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‘Get Real, Don’t Buy Fakes’: Fashion Fakes And Flawed Policy – The Problem With Taking A Consumer-responsibility Approach To Reducing The ‘problem’ Of Counterfeiting

Joanna Large
Published 2015 · Economics
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Recent years have seen increasing concern in relation to intellectual property crime and as a result, pressure has mounted to tackle the ‘problem’ of counterfeiting. However, despite an increasing recognition of the responsibility of public policing agencies, a strong consumer-responsibility approach has emerged. This relies on the assumption that if consumers are ‘educated’ about the ‘dangers of buying fakes’ they will refrain from doing so – resulting in a reduced demand and thus, a reduced supply. This article, which is based upon a mixed-methods empirical study investigating people’s attitudes to, and consumption of, counterfeit fashion goods, seeks to problematize the responsibility being placed upon consumers and argues that fundamentally, this is a flawed approach for anti-counterfeiting policy. This article argues that not only does this approach fail to understand consumer attitudes, but it fails to understand the nature and consumption of fashion more generally.
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