We all know that selling counterfeits can land you in hot water. But buying them?
New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, whose district includes Chinatown, has proposed a bill that would make purchasing counterfeits a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Each item bought would constitute a separate violation.
While Chin originally introduced the legislation in April 2011, the councilwoman’s office is “renewing the push for a hearing, which we now think is on the horizon,” spokeswoman Kelly Magee tells JCK.
“The counterfeit goods trade costs our city much needed tax revenue, takes away from local businesses, and has a ruinous effect on the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” Chin said in a statement when the bill was introduced. “Tackling the suppliers is not enough. This is a profitable industry—an estimated $23 billion is spent on counterfeit goods in NYC each year.”
“For each storehouse that is shut down, there are others waiting to take its place,” she continued. “It is time to get serious about this criminal activity and its local and global repercussions.”
The Democratic councilwoman told The New York Post that the bill wouldn’t target those who accidentally buy counterfeit merchandise.
“If you go into a back room, basement, or van, you probably know what you’re doing is not legal,” she said. “Hopefully, this law will cut down on the demand.”
Chin has started an online petition to promote the bill.