Thursday, October 09, 2008

Cheating makes me mad

Probably the thing that makes me the most furious is cheating.

I work hard for my grades. Cheaters get theirs easy.
I work hard for my business. People who steal my original material and make money off it are cheating.
I pay my taxes. Cheaters wriggle out of theirs, yet they benefit from the things MY tax money paid for: schools, roads, and public services.

This makes me FURIOUS.

Buying items in a secret, locked room is cheating. Either those items are stolen, or they are "replicas" (aka Counterfeit). If they were legitimate, they would be sold in the open.

Let's say you then ask "Is this stolen?" What seller of illegal goods is going to say, "Oh, yes, ma'am, these are stolen goods."

Let's say you ask "Is this a replica?" What seller of illegal goods is going to say, "Oh, yes, these are illegal counterfeits."

These 'merchants' do not pay tax on this income. They don't pay sales tax. They are most likely violating copyright law, patents, or some other form of protected property.

Think it's a victimless crime? Think again.
The info below is from:

Counterfeiting is big business.

It is estimated that counterfeiting is a $600 billion a year problem. In fact, it’s a problem that has grown over 10,000 percent in the past two decades, in part fueled by CONSUMER DEMAND.

The real truth is people who purchase counterfeit merchandise risk funding nefarious activities, contributing to unemployment, creating budget deficits and compromising the future of this country in the global economy.

The real truth is counterfeiters are hardened criminals, exploiting consumers, businesses both large and small, inventors and artists and children laboring in sweatshops in Third World countries.

You should know the truth about counterfeiting.

The Facts:

  • Counterfeiting costs U.S. businesses $200 billion to $250 billion annually.
  • Counterfeit merchandise is directly responsible for the loss of more than 750,000 American jobs.
  • Since 1982, the global trade in illegitimate goods has increased from $5.5 billion to approximately $600 billion annually.
  • Approximately 5%-7% of the world trade is in counterfeit goods.
  • U.S. companies suffer $9 billion in trade losses due to international copyright piracy.
  • Counterfeiting poses a threat to global health and safety.
Five Reasons You Should Never Fake It:

1. Counterfeiting is illegal and purchasing counterfeit products supports illegal activity.
2. Counterfeiters do not pay taxes meaning less money for your city's schools, hospitals, parks and other social programs.
3. Counterfeiters do not pay their employees fair wages or benefits, have poor working conditions, and often use forced child labor.
4. The profits from counterfeiting have been linked to funding organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorist activity.
5. When you purchase a fake, you become part of the cycle of counterfeiting and your money directly support these things you would never want to support.

< / soapbox>


Amy Bennett said...

I'm not one to debate AT ALL. But if you're talking slippery slopes...I think no matter what you buy where, you may be supporting something you wouldn't choose to. I could go on etsy and buy a handmade necklace and not realize she's using the proceeds for a prescription drug habit. Is it any better or worse that they are "organized" with their misdeeds?

I'm not specifically talking about the bags I bought because it does turn out I can get into trouble for that but I'm just saying in general I don't know if that line of thinking sticks.

Lynellen said...

Fabulous point that we don't know how people use the money we give them! We should definitely pause to consider who we purchase from, with the information we have and/or can get. It would do us all good to think for a moment.

Taken to extreme on either end of the spectrum, you can get to the point where you "only drink milk from a Christian cow", to quote an old Steve Taylor song.

Do the extremes of the spectrum mean that the core concept is ridiculous? Hardly.

Is organized crime worse than an individual shady merchant? I'd say so, yes.

In terms of Etsy in particular, one of the downfalls of buying anything on the internet is that you tend to know very little about the person selling it.

In today's global economy, we are very likely OFTEN supporting things we don't approve of. But that shouldn't mean that you shrug your shoulders at it.

I probably can't 100% be sure of the things I buy, but I CAN avoid some of the more obvious ones.

My point in this post, though, is that when you KNOW it is a "knock off", that there should be some serious consideration.

The Counterfeit trade has directly cost American jobs. That affects MY community. People that have stolen my original work (which they do when they ask me for a sample acrostic poem and then never order from me) are costing ME money. This issue isn't theoretical to impacts MY pocketbook.

None of us can save the whole world single handedly, but we can each do our small part, and together all those small parts will add up.

Janie said...

I agree wholeheartedly.

Gwynne said...

This is a great post! Too often, we don't think about the effects of our buying habits.