Various city agencies have long been trying to crack down on counterfeit goods, from handbags on Canal Street to clothing in the Garment District. Recently, a judge ruled that landlords of buildings that house counterfeit vendors can now be held liable. Landlords will have to post signs saying these are counterfeit vendors and possibly evict the vendors as well. Hmm, Gothamist hates to be cynical, but those signs will be exactly what tourists want to see - they want fakes, not the real thing. This came about because Louis Vuitton, perhaps the most knocked-off brand around (get some brown plasticky material, an "L" and a "V" and mustard dye and you're set!), sued landlords in Chinatown. The NY Times ">profiled a counterfeit inspector from Louis Vuitton, who saw many women carrying garbage bags full of fake LV bags; we love the idea of some spiffily dressed LV suit rubbing shoulders with folks in Chinatown - though he'd probably dress down so as not to be detected. And the Downtown Express noticed how counterfeit handbag vendors on Canal Street are moving the inventory to backrooms , in order to avoid police detection, all while quietly muttering, “Handbag Chanel Coach Louis Vuitton Prada inside.”
Gothamist thinks the war against counterfeit goods is probably a losing one - we'll start seeing more on the street with their portable tables and an even more underground - perhaps online - market will be created to peddle wares. Gothamist on counterfeit goods during the holidays and an Opinionist column about counterfeit goods.