Zumba Steps Up Efforts to Combat Counterfeiting and Piracy Fitness Leader Pursues Legal and Legislative Initiatives to Protect Licensees, Consumers and Brand
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla., July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Zumba Fitness, LLC, the largest dance-fitness company in the world, announced today it has increased pursuit of legal and legislative initiatives to combat unauthorized brand use, counterfeiting and pirating. The heightened activity reflects the Company's commitment to protecting the jobs, well-being and safety of Zumba® instructors and enthusiasts around the world and proprietary Zumba® brand fitness programs and products.
"Millions of Zumba participants in the United States and internationally know the health and fitness benefits of our unique programs and products," said Alberto Perlman, CEO of Zumba. "Unfortunately, Zumba's popularity has led to widespread, unauthorized promoters and instructors who are not only acting illegally but endangering the safety of consumers. We take our responsibilities to Zumba enthusiasts and our licensed instructors very seriously and are intent on pursuing whatever legal and legislative actions we can to fight the counterfeiting and pirating around the globe."
Legal Action and Investigations
Zumba reported that recent coordinated enforcement efforts by the Company and authorities in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden and the United States resulted in a raid in the U.K. led by the West Midlands police and Zumba's Corporate Counsel (supported by exclusive U.K. DVD distributor Guthy-Renker). One arrest resulted from the raid and approximately $1.5 million worth of suspect counterfeit products (including Zumba products) are believed to have been identified. Thousands of counterfeit Zumba DVDs and Zumbawear® apparel were seized along with other suspected counterfeit products incorporating Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton brands.
Zumba's other anti-counterfeiting activities in Australia, Eastern and Western Europe, and North and South America revealed that people and entities have also been purchasing poor quality counterfeit Zumba® products from rogue and other websites all over the world, predominately from Asia. These and other problems with counterfeit products from Asia forced Zumba to restrict its distribution of optical disc products there to better identify counterfeit products. The company is working on several creative solutions to these problems.
"Counterfeiting and piracy harms our licensees, cheats consumers, steal jobs and harms our global social economy," stated Jason Buratti, General Counsel and Vice President of Business Affairs at Zumba. "Like counterfeiters, unlicensed instructors and entities make unlawful use of our intellectual property rights and usually know what they're doing. Zumba works hard to protect our licensed instructors and consumers from these bad actors. Zumba's intensified anti-counterfeiting efforts have achieved a substantial increase in compliance with our efforts to educate those who unfairly and illegally usurp our licensee's teaching opportunities. We're very pleased with the results of the program so far. But it's just the beginning."
Zumba reports hundreds of ongoing investigations in dozens of countries around the globe and filed six new lawsuits in the U.S., including one naming an unlicensed instructor as defendant. The company anticipates filing additional lawsuits and conducting more criminal and civil investigations in Europe, APAC and North and South America this year.
Zumba joined the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy's campaign supporting legislation to extend the Protecting IP Act to address rogue websites that copy and sell counterfeit products. The legislation would provide U.S. intellectual property rights holders and law enforcement officials with better tools to combat rouge websites. Mr. Buratti recently participated in congressional briefings and meetings on Capitol Hill regarding the rogue websites bill, accompanied by industry representatives and U.S. rights holders, including Chanel, Eli Lilly, Tiffany & Co., Liz Claiborne, Inc., MPAA, RIAA, DGA, AFTRA and AFM representatives.
"Rogue websites and counterfeit goods steal significant job opportunities that Zumba brand fitness programs and products create all over the world and endanger the health and welfare of our consumers," added Mr. Buratti. "Zumba designs its consumer products to give the joy of a Zumba® fitness-party to those that might not otherwise experience a live class. This joy drives consumers to live classes, leading to happier, healthier lifestyles for many and creating more jobs for licensed Zumba instructors. Counterfeit products and rogue websites deprive everyone of these benefits. We need strong laws in place that protect the health and safety of consumers and the jobs of licensees from counterfeiters and pirates."
The Company engages in legal and legislative initiatives to protect Zumba's licensees and consumers everywhere. The company calls on Zumba enthusiasts to remain vigilant for any wrongdoing. Zumba is cooperating with federal and local law enforcement organizations on every continent and appreciates the public's help. Email concerns regarding counterfeiting or piracy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Zumba Fitness, LLC
Zumba Fitness is the largest dance-fitness company in the world known for the Zumba® program, a blend of contagious and easy-to-follow choreographies set to upbeat international rhythms. Coined the "fitness-party," Zumba® classes provide an effective total-body workout, which tone and sculpt while burning fat. In 2011, Zumba Fitness celebrates 10 years of changing lives as more than 12 million devotees attend weekly Zumba classes across 125 countries in 110,000 locations. In addition to the original Zumba program, there are now four specialty programs: the Zumba Gold® program, a modified version for active older adults; the Zumba® Toning program featuring lightweight, maraca-like Zumba® Toning Sticks; the Aqua Zumba® program, the ultimate "pool party" workout; and the Zumbatomic® program, kid-friendly Zumba routines. For at-home fitness, the brand offers the Zumba® Fitness Total Body Transformation DVD Set and the cutting-edge Zumba® Fitness Exhilarate™ DVD collection; both feature original Zumba® fitness music created by Grammy award-winning producers. In 2010, the Zumba® Fitness Video Game was released on multiple platforms. The brand also offers its colorful and expressive multiseasonal Zumbawear® collection. With every new project Zumba Fitness undertakes, the mission remains the same -- to make instructors successful. For more information or to find a live class, visit zumba.com and find us on Facebook and Twitter. For approved photography, email email@example.com.
SOURCE Zumba Fitness, LLC