Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Legally Speaking

Today, a post on law, since it's my lawyer Husband's birthday (happy 28th!) January's Harper's Bazaar breaks the usual monotony of winter fashion magazine issues. In addition to bountiful photos from London's fashion week, there is an update on the ongoing fight against counterfeiting, which Harper's valiantly supports.

But how far is too far in the fight? New methods to counteract fakes include the attachment of 'microscopic nanoparticles' and 'genetic material' which will form a unique signature (akin to DNA for purses). Don't ask me the logistics of this new tactic, but I watch enough Law and Order and CSI to know that's some heavy duty science, probably better suited for murder than fashion. The type of enforcement I can get behind is the increase in 3rd party civil suits (suing those who enable counterfeiting, as in real estate lessors, material vendors, etc). I mean, if it were up to me I'd start making citizen arrests of the misguided folks toting putrid impostor bags around town, thinking they were fooling anyone besides themselves.

A lot of fashion critics (as in those who are critical of the fashion industry, not those who critique constructively) feel the anti-counterfeit movement is fueled solely by a group of upper class prunes who are more concerned with chilling the less wealthy from infiltrating the force-fields around their social cast than they are with terminating child labor and terrorism. Some stifling stats might dissuade them. IP theft is a $600 billion a year global industry, costing legitimate U.S. businesses $250 billion annually, and costing 750,000 American jobs each year, according to the report in Harper's. And it can be not only dangerous for your style to be caught with a fake, but a threat to your health as well (reports after raids include finding bacteria and other noxious ingredients in bottles of fake perfume, such as urine. Ew.)

Though there may be some clout to the argument that many fear the lower class appearing as if they are members of the designer bag club when they in fact are not, I can't believe an entire movement is founded on such arrogant (and haughty) grounds. The true motive behind the anti-counterfeit front is probably a hybrid of self interest, elitism, and global well being. But regardless of one's intentions, IP theft is a federal crime, a crime against fashion, and a venture in self-degradation. Stay away from the fake.


  1. I read that article in Harpers, interesting stuff.

  2. That is very interesting. Good to know.


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