives: August 2015


In March 18 and 19th, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries (FPI) held an anti-piracy conference on music piracy at the Interpol, General Secretariat headquarters in Lyons, France. Eighty representatives from 27 countries attended.

The anti-piracy conference is the annual seminar organized by IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide, including record company members and affiliated national groups. The conference was supported by INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting (TIGC) unit, which since 2012 has helped coordinate some 20 operations involving 139 countries resulting in the seizure of fake and illicit goods worth hundreds of millions of US dollars.

In her opening remarks, IFPI Chief Executive Officer Frances Moore said: “We greatly value our relationship with INTERPOL. For us in the music industry, the objective is to create space for the legal, licensed digital market to grow. If we look back over the last few years we can see that it is a strategy that is working.  We have to continue to work together against piracy and the organized criminal gangs behind it. The people behind the largest pirate sites are making huge amounts of money, diverting it from flowing to rights holders and often using it to fund other illegal activities. The operators of pirate sites don’t invest in artists and music, don’t pay taxes, don’t create jobs.”



Interpol’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeits (TIGX) Programme

Interpol’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting Unit  was the lead in an operation Codenamed Maya II, a two week operation that ended in June. Working in coordination with other national law enforcement, fake goods with an estimated value of $60 million were seized across 19 countries and territories as part of a coordinated operation in the Americas and the Caribbean.

In one of the seizures, organized crime networks had infiltrated a distribution supply chain and were selling fake merchandise alongside the genuine in a shopping center in Santo Domingo. Interpol worked with the head of the Dominican Republic National police, Major General Manuel Elpidio Castro Castillo, who said: “The Dominican Republic’s involvement in Operation Maya II through NCB Santo Domingo underlines our commitment to combat all forms of transnational crime, to protect citizens and society for a safer world.”

A week later, Interpol issued global arrest warrants, referred to as red notices, against FIFA officials wanted by U.S. authorities. The red notice is a criminal complaint that is put in its database and is available to world-wide criminal justice organizations.

So what’s up with Interpol these days? One hardly hears about Interpol–despite the fact that it’s getting involved more and more with counterfeit and pirated goods around the world after introducing a Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting (TIGX) Programme in 2012.

“Trafficking in goods” covers more than just trademark counterfeiting and is a generic term for an array of criminal activities including selling genuine goods on the black market to avoid paying taxes.

One of the first Interpol operations was Black Poseidon, a month long operation in Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Turkey and Ukraine that involved working with national police and investigators in IP crime experts. Trafficked good valued at $122 million were seized and more than 1,400 individuals arrested.

Tabberone’s Hall Of Shame

If you’re a brand owner you should check out this website: http// or do a google search for “Tabberone copyright infringement” or “Tabberone Hall of Shame.”

Tabberone publishes a list on its website called the: “Trademark and Copyright Abuser’s Hall of Shame.” Among the many brands that are listed in the Hall of Shame are John Deere, Krispy Kreme, Channel, NFL Properties, Tommy Hilfiger, to name a few. The list of abusers comes with a short description of abusive practices the brand has supposedly made and the outcome.

On the website, Tabberone explains that he has “been in federal court more than 15 times, without a lawyer, to defend against ‘improper’ eBay auction terminations and won the great majority of them.”

Tabberone appears to be on a mission, although his List hasn’t been updated since June, 2014. Nonetheless, Tabberone has spent a great deal of time putting together the Hall of Shame.

Tabberone’s goal is to identify brands that, in his opinion, misuse their intellectual property through aggressive use of the takedown provision of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) or the use of the cease and desist letter.

For example check out what Tabberone has to say about the Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports Logos (CAPS). Tabberone offers tips on how to defend yourself against CAPS and makes other unflattering statements about this organization. As proof that its diatribe against CAPS is legitimate, Tabberone points out that CAPS would have shut down the website by now    . . . this is a good example of circuitous logic.

If you’re a brand owner, you should check out Tabberone . . . Maybe you’ve made his Hall of Shame.

Counterfeit Botox

ucm443219Two men were convicted last week for selling counterfeit botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT), known commercially as Botox. The fake Botox was sold via the website: The fake drug originated in Turkey and was sold throughout the Missouri area. Scientists and other experts have always feared widespread and unlicensed manufacture and use of this deadly toxin.

Botox is the first microbal toxin to become licensed for treatment of human diseases like cercivic torticollis, a muscular disorder of the neck. The most common use of Botox is cosmetic. When injected in small amounts, Botox can prevent the development of wrinkles by paralyzing certain muscles in the forehead and face The FDA requires a warning label advising that, if injected, the toxin may spread from the injection site to other areas of the body, causing symptoms similar to those of botulism poisoning.

Fake Botox made national headlines in 2004, when four people developed symptoms after receiving Botox injections at a medical clinic in Oakland Park, Fla. The four victims were hospitalized with severe botulism poisoning that included temporary paralysis. The FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) traced the fake Botox to a California laboratory that sold botulinum toxin for research purposes. OCI investigated the fake Botox for another four years, which resulted in 31 arrests and 29 convictions.

Legitimate sales of Botox exceed $2 billion a year–a large market that attracts counterfeiters who typically sell over the Internet. In 2012, the FDA warned doctors about Botox being sold online through The drug offered for sale was an unapproved foreign version. In 2013, a Missouri doctor was sent to prison for lying to Federal agents about buying a foreign-made version online.

Weapon of Mass Destruction

Botulinum is an acutely lethal toxin and an infection with the bacterium may result in botulism, which is usually fatal. Just a speck of pure toxin, smaller than a grain of sand, can kill a 150-pound adult. Botox is also easy to manufacture, making it an ideal weapon of mass destruction. A biologist with a Masters degree and a few thousand dollars worth of equipment could make enough pure toxin to theoretically kill thousands of people.

It’s use as a weapon of mass destruction happened in March, 1995. The Aum Shinrikyo sect used an aerosolized BoNT (sarin) in a subway attack against the Japanese population, but the attack failed because its scientists mistakenly cultured a low toxin-producing strain. Nonetheless, thirteen people died and thousands were injured after cult members used umbrellas to pierce plastic bags containing the toxin on five subway trains. At the end of the Iraq war in 1991, 19,000 liters of BoNT were seized and destroyed.


Cyber Warfare Experts: North Korea’s Unit 121

 The Sony hack that occurred on November 24, 2014 is believed to have been arranged by an elite North Korean cyber war unit known as Unit 121. It has a membership of 5,000 hackers who largely target South Korea.

The motive for the November 24th attack was revenge for the release of The Interview, a comedy about an attempt to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The North Korean government had threatened to take action if the film was released in June, with the result that the release was delayed while the film was re-edited.

A group that calls itself the “Guardians of Peace,” which has ties to North Korea’s Unit 121, claimed responsibility for the hack. Many cinema chains refused to show the film, which subsequently was only available for online rental

This cyber attack was the first hint that governments all over the world are involved in cyber warfare. This hack should also have served as a warning for U.S. government officials like Hillary Clinton, who is currently under investigation by the FBI for using her personal e-mail. Her personal e-mail could easily have been hacked and that would have been a major embarrassment in her bid for the presidency.

How a Cyber Attack exposed Project Goliath

Project Goliath

Would you believe that a cyber attack by a rogue nation led to the leak of confidential e-mails about a plot to take down Google?

Sounds incredible–but it’s true. Read on.

Background: On Nov. 24, 2014, Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked and a considerable amount of confidential data, including personnel information and business documents, were stolen. Experts said this cyber attack was the first against a U.S. company and used a sophisticated and highly destructive data wiping virus that forced Sony to shut down its computer operation for over a week.

Although the hacker was never identified, North Korea is believed to be behind the cyber attack and was in retaliation for The Interview, a comedy about North Korea’s president.

Several movies that were about to be released were available for download on a piracy website. Also available for download was sensitive corporate information and e-mails. What proved to be very damaging were e-mails showing that Sony and other movie companies were working with the Motion Picture Association of America on a clandestine project against a company referred to only as “Goliath.”


Intrigued? Read on.

Project Goliath: Although never mentioned by name, Goliath is believed to be Google and Project Goliath may part of a broad strategy directed against online piracy. This hacked information proved useful to Google which is in a legal wrestling match with Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. Hood had issued a 79-page subpoena in 2013 that demanded Google produce information, including whether it helps criminals by allowing searches to find pirated music.

Google filed suit against Hood and sought discovery of the e-mails leaked as the result of the Sony cyber attack to show, among other things, that Hood is in cahoots with the MPAA and has been receiving political contributions from the major film studios.

The legal wrestling match between Hood and Google is ongoing and well worth following.

I’ve enclosed three links in what is turning out to be a real corporate pot boiler.


FDA’s Be Safe Rx Campaign

The FDA has developed the “Be Safe Rx Campaign” for consumer education and to address the need for caution in purchasing drugs online. Nearly twenty-five percent of people who have purchased drugs online have purchased from a site not associated with any pharmacy or health insurance plan.


Some red flags that could signal a fraudulent online pharmacy:  Beware of online pharmacies that are located outside the United States and are not licensed in the United States by a state agency. Another tipoff is an online pharmacy that allows you to buy medicine without a prescription or by asking you to complete an online survey instead of requiring a prescription, or offers very low drug prices that seem too good to be true. Many fake online pharmacies send spam or unsolicited e-mail offering deep discounts on medicine. Be wary of drugs shipped from a foreign country.

FDA’s CD-3 counterfeit detection device

Fake pharmaceuticals are a growing problem.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the front line agency involved in the fight against fake pharmaceuticals and has developed CD-3, a counterfeit detection device that provides a real time, low cost, portable solution that can be deployed almost anywhere. (see Youtube video).


CD-3 is intended as a low-cost and effective counterfeit drug-testing tool that is used by 50 FDA field laboratories.