Saturday, March 15, 2008

Piracy's Pestering Popularity

An exhibition in Brussels features a beautiful 1967 Ferrari P4 of which only three were ever made. Everything about it looks authentic, but open the hood and you'll find a Subaru engine installed in it. This car is a counterfeit vehicle made in Thailand, one of countless items of pirated goods that now flood the global market, and are brazenly sold in commercial quantities in urban and suburban outlets. Years ago, such items were sold clandestinely in secret locations accessed only by word of mouth. Today, these are competing and succeeding against their original progenitor.

All sorts of items are cloned and none are spared, from electronics, garments, DVD's, wines and liquors, cigarettes, wrist watches and anything branded that is widely patronized by consumers. The most dangerous of these are the fake medicines and food that could put the consumers health and life at risk. Decades ago, fakes were limited to art work, jewelry of historical significance, which were sold to private collectors hoodwinked into the purchase for a fortune. These collectors could not openly complain since it would open their reputations to ridicule. Plagiarism is also a form of piracy, as with fake biographies of famous or infamous people that were painstakingly pieced with old paper and ink. Counterfeit currency is also a favorite among the underworld's talented artists.

There are those who are totally unaware that they are buying fake products. However, there are many who patronize such clones for varied reasons. One, the original creator is overpricing its products making volumes of profit, patronizing the clone is a way of getting even. Two, the budget hunter who feels he has won over those who bought the more pricey original where he has obtained his item at a much lower price. Three, those who don't care about violating the law as long as their need is satisfied. Four, those who want to project a status but do not have sufficient funds to sustain it. The worse part is that these patrons lead themselves to believe that the clones are as good as the original. Those who warn the public of the proliferation of fakes eventually see their sales decline, because buyers of original items are afraid that the product they used to buy could be counterfeit.

The popularity of pirated goods is largely due to price. Consumers who patronize clones question the value of the genuine items, and wonder why the fakes can be bought at less than half the price for almost equal quality and craftsmanship. Most consumers would not be able to comprehend the costs of research, development, testing, quality control, branding, marketing, and warranties. To them, it's the function, the comfort, and the price. Manufacturers and designers have tremendous tasks ahead in terms of educating the global market's perceptions regarding the concepts of corporate accountability and responsibility.

Meanwhile, billions of dollars are lost to pirates every day, putting jobs at risk and people's careers in jeopardy. In the future, it may be wise for global manufacturers and marketers to clone their own products, in order to beat the counterfeiters at their own game. That would level the playing field. In the end however, it's not really what brand is worn or used and whether it's an original or a fake, but how the user looks in it. For many, genuine or clone, they force its use on themselves even if they look so utterly disgusting and ridiculous.

Haaarrrrwwwwk... Twoooooph...Ting!


Anonymous said...

Obviously, what you cite as the 4 reasons why fake items are patronized is a need that must be satisfied. manufacturers must address this need, otherwise, the counterfeiters will.

Zhu said...

Not sure what to think... While it's obviously very dangerous to take counterfeit medicines, I don't feel the same about counterfeit clothes of fashion products.

Fake stuffs are everywhere in Asia... and most people wouldn't buy the real think, which costs probably ten years of wages (including me!). So why not letting them alone... Don't punish at least.

Tapline said...

This is as old as, I don't know....years ago when i was in the Middle East. Rolex's were the going item. China made many items also....stay well....

jc smith said...

Hi Durano! This article reminds me of the craziest blog in our country today, the one written by an Aussie. I read in one of the comments that there's this fashion diva who got deported from France for bringing in a fake Louie Vitton bag. Can be so embarrassing, especially if you don't know that you're lugging a fake.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Anonymous,

I don't know if you're the same person that keeps popping out in my comment box, but Welcome!

I agree with you, especially on the food and medicines, more with medicines. If the pharmaceutical companies are really there for humanitarian reasons, which they are not of course, they should lower prices. Looking at their ads, these people are posturing as mankind's savior from diseases - but I suspect they also invent ailments to continue their greedy and profitably despicable ways. :-)--Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hello Zhu,

I know you're still in France. Good thing you have a home there and need not rent.

As far as films and fashion items and clothes are concerned, I'm with you there. It's the food and medicines I'm more concerned with. I don't think anyone would knowingly buy fake medicines that would kill and not cure. Well, technically, if death is the result, there is no more patient, but that is such a horrible thing!

Pharmaceuticals ought to curb these fake drugs, they have lots of profit anyway. Also to avoid clones in their products, they should price these much lower. --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Tapline,

You're busy on my site, thanks!

China is known as the foremost counterfeiter in the world. Well HongKong and Thailand for a time, but China's vast manufacturing capability can out-produce the original manufacturer.

This has been going on for a time, I agree. Before, fake Levi's were being sold in Ho Chi Minh City for 150 dollars because they really loved it there. When I was in Vietnam in the 90's, fake Cartiers watches were sold in Hanoi supposedly taken from dead French soldiers. It's a crazy world! :-)--Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi JC,

Yes, there are strict guidelines in the US and Europe about fake items, and if you're caught with any, you have violated the law and are deported outright.

Good for that fashion diva to get deported. Are you sure she didn't know about it? :-) In Hong Kong, there are fake items tagged A-1 or top of the line, looks original. But I wouldn't be caught in one when going abroad. Thanks for the visit. :-)--Durano, done!