CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research

Multimedia

En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Can Someone Explain to the NYT the Difference Between Counterfeits and Unauthorized Copies?

Can Someone Explain to the NYT the Difference Between Counterfeits and Unauthorized Copies?

Print
Tuesday, 19 July 2011 05:00

This is really getting painful. The NYT has an article reporting that many Chinese consumers were outraged when they discovered that the expensive DaVinci furniture they had purchased was actually produced at "a ramshackle factory in southern China."

It then tells readers:

"Maybe more significant, the scandal indicates that even in China — where consumers have long been willing to turn a blind eye to pirated DVDs and Gucci knockoffs — there are boundaries that no counterfeiter should breach. Not if the fakes are priced as high as the real thing."

There is a very simple point here that the paper is missing. When people buy unauthorized copies that sell for a fraction of the brand version, they know that they are not getting the brand version. The deal if beneficial to both the seller and the buyer. This is why it is very difficult for the government to crack down on sales of unauthorized copies of merchandise. Both parties to the deal are happy with it.

On the other hand, a counterfeit involves deceiving the buyer, as seems to be the case with the sale of DaVinci furniture. People thought that they were getting something that they did not in fact get. In this case, the consumer is an ally, since the consumer has been ripped by the counterfeiter.

The distinction between sales of unauthorized copies and counterfeiting is very clear and very fundamental. The NYT should be able to get it right.

Comments (2)Add Comment
Unauthorized Copies, Counterfeits and Conspicuous Consumption
written by izzatzo, July 19, 2011 10:12
"...consumers have long been willing to turn a blind eye to pirated DVDs and Gucci knockoffs — there are boundaries that no counterfeiter should breach. Not if the fakes are priced as high as the real thing."


A pirated DVD as an unauthorized copy can be imperceptably identical to the original version while a counterfeit version of a Gucci product will not likely be an identical copy due to physical limitations that prevent exact duplication.

A counterfeit DVD produced from scratch analog sources is physically far less likely or impossible to be duplicated from the original than counterfeit DaVinci furniture.

If the DaVinci furniture was revealed as a fake despite being an exact physical copy and the consumers were still outraged, the only reason would be the publicly defaced value of the brand and price paid as perceived by others since no one otherwise could discern a difference between the 'counterfeit copy' and an 'original' version.

Consumers may be an 'ally' for 'counterfeit copies' as well as unauthorized copies of originals depending on how they value the perception of others when 'getting what they pay for.'

If the new owners of the fake DaVinci furniture were the only ones besides the makers who knew it was fake and both knew it was physically identical to the original, then paying full price would make no difference in terms of displaying to others its perceived brand value - in contrast to a pirated DVD exact copy which presumably has no brand display value which lowers the price willing to be paid.
Counterfeits
written by Jeff Z, July 19, 2011 4:44
An unauthorized copy of "Star Wars" would simply be that. The actoers are the same, the soundtrack is the same, etc.

A (poor) counterfeit would be "Star Wars" starring Hark Mamil, Sir Glec Auiness, Farrie Cisher, and Farrison Hord. The soundtrack would be performed by Bill's Tuba Orchestra.

Not that Hard!

Write comment

(Only one link allowed per comment)

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.

busy
 

CEPR.net
Support this blog, donate
Combined Federal Campaign #79613

About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

Archives