Consumers Count Too

While opponents of rogue sites legislation refuse to acknowledge the serious consumer health and safety dangers posed by defective goods sold through foreign rogue sites, the National Consumers League (NCL) released a letter saying clear as day “rogue websites harm consumers.”

This is something we’ve been saying all along. Yes, rogue sites infringe on copyrights of our most creative industries and rob us of jobs. But rogue sites also present serious consumer safety and privacy risks. As the nation’s oldest consumer organization puts it:

 “Sometimes the harm is blatant, such as sites peddling counterfeit pharmaceuticals that can injure or even kill consumers. Other times the harms are subtler, as sites purporting to sell discount clothing, footwear, or other consumer goods pass off low-quality, counterfeit items as legitimate. Even consumers who know the goods they are buying are counterfeit may not know that the sites are often run by criminal enterprises, and that they may be putting themselves at risk of computer malware, as well as credit card fraud and identity theft.”

The NCL goes on to say that legislation “could provide powerful and effective tools to mitigate the consumer harm caused by rogue sites.” And like all of us, they want legislation that is both effective and reasonable. The coalition of over 350 companies, trade associations, and professional organizations that support rogue sites legislation welcome this show of support by a preeminent American consumer advocate, the NCL.

The NCL is just one of many voices from a variety of sectors spanning the entire country who are calling for sufficient enforcement of existing intellectual property laws, which are designed to protect innovators, job-creators, employees, and yes, consumers. To remedy these cyber-based ills, we look forward to the enactment of rogue sites legislation, similar to the PROTECT IP Act and Stop Online Piracy Act, this calendar year.

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