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A year ago, the biggest worries in the counterfeit bag business were for the actual counterfeiters. Times might be changing, and now those worries could extend to the Birkin-hungry tourists searching to pay a small fraction of their favorite bags' prices. The Post reports that your average Marc Jacobs knockoff (like the Baroque Quilting Mini Stam bag, which costs $1,250 retail) could have an additional $1,000 price tag attached to it—in the form of a fine—if you're caught buying it. Not yet, but maybe soon.
Councilwoman Margaret Chin is in charge of the Chinatown district, and she's hoping to pass a law that would prohibit the buying of counterfeit goods with the threat of the above mentioned fine, or possibly even a year in jail. All for a fake Louis. Worth it, says one of women interviewed—Christine Gambino, 21, of Staten Island—who explained, "I'll take a risk and sacrifice to look good and pay less."
"People are still coming, and the industry is growing, and we have to stop the demand. We need people to know that they are feeding this demand," Chin says. However, there's more to it than just the sole fact that a fake bag is obnoxious—part of that demand is that profits made from the counterfeit goods have the potential to extend into other arenas, such as "terrorism and unsafe child-labor practices," says The Post.
So how likely is it, really, that you're going to go to jail for shopping? The bill will be introduced Thursday, and there are a lot of naysayers who doubt it will ever be able to come to fruition. (In a surprising twist of events, legit Canal merchants are in support of the bill, even if it does mean less foot traffic.) If it passes, it will only be illegal to buy the bags, not just own them. But don't count on playing dumb, Christine Gambino—the proposal suggests that if you're down on Canal Street, you should know better. "The law specifically states that buyers should know their goods are counterfeit because of the low price and location where they are buying them."
· Bill would bag phony-purse buyers [NY Post]
· Fake Bag, Free Cuffs [Racked NY]