August 30, 2007

Amping Up The Rhetoric [8:05 am]

How long before we get told “You’re either with us on supporting copyrights for fashion, or you’re with the terrorists?” (Note: This NYTimes OpEd contributor does *not* make that connection, asking us to rely on the “Culture” leg of Larry’s New Chicago School map of control. But I am confident that copyright maximalists are going to make the connection.) Terror’s Purse Strings

At least 11 percent of the world’s clothing is fake, according to 2000 figures from the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group in Paris. Fashion is easy to copy: counterfeiters buy the real items, take them apart, scan the pieces to make patterns and produce almost-perfect fakes.

Most people think that buying an imitation handbag or wallet is harmless, a victimless crime. But the counterfeiting rackets are run by crime syndicates that also deal in narcotics, weapons, child prostitution, human trafficking and terrorism. Ronald K. Noble, the secretary general of Interpol, told the House of Representatives Committee on International Relations that profits from the sale of counterfeit goods have gone to groups associated with Hezbollah, the Shiite terrorist group, paramilitary organizations in Northern Ireland and FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Sales of counterfeit T-shirts may have helped finance the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, according to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. “Profits from counterfeiting are one of the three main sources of income supporting international terrorism,” said Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland.

The article goes on to recount all sorts of crimes that are committed by those who make fakes; that’s where the enforcement belongs, not on criminalizing the creation of fakes. All that’s going to do is add the buying of fakes to the downloading of music, breaking the speed limit, etc. — further degrading the status and the role of the law in modern society.

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