Law Proposing Jail Time For Buying Knock-Offs Could Pass

Law Proposing Jail Time For Buying Knock-Offs Could Pass

AP080226021006Photo: AP Images


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?


-Danielle Kwateng

  • Godzilla Jr.

    Hard to curve? I think you mean curb…

  • OneAdam12

    Wow! I ponder if it would detour people.

  • mahogany74

    I think it is unfair because some counterfeit items are so well done that it is hard to tell the real from the fake.

    On the other hand, I can see it from the designer’s point of view. People pay big bucks for a brand because it has meaning. They like the product and the fact that it sets them apart from everyone else. If the market is diluted with counterfeits, the product and the name lose meaning which will eventually lead to loss in profits.

  • Mrs.Mimi

    I always go to Coach Factory to buy my purses as well as go to the Micheal Kors outlet where I live and they always have great purses on sale. The cheapest Coach I ever bought was a patent leather Antique Gold bag for $60. I never understood why people buy fakes and try to fool you with it. I own a Louis Vuitton and last Saturday, I purchased a vintage Gucci leather handbag for $125 but bought them all at upscale consignment shops or ebay. There is even a pawnshop in my area that sells authentic Gucci, LV purses, shoes that customers have pawned but the prices aren’t reasonable. I would never spend thousands on one purse but I refuse to buy a fake.

  • Outstandingworldcititzen

    No big sodas and No knock offs. Let me be clear. I am a Brooklynite born and raised. Canal St. is the place for fake goods. Do I own any? No. I just do no care about a purse that is half of a mortgage or rent fee. However for those who love a label more power to you.

    Those fake goods are vital to the community. I love how these big designers exploit folks overseas and want to cry foul when people buy knockoffs. PUHLEEEEZE. Little Lord Fauntleroy aka Bloomberg can afford Lou Boutains, Jimmy Choos, Coach bags (for him or his beard) etc. This is yet another fight he will lose. I can not wait till this arse hole/nanny mayor goes back to Boston.

    • HeavenAF

      Please educate yourself on knock off goods before you go spewing. Since when is supporting child labor, terrorist organizations, and crime ok?

    • Ray C

      Vital to the community? I can understand selling knock off brands, but if you can’t survive without pirating or passing off something as something it’s not, there is a problem. That’s like saying a community can’t survive without those guys going around sellling CDs and DVDs.

  • pashunfruit

    I dont think the ppl buying it should be punished, definitely the sellers…..I’m very much into fashion & I know I paid full price for a bag & this next woman has a fake rocking it w/ confidence like its real??? Oh no!!!



    • HeavenAF

      what you SHOULD care about is the hands of the poor child who was forced to produce your cheap crappy handbag, and the criminal organizations you supported. Cheap handbag for a cheap lady.

  • SMH, does anyone else see why our country is as jacked up as it is? The country puts too much time & effort into the wrong $hit. Even if they do pass this law what does this really mean for this country? Not a damn thing because all of the jobs are still over seas

    • randomtandem

      they care more about money than human lives! knock off purses are taking money out of these rich peoples pockets! when someone gets murdered that’s just one less person to have to worry about. when someone gets raped they don’t give 2 shyts! half the time the rapist gets away with it! but GOD FORBID you drink a large soda while buying a knock off purse! there will be hell to pay!

    • Ray C

      I agree with you. We spend too much time worrying about the wrong things. Just like police spend too much time focusing on things that are not punishable by jail time than actual crimes. That being said, I have to agree with the people who think the whole knock off economy is such a great thing

  • randomtandem

    they need to get their priorities straight and worry about real issues! people are out there getting raped and murdered and theyre putting people in jail who buy knock off purses. this country/city is going to hell in a handbasket. these so called officials need to get a damn life!
    theyre always looking for the easy way out! trying to distract people from the real issues and drawing unnecessary attention to nonsense! like the jails aren’t full enough! now your grandmother is gonna be in there for buying a fake Chanel bag! wtf!?

  • randomtandem

    glad I don’t give a crap about name brand purses real or knock off. honestly if I had a real one I would sell it! id rather have the cash. I find that paying thousands of dollars for a purse is a waste of money. people need to get their priorities straight! this society is full of shyt!

  • lilmissmatched

    How about we focus on the laws banning the SALE of knock-off’s first? This sounds like we’re working backwards….

StyleBlazer is a fashion and beauty website dedicated to edgy, progressive, chic and globally-minded women. Topics covered on StyleBlazer include street style, trends, expert beauty advice, and industry news.