Is your favorite lipstick fake?

Leading African beauty industry entrepreneur, Tara Fela-Durotoye, together with other leading Nigerian entrepreneurs are raising their voices to stand against counterfeiting, intellectual property theft and piracy in Nigeria. Their powerful new campaign ‘United We Stand’ aimed at tackling piracy, counterfeiting and intellectual property theft head-on launched on 24th February 2017. The campaign is a call to action against injustice which also implores the Nigerian public to take extra steps to preserve hard work and to ensure consumer safety by buying genuine products and shunning counterfeit products.

In an exclusive interview, Tara revealed entrepreneurs from the fashion, movie and other industries “will come together as a collective to be able to use one voice to fight something that has affected all of us whether in terms of intellectual property..”

Launching an emotional video directed by Kemi Adetiba to address the issue of piracy in Nigeria and featuring Tara Fela-Durotoye herself, Oke Maduewesi of Zaron Cosmetics, Nollywood actor and producer Funke Akindele-Bello, Temitayo Eyitayo of 24 Apparel, Uzo Uzeoke of Emzor Pharmaceuticals and Chude Jideonwo, all stood as parts of the collective to take a stand. Pulling all resources together, the collective initially launched a viral tease addressing this on social media with short videos before the campaign was launched.

Stressing the need for the Federal Government to put stricter policies in place to protect indigenous brands Tara revealed piracy cuts across the music industry, movie industry, fashion industry, the pharmaceutical industry, food and beverage and so on. The campaign was formally launched with people encouraged to march against the scourge relentlessly till a policies are put in place.

The illicit trade in counterfeit goods arguably constitutes the single biggest black market, larger than the global narcotics trade. Despite its enormous scale, it remains relatively underprioritized by lawmakers, enforcement agencies and researchers. It has long been known that counterfeiting and piracy (respectively the infringement of trademarks and copyright, together known as intellectual property, or IP) make up a vast global business. But a report published on April 18th by the OECD suggests that, despite the advent of such high-tech counter-measures, it is far bigger than previously thought. The last such survey by the club of 34 mostly rich countries was in 2008. Updated the next year with data from 2007, it put the value of cross-border trade in fakes at $250 billion, or 1.8% of the total for all goods. The latest report estimates that by 2013 those figures had risen to $461 billion, and 2.5%. Globalization has enabled traffickers to run rings round officialdom, says Candice Li, vice-president of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC), a lobby group. “There isn’t an international legal or enforcement framework with which to confront the problem,” she says. Counterfeiters can make parts in one country, assemble a product in a second and package it in a third—without stepping outside the law in any of them. The OECD estimated that the value of internationally traded counterfeit goods was 250 billion US dollars in 2009. Fast forward six years and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) commissioned a study to estimate the total value of internationally traded counterfeit goods based on the OECD study, and projecting the value at 770–960 billion US dollars in 2015.

Cosmetics companies have been fighting counterfeiters for as long as they’ve been in business, but the scope of their efforts isn’t widely known. The Estée Lauder Cos., the $30 billion company that owns MAC, Clinique, and other brands, has waged an especially aggressive campaign. Since 2003 its global security team has been led by the former head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York office, and it employs 42 full-time agents around the world. They infiltrate flea markets, make test purchases on EBay, and gather evidence for civil suits against counterfeiters. Increasingly, they’re coordinating with local and national governments. That includes pointing Chinese police to the country’s dingy fake-makeup factories and advising U.S. prosecutors on criminal investigations. Global seizures of counterfeit perfume and cosmetics jumped 25 percent from 2011 to 2013, according to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, making them a growing sector of the $461 billion annual trade in pirated and counterfeit goods.

About Tara Fela-Durotoye

Tara Fela-Durotoye is a Nigerian-born lawyer turned Africa’s leading beauty and makeup entrepreneur. She started House of Tara at the age of 20, from her living room, whilst an undergraduate at university back in 1998. She’s since gone on to launch Nigeria’s first ever bridal directory in 1999, and in 2004 she opened the country’s leading beauty academy. Today, Tara has over 3,000 reps spread across Nigeria and 14 stores to her name and she is steadfastly dedicated to realizing her vision of building a globally respected beauty company of African origin. Tara remains an inspirational role-model and mentor to make-up artists and aspiring beauty business owners across Africa.

In 2013, Tara was nominated as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and was also named one of Forbe’s ’20 Young Power African Women’.

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