Counterfeit article

The Times has something that purports, perhaps misleadingly, to be a story with the angle that counterfeit goods are being used to fund Al Qaeda.

Author Jon Ungoed-Thomas has mostly reproduced bullshit talking points from the luxury goods firms (e.g. ‘Arab counterfeiters might give money to Muslim charities, which might fund terrorists’), instead of actually investigating whether there’s any evidence that counterfeit goods are, err, being used to fund Al Qaeda.

Intellectual property-related industries have trouble arguing for tighter controls on and enforcement against copying. The reason they have trouble is that virtually nobody in their right mind actually believes copying software or making fake luxury goods is wrong, unless you try and rip people off by selling them as genuine.

So how can you make people stop buying fake items? Simple. We all hate the terrorists – so put together three or four luxury goods PR men, an IP cop who really should know better (presumably he’s annoyed about having the most lame and pointless job in the entire police force), a heavily-deadlined journo who isn’t going to question them too much – and lo, you have a page of propaganda.

One of the IP people in the article does, tangentially, mention a sane argument against buying fakes: "people need to think about… the often appalling conditions in which these items are produced". Presumably the anti-counterfeiting brigade rejected this talking point partly because they think we’re all too sick to give a monkey’s about Third World suffering unless we think the darkies are going to come and kill us (which is pretty much the case), and partly because that might make us think about the luxury goods firms’ own contractors too.

(article via Eric)

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