EU Parliament adopts DSA
In early July, the European Parliament passed the Digital Services Act (DSA) with a vast majority. The comprehensive legislative framework on digital services is intended, among other things, to better protect online buyers from counterfeiting and to curb illegal online trade. For this, the European Union also wants to make online platforms more accountable. The DSA focuses on very large platforms and search engines – so‑called gatekeepers. In addition, the Digital Markets Act (DMA) was also passed in Parliament, which is primarily intended to prevent monopolies from forming in the digital sector. The next step is for the EU Council to formally adopt the legislation. In late April, representatives of the Parliament, the EU member states, and the European Commission had reached an agreement on the new regulations (we reported).
Video game developers take creative steps against piracy
The video game developers at Big Ant Studios are taking rather unusual anti‑counterfeiting measures to combat illegal copies of the sports game Cricket 22. For example, users of pirated copies are experiencing game‑impairing bugs that do not occur when playing the original product – such as white flickering screens, noticeable streaks of bad luck during random events, error messages, and sudden weather changes during the course of the game that can affect the competition. “I figure if people are going to steal the game, we might as well have some fun at their expense,” comments Ross Symons, CEO of Big Ant Studios. The measures have already shown significant results: Sales of the game have allegedly increased by about 300% since the anti‑counterfeiting measures have been activated.
Wine counterfeiting ring dismantled in France
French police thwarted a Bordeaux wine counterfeiting ring in late June, while they were attempting to take action against a criminal network involved in illegal drug trade. As a result, officers seized large quantities of counterfeit Medoc wines, one of the best‑known wine‑growing areas in the Bordeaux region. They also seized counterfeit labels and printing presses. In addition, around 20 suspects were arrested, including the suspected head of the gang – a wine merchant and owner of a vineyard in the region. According to authorities’ estimates, the gang traded hundreds of thousands of counterfeit bottles of wine, including overseas. For their fraud scheme, the counterfeiters bottled inferior wines from other regions, such as Spain. The bottling of the counterfeits allegedly took place at night to keep the illegal activities clandestine.
Counterfeit chocolate seized in the UK
Authorities in England seized large quantities of counterfeit chocolate bars in London’s major shopping area of Oxford Street. The imitations of the well‑known Wonka Bars, with a total estimated value of around 100,000 pounds (about 118,000 euros), were confiscated by Westminster Council Trading officials from a store in mid‑June. The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) warns against eating possible counterfeits, as they might have been produced or repackaged under unhygienic conditions; or might not list all ingredients.