There are four different types of counterfeit products: vanity fakes, overruns, condoned copies, and self-made copies. Vanity counterfeits of low perceived quality are products that are obviously not real, thus are not big problems. In many third-world countries, some may state that it is a basic human right to make a living in any way to survive. Designers could argue that “counterfeiting deprives them of their legitimate economic rights to benefit from their work and will harm society in the long term” where as counterfeiters are simply serving a market of consumers that cannot afford to purchase the real items. If a buyer knows that the product is fake, no real harm is done. The only person being deceived is the person who assumes that a fake buyer’s bag is the real thing. Overruns are the least offensive counterfeits with high quality and same details of an original product. These goods are very easily sold in local markets because of their realistic appearance. Many out-workers of developing countries see making profit through overruns as a right especially because of exploitation of local resources. Several sweatshops are still in existence in the clothing industry and the workers barely earn enough to survive. The comparison of the massive profits made by retailers and fashion houses versus the low wages of clothing workers gives favor to those who make small profits off of left over material. Condoned copies are copies that are approved by designers because of the benefits from publicity as well as the fact that their designs are ones that are “desirable and worth copying.” Self copies are when fashion houses create copies themselves. Some designers even franchise their names to others. By selling “seconds” or “factory rejects” one gives “credence to poorer quality counterfeits as they proclaim to be legitimate factory rejects.” In conclusion, arguments could be made to defend rights of designers or to justify counterfeiting.
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TAKEN FROM THE ARTICLE: Brian Hilton, Chong Ju Choi, Stephen Chen: “The Ethics of Counterfeiting in the Fashion Industry,” Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Dec., 2004), pp. 345-354.