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Grab your fake purses and shoes, because City Councilmember Margaret Chin is hawking counterfeit legislation.
A petition from Chin’s office was sent to local representatives in support of a hearing for a legislation to curtail counterfeit commerce by making it a criminal offense to purchase fake trademark goods.
The legislation was introduced in April 2011, but a hearing did not result in the City Council. Local residents suggested starting an online petition to bring attention to the proposed bill, which would make it a Class A misdemeanor to purchase counterfeit goods, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and/or up to a year in jail for repeat offenders, far more than one would save on bogus brands.
The petition says the ban would improve quality of life in neighborhoods like Tribeca, Soho, Chinatown. “Counterfeit vendors clog our sidewalks and streets; intimidate and harass local residents; destroy private property; and create a negative image of our neighborhood,” it reads.
But it seems there are ulterior motives as well: “The illegal counterfeit good trade costs New York City an estimated $1 billion in tax revenue each year. At a time when our city’s services are being slashed, it is irresponsible for our city to forgo such much-needed revenue.”
Some argue that the law would have a negative effect on business, especially on Canal St., where the lure of a knockoff handbag pulls NYC tourists from more scenic routes.
When the legislation was first proposed, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s David Louie objected to the method, saying that the first step should be enforcing the law against selling counterfeit goods that is already on the books.
“Some people have questioned whether the police would be able to implement it,” said Kelly Magee, Chin’s spokesperson, “But the local precincts are behind it.”
To view the petition, visit signon.org/sign/make-it-illegal-to-buy.