The International Trademark Association, a group of major fashion and consumer product brands, launched an anticounterfeiting campaign to raise awareness among teens about the detrimental effects that counterfeits have on the global economy and on brand owners, as well as the potential dangers to consumers’ health.
WWD reported that the INTA’s new campaign, dubbed “Unreal,” emphasizes how social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, could be used to reach a target audience of 14- to 18-year-olds.
Because counterfeit items are readily available in many parts of the country, it is not surprising that teenagers buy them without realizing the economic and social consequences of their purchases. It is doubtful that a teenage girl has child labor or trademark infringement on her mind when she rummages through the fake Fendi wallets on Canal street in Manhattan or illegally downloads a song on the Internet.
“These are folks that are obviously the next generation of purchasers,” said INTA President Gregg Marazzo of Estee Lauder. “Even now they have significant purchasing power.” The goal of INTA’s Unreal campaign is to educate teens about the low quality and unreliability of counterfeits while also emphasizing the harmful social effects, including child labor, organized crime, and negative health impacts.
Alan Drewsen, executive director of INTA, said, “It is our hope that this information will influence their decision the next time they are approached by a site or vendor selling counterfeit goods.”
Being the proud owner of a knockoff Chanel classic flag bag might seem innocent enough (and cause temporary delusions of wealth and relevance), but that small, synthetic object is a powerful symbol of the many counterfeit consumer products that sabotage designers and rob people of jobs around the world. As previously noted by Ella Brodskaya and Melissa Morales, representatives from the United States and seven other countries signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on October 1, 2011.
Not far from New York Law School, where CaseClothesed is based, Canal Street and its large array of counterfeits loom. A topic debate among New York woman is whether anyone should buy fake goods and tarnish a brand as well as their own reputation.
Yesterday, the New York Post noted that woman also debate whether anyone who buys counterfeits on Canal Street should receive a $1,000 fine.
The story quoted young women who believed that its okay to sell bags that are fake as long as they are not selling real bags illegally. This belief is the root of all copyright infringement problems. The problem with selling fake goods using a brands goodwill, design, and name is plentiful. If the bag is ugly or poorly fashioned, people will now associate it with that brand. In addition, the brand loses valuable revenue stream.
Councilwoman Margaret Chin proposed the fine and jail term of up to one year and defended her bill. She doesn’t believe the bill is too harsh, the fine and jail time are deserving of the crime.
Fordham Law Professor Susan Scafidi said that if this bill passes, it would put the be similar to other countries like France and Italy, where buyers of counterfeits can be fined up to $1,500. She rejected the idea that people would stop visiting New York as a result of the fine.
Take a look at this study article by the Economist regarding designer brands and counterfeit labels. While it comes as no surprise that more and more people do not care about the authenticity of their counterfeited products, the economist discusses the fact that knock-offs are not always thought of as inferior. This is because the label is what people consider so superior. So if the label is just attached to any other product, they do not care if the product is a fake, so long as people see that they have the label. Due to the fact that while the product may be believed to be high in value, the name is what brings in the real money. This is highly transferable. While it is not true that everyone shares this sentiment and that many actually care about the genuine product and label, there are plenty of people who merely care about the projection of the label and what people see. For example, while many enjoy for the flavor of Starbucks coffee, the study shows that the same trademark attached to a lesser quality coffee will do well also. A simple taste test to prove this point would prove that people care about portraying the coffee they are drinking than the genuineness of the product. Of course, none of this is news, but the article discusses all of this very clearly.
As I was watching T.V last night, I came across the show Bones. I have been missing “Buffy” so I decided to keep watching after seeing David Boreanaz. Turns out the episode (which you can watch in full), entitled “The Body in The Bag,” is all about counterfeit handbags!
I was talking to my friend the other day and she invited me to a “purse party.” I asked her what a “purse party” is, and she told me her friend has people come to her house and she displays and takes orders for “high-end designer knockoffs.” To me this sounds like a contradiction in itself. How can something be high-end and a knockoff at the same time? I have seen some good knockoff on Canal street but nothing I would call “high-end.” I figured this idea of a “purse party” was the equivalent of Canal street coming to your living room. I was left wondering if these “purse parties” are legal and if there is any sources out there?
The NY Post reported on Monday that there has been a 34% increase in the number of counterfeit goods busts in the area covered by the 1st Precinct (downtown Manhattan) compared to the same time period last year.
Way to go, NYPD!
I was wandering to work this morning and saw the front page of the local rag, the Tribeca Trib, which had the photo shown at right. The slug read “One Woman’s Canal Street Campaign.” I figured it was going to be the usual tirade against knockoff handbags, the kind of thing that you can read in the comment section of any of the usual fashion blogs (“I think women who buy knockoffs should be chained to the back of a pickup truck and driven at speed down Canal Street…”, “I think the $#@&-ey $%$##s who buy these bags should be impaled on a stake and then set on fire by the brand enforcement agents of …” etc etc).
It turns out that Natalia Youssef’s campaign against the Canal St bag sellers is more nuanced than that, and provides a kind of lesson in the harms associated with the sale of knockoffs.
It may be a little bit difficult for a layperson to imagine how a $10 knockoff on Canal Street or a $100 bag with a similar print will steal customers away from a famous brand like Gucci or Prada (although it is arguable that this does harm). But, what about a young jewelry designer that sells her creations for between $50 and $100, and just as she begins to receive recognition, American Eagle Outfitters introduces an almost identical bracelet in its hundreds of chain stores across the U.S. for $12.50?
Fashionknockoffs.com’s disclaimer describes what a knockoff is best: “we do not claim our products to be original nor do we represent that they are exact copies.” They are fake and you know it. However the word counterfeit and counterfeit products are a little different. Counterfeit refers to the trademark or trade dress being reproduced without authorization from the mark holder and are then passed off as the real thing.
Everyone knows that warm feeling you get when you throw that famous designer plaid scarf around your neck or toss those undeniable LV’s over your shoulder. But what about the muddled feeling you get when the plaid is just a little off in pattern or the LV’s aren’t LV’s but VL’s?