If you’ve ever spent time in NYC’s Chinatown, you’d know that the counterfeit business is alive and well. From purses to hats, jewelry and other accessories, people from all over come to get designer-looking goods for the cheap, cheap.
What seems like a harmless pilgrimage, may now be punishable by fine or jail time if New York, councilwoman Margaret Chin gets her way. Originally proposed in 2011, shoppers caught purchasing bootleg goods would be fined up to $1,000 or face one year in jail if the law goes through.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not illegal to buy counterfeit goods but it is illegal to produce and distribute merchandise that carries an unauthorized logo or somehow alters the logo or trademark of a company.
And while France and Italy has similar laws in place, the enormous production and demand for the goods in the States has made it very hard to curve.
“As long as some consumers consider fakes fashionable, counterfeiters will make them available,” Susan Scafidi, director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University School of Law told WWD. “A $25 designer handbag can sound like a steal, but add in a $1,000 fine and the bargain becomes a bust. And while the adventure of buying a fake from an unmarked van or secret back room is an attraction for some tourists, no one wants to spend her vacation at the police station. Kudos to the councilwoman for trying once again to dredge Canal Street.”
Do you think this proposed law is too harsh?