Copyright Alliance Offers Holiday Shopping Tips for Copyright-Protected Gifts

December 6, 2016

The Alliance looks to ensure consumer awareness and safety during 2016 holiday season

Washington, D.C. – December 5, 2016 – In an effort to protect gifters and giftees and promote consumer awareness this holiday season, the Copyright Alliance offers consumers tips on how to ensure that they are buying legitimate products for their holiday presents

According to Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid, “during the 2015 holiday season, we teamed up with our members to help educate consumers on ways to identify and avoid buying pirated and counterfeit products as gifts. This initiative was very effective and we received a lot of positive feedback. So we are again sharing helpful info for the 2016 shopping season, including the warning signs of
pirated goods that masquerade as legitimate products.”

There is also a definitive link between content theft sites and malware, as set out by the Digital Citizens Alliance’s “Digital Bait” reports. By obtaining content legally over the holidays, consumers not only reward the creators and incentivize further creation, they also avoid malware that can result in criminals gaining access to consumer financial information and stealing your identity. 

Kupferschmid added, "As more consumers have gone online to purchase goods in recent years, sites selling illegitimate merchandise have become savvy at portraying themselves as legitimate online retailers selling genuine products. The problem with these sites are that they are unlicensed and are often also associated with identity theft or credit card fraud. Major credit card companies do not service
these sites, but the sites will lure gifters into providing credit card number, expiration date and security code, before telling them that the transaction cannot be completed."

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

• Don’t buy new products at flea markets. Chances are they are selling illegal copies and knockoffs. While some legitimate products can be sold in unconventional locations, sellers of
counterfeit products gravitate to temporary venues where they can sell and disappear before their illegal activity can be detected.

• If a product price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful about extreme bargains on software, movies, music, etc. For example, popular releases or box set collections being sold at prices far below normal retail prices are likely counterfeits.

• Only purchase products from secure online sites, 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 products.

• Pirate sellers find it highly profitable to traffic in “Best of” collections of popular artists and titles that are not available in stores because they have no legally available competition. Similarly, with the increasing popularity of vinyl albums - pirate sellers like to offer albums in vinyl format where the album was never released in vinyl album. A quick for search of the artist discography or the software compilation fails to show the title or lists it as “unofficial” – you are likely looking at an illegal CD.

• Many of the illegal pay for download sites are based in Russia and falsely claim they operate under Russian licensing schemes 

• The best way to avoid inadvertently buying an illegal product is to purchase it from a reputable brick-and-mortar or online retail store or directly from the copyright owner’s website.

• When in doubt about whether a product is legitimate, do further research before making your purchase.

The Copyright Alliance recommends the following sites to ensure shopping safely:

Tips to Protect Consumers from Buying Counterfeit Goods Online
(from Fox 5 DC Interview with U.S. Chamber of Commerce GIPC President)

How to Tell: Learn, Verify & Buy with Confidence from Microsoft

How to Detect Piracy from Nintendo

Get it Right From a Genuine Site from Creative Content UK Partnership
Home page
AG Offers Holiday Shopping Tips WTVA ICE Issues Sophisticated Knock-off Warning to Holiday Shoppers KTVU PSA and Top 10 Tips from GIPC and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Find Legitimate Sources for Movies, TV and More via Find Legitimate Sources for Music by Checking Out



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

For media inquiries, contact:

Eileen Bramlet

VP Communications