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Knockoff: the Deadly Trade in Counterfeit Goods: The True Story of the World's Fastest Growing Crime Wave Hardcover – November, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


""Whether your involvement in security includes investigations or protection of IP, you will find gems of information in this book."" -- Terry Cochran ""Security Management""

About the Author

Tim Phillips is a freelance journalist. He has written for The Wall Street Journal Europe, The International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, The Observer, and The Sunday Times about business, the internet and technology. Tim is currently the Managing Editor of Performance Plus Magazine and regularly appears on BBC TV and Radio and Sky News. His books include Scoring Points (Kogan Page).

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Kogan Page Business Books (November 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749443790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749443795
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,372,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've been writing professionally as both a journalist and an author for more than 20 years, and in that time I've been able to interview and meet hundreds of interesting and insightful people (and quite a few dull ones as well, but I edit them out). So my books tend to be about what other people say and do rather than the contents of my own head. I thought you'd prefer to hear about them than hear about me.

I may be wrong. If I am, tell me. I like other opinions.

If you want a free taste of what I do (and what I think about what other people do), check out my blog Talk Normal:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rob Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Every week I get a few e-mails from unknown sources, offering me "Genuine Replica Rolex Watches!" It makes me wonder what a fake replica Rolex watch would be like. As often as I get such messages, it is clear indeed that there is a market for the fakes. It's just an exercise in vanity, I tell myself. No one really needs on the wrist a genuine Rolex that costs thousands of dollars, and those who try to fake it at cut rates are just showing the same vanity, only discounted. It's stupid, but harmless, I used to think. Then I read _Knockoff: The Deadly Trade in Counterfeit Goods_ (Kogan Page) by business journalist Tim Phillips, and the fakes turn out not to be so superficial. "The next fakes you encounter might be the pills you are about to take for your heart condition, the brake pads the mechanic just fitted to your car, or the engine parts on the aeroplane you will be boarding this afternoon." They might also be helping finance the next terrorist outrage. It is a huge business, and each chapter here treats a different aspect of it. Phillips also has suggestions for stopping the problem, but don't get your hopes up.

Counterfeits are, of course, nothing new; Phillips cites amphorae of cheap Gallic wine that got fake stoppers to make them look like quality Roman wine in 27 BCE. There are, however, several reasons that counterfeit products are booming now. Globalization has made superbrands fashionable the world over with the logos, of course, prominently on the outside. Globalization has also made for factories in distant lands to make such goods, and to make them on the cheap if they can get away with it, or make extra units during secret night shifts, units that are sold secretly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chris Dillon on October 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as background reading for a client assignment, and was impressed with the author's balanced perspective about a subject that - as the recent debate over digital rights management illustrates - tends to create strong opinions.

For example, Phillips makes no bones about the fact that counterfeiting is theft and that it is anything but a victimless crime. At the same time, he notes that companies need to convince customers that their products (particularly music and films) have the value that the companies assign to them. He also observes that where there is a huge price difference between legitimate and bootleg product and little in the way of local support, convincing people to buy a genuine product will be tough.

Phillips also makes some interesting points about the links between counterfeiting and organized crime and terrorism, and the prevalence of fake pharmaceuticals and aircraft parts. He does this without being sensational, which is no small accomplishment when you consider that counterfeit parts have been found on Air Force One, and that in some African countries, 80 percent of the medicine is fake.

Readable, informative and highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When the voracious consumer society meets the international market in fake goods, the demand is massive, particularly since buyers covet brand image over quality or authenticity. That's the force behind the billion-dollar market in counterfeit designer goods, but it does not explain the demand for phony industrial goods. That market is based on price alone. The two markets combine to create a huge problem that author Tim Phillips examines at the global level. Phillips certainly has done his legwork, as this book - which is written in a journalistic style that could have been tighter - makes clear. He takes us to flea markets in Russia, warehouses in Manhattan, cottages in China, and the offices of police and regulators worldwide to show how pirated luxury consumer goods, software and industrial parts are bought and sold to suspecting and unsuspecting consumers worldwide. He provides names, places and details of the crimes. We find this informative treatment of a pervasive global problem both enlightening and disturbing, and recommend it to people in supply line logistics, branding, corporate intellectual property and law enforcement.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Malvin VINE VOICE on June 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Knockoff" by Tim Phillips offers a good introduction to the problem of counterfeit goods. This eye-opening book seeks to inform the reader without being unduly alarmist or sensationalist. Mr. Phillips makes it clear that the knockoff economy is not a matter to be taken lightly, given the untoward and far-reaching effects this trade might have on ourselves and others.

Mr. Phillips brings an international perspective to the subject. The author is a talented business journalist who resides in the U.K. and describes the trade in counterfeit goods as a global phenomenon. I found his writing to be intelligent and engaging, with touches of trademark English humor worked in to good effect, making the book a fast but informative read.

The book's twenty chapters breeze through some of the many facets of the knockoff economy around the world. Mr. Phillips takes us from home sales parties scattered across the suburban U.S. to urban marketplaces in New York, Beijing, Islamabad and elsewhere where billions of dollars worth of counterfeit goods change hands. The author tells us that the dynamics of the trade are driven by wealth disparities between nations (and class disparities within nations) and the huge financial rewards to be made by those who are willing to break the law. A few of the many topics covered include: the underground trade and its connection to criminal and terrorist groups; how governments have been weakened and even controlled by gangsters who are supported by illegal trade; how fake automotive and aircraft components threaten the safety of passengers; and how the sale of unlicensed software not only eats into Microsoft's profits but has probably stymied a competitive software industry from developing in Russia.
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