Sunday, January 3, 2010

The counterfeiters

In November, Today Tonight looked at the spate of blatant copies in the Australian mid market footwear sector. Last month, I developed a story about actual luxury brand counterfeits. It went to air on Christmas Eve, the fruit of several weeks shooting, first at Penrith market, including hidden camera footage, and then a police raid at Allambie Heights. We tagged along as police descended on one private house that was filled with counterfeit goods, including designer handbags and, alarmingly, fake prestige brand cosmetics. The figures quoted come from the International Anti Counterfeiting Coalition and also Australian Customs. Luxury counterfeits would definitely appear to be on the rise. According to Customs, the number of seizures was down by two thirds in the 08-09 financial year, but the volume of merchandise seized had doubled on 07-08. Reporter Laura Sparkes voiced the story. Hope to follow it up.


WARREN said...

amazing article! in New York City, the main counterfeit area is Chinatown. its insane!

The Style Hive said...

I've been looking forward to this vid. Thanks for sharing! I hope they catch the people responsible for circulating faux Longchamps in Sydney. Every Tom, Dick and Harry seemed to have a Longchamp.

Shardette said...

Such an interesting story Patty. Something has to be done.

The Kettle and the Pot said...

Well, fair enough about rounding up and charging these counterfeiting crooks but I laughed when I heard Ken Taylor say: "the conterfeiters don't give a damn about the public, they only care about the money they're gong to make out of it!"
..yeh, right... unlike those wonderfully charitable fashion houses...
and to say that using acetone in fragrance is "extremely dangerous" is just sensationalist bullshit ..yeh, sure,... we hear of nail varnish related deaths all the time...

Pretentious moi said...

I don't care for those loudly labelled "look at me!!" products anyway. I tend to stereotype the personalities of those who wear them whether they're "real" or otherwise.
I don't mind spending money to drive a quality car or live in a nice house but I trust and hope I never fork out on a product just so i can show off a label.
Wearing sunglasses that plaster "D&G" or "Dior" etc.. to the sides of your head is what the Lara Bingles of this world do.

Patty Huntington said...

kettle, pot -

you don’t hear my question before taylor’s answer “it’s very dangerous”, but FYI the question in the original interview went something like this:

“i saw SPF labels on products in the allambie heights haul. isn’t it dangerous to be putting this stuff on your skin, on your eyes etc not having any idea where it came from?”

taylor’s answer was a general response to the question about the safety of the counterfeit cosmetics. then he segued into the acetone issue. he's a PI however, not a scientist. that's his opinion.

sadly I don’t have the time to prepare a research paper on the use of acetone in the beauty business, but here’s a link to some information about it being passed in europe for use in not only personal care products such as nail polish remover but in fact even some cosmetics (eg some perfumes).

over-the-counter cosmetics in europe, australia etc are strictly regulated. but noone has a clue about the provenance of the counterfeit cosmetics, their ingredients and the quantities of the ingredients used, because of course it’s all off the back of a truck.

you suggest acetone is harmless. thanks for providing some sources on that.

meanwhile, here is some acetone info from the US library of medicine:

“exposure to high levels of acetone can cause death, coma, unconsciousness, seizures, and respiratory distress. it can damage your kidneys and the skin in your mouth. 

breathing moderate-to-high levels of acetone for short periods of time can cause nose, throat, lung, and eye irritation. it can also cause intoxication, headaches, fatigue, stupor, light-headedness, dizziness, confusion, increased pulse rate, nausea, vomiting, and shortening of the menstrual cycle in women. 

breathing highly concentrated acetone vapors can irritate the respiratory tract, and burn your eyes. skin contact with acetone can irritate or damage your skin. 

exposure to acetone can also cause low blood pressure, bronchial irritation, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, and an increased need to urinate”. 

Anonymous said...

Patty where was the "hidden camera" located exactly? Did the guy know he was being filmed when you were interviewing him in the markets? He didn't seem to like being filmed when he asked you to stop - was that before or after he blabbed about having the papers to prove his fakes were kosher? Very interesting story.

Patty Huntington said...

anon -

the hidden camera footage was most of the generic market stand vision, showing various products in detail. there were many market stands selling fakes - in full public view, with hundreds of people milling around - and the footage was shot in numerous places. you can usually tell hidden camera footage by the quality of the vision. they tend to be small cameras, with small lenses.

we later walked back to a couple of stands with an above-the-shoulder camera - ie fully visible - and clearly identified ourselves as being from seven's today tonight. i explained we were doing a story about counterfeit luxury goods. these were the three exchanges at the beginning of the story in which peoples' faces are identified.

Alyx said...

It's really good that you mentioned the conditions fakes are made in in your piece. I've never understood why the arguments the public is given against fakes always start with "it's illegal" as if consumers care about a big company's intellectual property rights. If discussion about fakes was framed more around "it's impossible to hold the manufacturers accountable, so your pretend LV bag was probably made by a half-blind child under conditions not fit for a pot-plant to live in, let alone a person" people might make more of an effort to stop the trade. In every article I've seen that does mention it, it always seems to be as a footnote, when it should be the opening argument. The only reason why people think fakes are OK is because they don't really care about hurting big luxury companies (and I can see their point).

A Colourful Guy Drowning said...

Thanks for posting this Patty. And, belated Happy Holidays! :)

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