Counterfeit Culture

Thursday, July 17, 2008

You’ve seen them down on Canal Street, but do you know how they got here? Counterfeit goods are everywhere, but who’s behind the fake goods industry? Dana Thomas, European Editor of Portfolio and author of Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster, and Susan Scafidi, author of the blog and visiting professor at Fordham Law School, join us to talk about the business and law of counterfeits both here in New York City and online.


Susan Scafidi and Dana Thomas

Comments [25]

Ben from Brooklyn

I was amazed that Andrea Bernstein (normally way to the left of me) didn't mention the one obvious but unstated point -- who are we working for when we fight counterfiets?

Of course the woman from Portfolio magazine (with luxury advertisers) and the Luxury companies themselves complain. But I've *never* heard a single New Yorker grumpy about these goods. And I've heard a HUNDRED tourists and Europeans complain they cannot go to Canal St. and easily buy Polex watches anymore.

So clearly the counterfeit goods HELP the NY economy by bringing in tourists. And they HURT companies like LMVH, which I'm guessing are headquartered in the Cayman Islands. So why are we spending our money to protect foreign companies?


Jul. 22 2008 11:32 AM
herb e

The answer is yes. Do you suggest that we do nothing; Support terrorism. Where do you draw the line?

Jul. 17 2008 12:36 PM
tractor guy from Hackensack, NJ

So Herb,

If someone drives a gas guzzler over a fuel efficient vehicle, should they feel more guilty for supporting terrorism more because they have to buy more gas?

Jul. 17 2008 12:25 PM
herb e

Counterfeit Culture - My throughly unscientific survey discloses that people do not want to believe that buying knock offs funds terrorism. are we sooooo greedy?

A segment or even better a campaign to get the word out would be a great public service; may even save lives. After all they want to kill us. Brian you can name the "they".

Jul. 17 2008 11:55 AM
hjs from 11211

how can we stop the terrorists from entering the country if we can't stop these purses

Jul. 17 2008 11:48 AM
RosieNYC from NYC

I do not get it why we spent so much money and time pursuing the buyers. Luxury counterfeit consumers are not taking their business away from the real manufacturers at all. If you are rich enough or self-centered enough as to spend 4K in a handbag, you will buy the real thing regardless of how cheap fake ones are.

Go after the manufacturers and sellers, including the government of the country where the great majority of all these, not only counterfeit, but tainted goods are coming from and why they seem to be incapable of enforcing any kind of quality control or copyright laws.

Jul. 17 2008 11:41 AM

Let's just put all soccer moms from NJ in jail to be on the safe side. After all, Gucci really needs the money.

Jul. 17 2008 11:30 AM

Frankly, I could care less if counterfeiters put every fashion designer in the world out of business. Who cares? This segment on counterfeit fashion is just fluff.

Can we have a segment on something more important like drug counterfeiting which actually harms real people?

Jul. 17 2008 11:28 AM
Jen from NYC

Well put, Turbo.

Jul. 17 2008 11:28 AM
Jen from NYC

I don't understand the problem with buying/selling knock offs. Luxury goods are overpriced anyway. Arrest people who buy knock offs? Ridiculous. I think there are more serious black market problems we could spend time worrying about... prostitution or the drug trade perhaps.

Jul. 17 2008 11:25 AM
O from Forest Hills

If you pay me a living wage, I won't buy counterfeits, otherwise, all fair in love and war.

Jul. 17 2008 11:24 AM
Sarah from Bklyn

The soccer moms from NJ is probably not the one buying these stuff--why blame her?

It's a huge tourist attraction; and until any news came out about this, all consumers could gather is that it's like a generic version of something in a drug store or grocery store.

What about the goods sold on Canal that don't have a designer name, are those counterfeit?

It should be stopped, but not by putting a soccer mom in jail. That is extreme. Start by legislating putting up signs on Canal saying this is counterfeit and used to fund terrorists.

Jul. 17 2008 11:22 AM
Turbo from Brooklyn, NY

If someone can make something for $10 that is almost indistinguishable from the $1000 original, then I feel obliged to buy the $10 version on principle.
What we should be clamping down on is people buying $1000 purses.

Jul. 17 2008 11:21 AM
bas from brooklyn

The LV on Louis Vuitton was an example originally- they made bags that you would get your initials printed on-
( they still offer this service) but now the consumer is so set upon taking this as a brand that provides you with an identity - the original idea of individualism is not in demand anymore.

There is a bit of irony with LV-
the bags and wallets are often made with ( high quality ) plastic. The cost of producing is minute compared to the sale price.

Still- I am against counterfitting.China should start enforcing copyright and intellectual property laws.
If people want to buy the stuff- go ahead.

Jul. 17 2008 11:21 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

I was just in Brazil where 9 out of every 10 video games sold are pirated. The result is that there's no incentive for the game companies to sell their game systems (which they make little money on and sometimes lose money on). The result is that a PlayStation 3 in Brazil costs over $2,000. A Nintendo Wii is over $900. And that's in US dollars. Not in the Brazilian real.

Jul. 17 2008 11:21 AM
PT from NYC

The fashion companies do not come to this with clean hands. My wife had a handbag company and at least twice a year her designs, already on the market in the major stores (Bergdorfs, Saks, etc), were plainly visible, if not complete knock-offs. These are the large brand companies that do this. They should clean up their own act first!

Jul. 17 2008 11:21 AM
Peter Joseph from Brooklyn

Don't your guests think that trademarking creates a monopoly license?

Jul. 17 2008 11:20 AM
chris o from new york city

Luxury goods are counterfeit by definition. Your mind is deceived into thinking the product enhances your status.

Jul. 17 2008 11:19 AM
tractor guy from Hackensack, NJ

Counterfeit products support terrorism? So does gasoline. I bet gas funds terrorism even more then counterfeit products. Should we outlaw gasoline?

Jul. 17 2008 11:18 AM
JG from NYC

Bust the buyers? It's worked wonders in stemming the drug trade, eh?

Jul. 17 2008 11:17 AM
Robert from NYC

You might want to specify that the products from Italy are from the increasingly growing immigrant Chinese community in Italy, Milan in particular. If you watch RAI TV nightly you will see numerous stories about this. It's a huge problem in Italy and there are almost nightly raids on the counterfeiters.

Jul. 17 2008 11:15 AM
bk from nyc

I live at walker & church & I just noticed this week that the sellers aren't going into the anonymous warehouse buildings with the tourists they snag on canal st. they now have anonymous vans on church where the the wares are kept.

Jul. 17 2008 11:12 AM
Seth from Astoria

So they close stores, but what about the 100s of tables on street corners, out in the open. These people aren't going up stairs in back alleys, they are right there to be seen by all. Why are they able to exist?

Jul. 17 2008 11:10 AM
Peter from Brooklyn

Anti-counterfeit efforts a huge waste of taxpayer money. Counterfeit luxury goods dont drop the luxury goods market. Luxury goods are status symbols, and people who want the status buy the symbol, not the knock off. If anything they raise the status of the items. Its not like a movie where people loos royalties.

Jul. 17 2008 11:05 AM
paul peacock from new york city

i love counterfit chic! i tried to get to amazon to see dana's book but i couldn't so ...

... i think /counterfeit/ means /a copy of something that someone attempts to pass of as an original and so gain money that they shouldn't by doing so/.

using my definition - the interesting part, to me, is /they shouldn't/. who determines that? not me, that's for sure.

Jul. 17 2008 10:34 AM

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