The landlords and owners of flea markets and business centres where counterfeit goods are sold could face prosecution in that they contribute to the proliferation of illegal goods in the country.
This is the word from Mzwandile Masina, deputy minister of Trade and Industry, speaking after he led a raid on shops selling counterfeit CDs and DVDs at the Bright Water Commons Flea Market in Randburg.
“Government cannot tolerate a situation where owners of these flea markets are turning a blind eye on criminal activities committed in their own premises,” he says. “People who sell these illegal goods pay rent every month for operating in these centres and their owners cannot claim that they do not know what is sold in their own premises. The fact that they receive money generated through illegal activities taking place in their premises could well imply that they are complicit to criminal acts that are hurting this country’s economy.”
Officials from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) confiscated fake DVDs from shops in the flea market.
Masina adds that counterfeits CDs and DVDs cost the country’s economy millions of rands and also denying artists of the revenue that should be contributing in growing the creative industry. He adds that government recognised the role that the creative industry plays in creating employment and contributing to the country’s economy.
“As the dti, we have set aside R50-million from the National Lotteries Commission as part of boosting our efforts aimed at protecting the intellectual property rights of our artists,” he says. “We will be providing training to prosecutors to equip them to deal effectively with violators of intellectual property rights and transgressors of the Counterfeit Goods Act, and embarking on a campaign to educate members of the public about the negative impact of buying counterfeit goods to the country’s economy and our artists’ livelihood.”