Want to get ahead of pirates and knock-offs? Here’s how.

Ever had someone rip off your work? Your merchandise, or even just your idea? It happens every single day and most people react predictably: get angry, maybe try to stop them, and eventually realize that even if you stop them, another one will come along. Well, Rovio’s Peter Versterbacka does just the opposite: he pirates the piraters.

Rovio is the company that makes the wildly-popular Angry Birds game, and they’ve sold more then 30-million copies of the 99 cent game and have a huge cult-like following. As such, their fans buy a lot of merchandise. You can even find their stuffed “Angry” birds in Wal Mart these days.

As with any wildly-popular item like these, there are a lot of knock-offs and unlicensed dealers. A lot. At the recent TechCrunch Disrupt conference in Beijing, Versterbacka discussed his habit of stealing from the pirates. He will find a store finding pirated merchandise, find the best stuff, and take it back to his team.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. And then make them work for you.

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