Copyright Alliance Offers Safe Holiday Shopping Tips for 2019 Gift-Giving Season

November 13, 2019

Washington, D.C. Holiday shopping is stressful enough as it is, and making certain that you’re not buying fraudulent gifts only adds to the stress. In an effort to protect consumers this holiday season (and make the gift-shopping process a little easier), we’re offering our top tips and tricks on how you can make sure your presents don’t come with an unfortunate bonus of illegitimacy.

According to Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid, “Being careful about the legitimacy of what you buy, and where you make your purchases, is something to always be mindful of. However, around the holidays, knowing the warning signs of pirated goods that masquerade as legitimate products is incredibly important. So, it’s become a holiday season tradition for us to team up with our members to educate consumers on ways to identify and avoid buying pirated and counterfeit products as gifts.”

By obtaining content legally over the holidays, consumers reward creators and incentivize further creation, which contributes to our overall economy. Consumers also avoid malware that can result in criminals gaining access to consumer financial information and identity theft. As outlined by the Digital Citizens Alliance Digital Bait report, sites that steal content are also likely to contain harmful malware.

Adds Kupferschmid, “As more consumers purchase holiday gifts online each year, sites selling illegitimate merchandise have become savvy at portraying themselves as legitimate online retailers selling genuine products. So, it’s important that we help the ‘buyer beware’ during this year’s gift-giving season, as well as provide consumer safety tips for the long term.”

Some tips to follow to ensure that consumers purchase only legitimate products:

Don’t buy mainstream or luxury goods at flea markets. Chances are they are selling illegal copies and knockoffs.

If a product price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful about extreme bargains on software, movies, music, etc.

Purchase products from secure online sites-only, to protect your credit card information and identity.

When reviewing product packaging, simple things like spelling errors, blurry text and images or poor print quality can help you identify illegal (or questionable) products.

Purchase products from reputable brick-and-mortar or online stores, or directly from the copyright owner’s website.

When downloading apps, it’s safest to do so from vetted sources (such as iTunes or Google). But if you download an app through a third-party source, there’s a good chance it may be infected with malware particularly video streaming apps.

When in doubt about whether a product is legitimate, don’t shop, click or give out your information. Instead, do further research before making your purchase.

The Copyright Alliance recommends the following links to help ensure shopping safely:

15 Tips for Safe Holiday Online Shopping (LifeLock)

NCSA Online Holiday Shopping Tips (National Cybersecurity Alliance)

Fraud Resource Center: Holiday Scams (AARP)

14 Tips for Safe Online Shopping (PC Magazine)

9 Holiday Shopping Scams to Watch Out for This Season (U.S. News)

Safe Online Shopping Tips for the Holiday Season (Norton)

Holiday shopping tips from the FTC (FTC)

How to Tell: Learn How to Tell if Your MS Software and Hardware are Genuine (Microsoft)

Top 5 Holiday Scams To Watch Out For This Year (Huff Post)

How to Avoid Buying Counterfeit Products Online (Consumer Reports)

12 Holiday Scams to Watch Out For (

Be Cyber Safe and Counterfeit Free (Digital Citizens Alliance)

Tips for Avoiding Pirated and Counterfeit Goods this Season (Copyright Alliance)

Get it Right From a Genuine Site (Creative Content UK Partnership)

Avoiding Counterfeit Music Sites and CDs (RIAA)

Global Brand Council Works to Combat Counterfeit Goods (GIPC)

Find Legitimate Sources for Movies, TV and More (

Shop online? Here’s how to spot counterfeit electronics, cosmetics, clothes and more (NBC News)




The Copyright Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest and educational organization representing the copyright interests of over 1.8 million individual creators and over 13,000 organizations in the United States, across the spectrum of copyright disciplines. The Copyright Alliance is dedicated to advocating policies that promote and preserve the value of copyright, and to protecting the rights of creators and innovators. For more information, please visit