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Cablegate: Finnish Customs Launches Public Awareness

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RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHHE #0102/01 0461029
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151029Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2970
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HELSINKI 000102

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD KIPR ECON EUN FI
SUBJECT: FINNISH CUSTOMS LAUNCHES PUBLIC AWARENESS
CAMPAIGN AGAINST COUNTERFEITS


1. On International Customs Day, January 26, 2007, Finnish
Customs, in cooperation with the Finnish Copyright
Information and Anti-piracy Center (CIAPC) launched an
extensive consumer information campaign against counterfeit
products that has won plaudits from both industry and other
EU member states. The campaign was the brainchild of Senior
Customs inspector Anssi Kartila, a U.S. International
Visitor grantee in 1999, and features six posters, covering
all kinds of counterfeit products, from music to medicines.
The posters are shown at all customs border crossing
points, harbors and airports across Finland. Targeting the
border crossings is especially effective since Finland
shares a long border with Russia which represents the
eastern frontier of the EU. The aim of the campaign is to
make people realize that not only are their actions
illegal, but as consumers they are denying themselves safe
and good-quality products.

2. The Finnish campaign is part of a broader, EU-wide
consumer information project, initiated by the European
Community's Anti-Counterfeiting Customs Action Plan.
Finnish Customs, inspired by a Canadian campaign a year
ago, developed the Finnish counterfeit campaign, and has
made the material available to other EU countries. The
material is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.
Finland's most famous rock group, Lordi, designed the most
popular poster which has a photo of the monster-rock, Kiss-
inspired lead singer growling about the inferior quality of
pirated cds. All EU countries may use the posters,
including the Lordi poster, in their own campaigns. The
Finnish material can easily be modified (language and
picture) to fit any country.

3. All six posters have forthright messages to consumers,
such as "buy pirated goods - support drug traffic". Other
posters remind people of the threat posed by counterfeit
products to, for example, health and jobs in Finland
("gambling with your health" "selling counterfeit products
is illegal").

--------------------------------------------- ------
Cooperation Good between Copyright Industry and Customs
--------------------------------------------- ------

4. The Helsinki-based Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy
Center (CIAPC) is a trade association representing all of
the copyright industries in Finland. In 1999, CIAPC signed
a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Finnish Customs to
make cooperation in combating piracy more official and to
enable a more thorough sharing of information between these
organizations, according to Antti Kotilainen Director of
CIAPC. CIAPC collaborated closely with Customs on its
current campaign.

5. CIAPC has also produced anti-piracy awareness campaigns
and educational packages for all junior high and elementary
schools in Finland (age 13-16 and age 11-12). The packages
include a teaching kit, slide shows, which can be
downloaded by teachers, and a comic book for students.

-----
STATS
-----

6. In 2002 Finland was one of the largest EU pirate markets
with nearly four million imported pirated discs. The number
of pirated copies imported to Finland fell after the
amendment of Finland's Copyright Law (effective January
2006), which prohibited all import of pirated products -
zero tolerance. Today the situation is clearly better, 700
000 pirated discs were imported to Finland in 2006,
according to CIAPC. This decline in pirated discs was
offset by a nine percent increase in the sales volume of
music recordings in Finland, especially at sales points in
south eastern Finland (Kotka and Lappeenranta), a border
region close to the most pirated copy markets in Russia
(mainly Vyborg and St. Petersburg).

------------------------------------
Finns Buy Counterfeit Household Items
-------------------------------------

7. In Finland, most counterfeits are household items rather
than luxury goods and their high quality often makes
identification impossible without technical expertise. The
increasing use of the internet to sell counterfeits (mainly
medicines) increases the challenges customs officials face.
The number of counterfeit medicine consignments caught by
Finnish Customs is estimated at 600 in 2006 compared to
only 68 in 2002.

8. According to the most recent statistics, 87 000

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counterfeit products worth 3.96 million euros were seized
by Finnish Customs in January-June 2006, compared with 1.6
million counterfeit products worth 28 million euros in
2005. The drop is explained by the fact that transport
routes have been redirected from Finland to less strictly
controlled routes (mainly Latvia and Lithuania).

WARE

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