It You Can't Beat Purveyors Of Unauthorized Copies, Join Them -- With Style

from the win-win-win-win dept

One of the perennial questions around here is what companies should do about unauthorized copies of physical products. As readers will know, on Techdirt we don't think automatically filing lawsuits is the way to go. This little vignette from the New York Times reveals an alternative approach that is smarter and more remunerative:

At a pop-up market stall just off Canal Street, the Madison Avenue of the unauthenticated, shoppers have spent the last week snapping up off-price, jeans, hoodies, T-shirts and boxer briefs with a familiar, almost-right logo: Diesel Deisel. Sure, the "i" and "e" are on the wrong side of their usual do-si-do. But you get what you pay for. They're $69.99; Diesel jeans generally start well over $200. Forget it, Jake -- it's Chinatown.

Companies like Diesel spend significant resources chasing down counterfeiters and stamping them out. According to Renzo Rosso, the founder of Diesel and president of its parent company, the Only the Brave Group, the label shut down 86 websites hawking fake products last year. But Mr. Rosso was crammed into the small, wood-paneled shop on Friday with no intention of dampening Diesel. He'd created it.

Rosso has realized that even unauthorized copies act as marketing for the original, and help to boost the brand. By producing his own fake versions, Rosso not only spreads the word about his company's products, but he even makes money from it. Moreover, by introducing a rival into the market of copies, he probably dilutes the other fake brands and maybe even their profits. It's a win-win-win-win situation, which Gucci too is keen to exploit:

Gucci has riffed on its own bootlegs (and styled its own "Guccy" logo) and set up shop with Daniel Day, better known as Dapper Dan, the counterfeit couturier it had once threatened out of business.

It's such a simple, clever idea, you wonder why no one has thought of it before. And the answer is -- they have. As Techdirt reported nearly nine years ago, a South African t-shirt designer sold its own counterfeit line and used that to boost awareness of the original products, while also being able to differentiate and sell into new markets -- and make money too. What's significant about the latest examples in the New York Times story is that it is top brands that have realized the power of this approach. And even if the idea of coming out with authorized "counterfeits", as Diesel and Gucci are doing, is not original, that somehow seems appropriate.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 23 Feb 2018 @ 10:54am

    But, but... Stealing! But, but FREELOADERS! But, but.. BRAND VALUE!! *sound of brain snapping* - Your usual troll and/or clueless lawyer

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 23 Feb 2018 @ 11:03am

    It's almost like [puts on shades] "Copying is not theft." Who knew?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Mike Masnick, 23 Feb 2018 @ 11:10am

    Hey, minion: told you not to run this piece. It's stupid because only applies to "fashion industry", selling the same Chinese-made pants for 70 rather than ridiculous 200. I get all my "relaxed-fit" pants at wholesale, anyway, 30 bucks tops.

    Copying a well-known (at least here on tiny little Techdirt) name plus some other minion's frequent wailing that "his" name was used in FCC comments completely debunk this piece.

    Is also another instance of FORCED TO because so many around "borrowing" name. It's certain that IF COULD, WOULD prosecute to full extent of the law: an iron box with spikes on the inside.


    And what the hell means bit about "e" and "i" swapped? Last time I checked, DIESEL it is, and that's the sole way it's given here...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Killercool (profile), 23 Feb 2018 @ 11:22am

      Re: Derpa durr

      What am I to do with all of these thousands and thousands of exceptions?

      Why, there are so many exceptions, it's almost like the copyright maximalism I support is merely the status quo, instead of a natural law!

      Impossible!

      MASNICK, YOU FOOL! GOOGLE! CENSORSHIP! COMMON LAW!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mike Masnick is not Out of the Blue, 23 Feb 2018 @ 11:34am

      Re: Hey, minion: told you not to run this piece. It's stupid because only applies to "fashion industry", selling the same Chinese-made pants for 70 rather than ridiculous 200. I get all my "relaxed-fit" pants at wholesale, anyway, 30 bucks tops.

      The counterfeit item had the letters transposed, like these:

      https://www.retaildetail.eu/en/news/fashion/diesel-opens-very-own-counterfeit-store

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2018 @ 11:52am

      Re: "e" and "i" swapped

      And what the hell means bit about "e" and "i" swapped? Last time I checked, DIESEL it is, and that's the sole way it's given here...

      Glyn mis-misspelled it. The NYtimes story says "a familiar, almost-right logo: Deisel", and has pictures clearly showing "DEISEL". The proper spelling would be "DIESEL".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      glyn moody, 23 Feb 2018 @ 12:05pm

      Re: Hey, minion: told you not to run this piece. It's stupid because only applies to "fashion industry", selling the same Chinese-made pants for 70 rather than ridiculous 200. I get all my "relaxed-fit" pants at wholesale, anyway, 30 bucks tops.

      You're right, it should be "Deisel". Not sure how that happened...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2018 @ 12:41pm

      You can tell they are counterfeit by the gold fringe around the hem lines.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2018 @ 5:36pm

      Re:

      Every day you find a new method to sink even lower, blue boy. It'd be fascinating if it wasn't so threadbare and pathetic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2018 @ 11:46am

    Isn't this just the same thing as having a low-end product line and a high-end product line?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2018 @ 11:51am

      Re:

      How many brands that trade on their name do that?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2018 @ 4:43pm

        Re: Re:

        How many brands that trade on their name do that?

        It's an open secret that this is common, e.g. Levis at Wal*Mart (they have different names/numbers but only jean-nerds would know those). A bunch of companies are said to specifically manufacture low-quality stuff for discount retailers or their own outlet stores.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2018 @ 11:55am

      Re:

      Similar... this lets the customer feel like they're "getting away with" something. And by misspelling the name it's less likely to be confused with the "good" version (with some brands, the cheap versions are low quality but the difference from the "high-end" line isn't obvious--you need to know what model numbers to look for, or a modified logo...).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 23 Feb 2018 @ 1:05pm

    REALLY?

    Do you need to pay $????? for a good product??
    All it says is, ROB ME ROB ME..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris ODonnell (profile), 23 Feb 2018 @ 1:37pm

    So now brands will sue counterfeiters not to protect their brand, as they always claim, but to protect their own "fake" revenue stream.

    But they will still sue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2018 @ 3:49pm

    spelling

    Rosso was crammed into the small, wood-paneled shop on Friday with no intention of dampening Diesel.

    I think you mean Deisel.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2018 @ 5:59pm

    or maybe they could just sell their normal brand at a realistic price. that would kill a lot of couterfeits. but yeah, then they wouldn't be making a ton of money for nothing from pointless pecuniary emulation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Belmont, 24 Feb 2018 @ 9:00am

    WELL...

    PUNA, NUMA, ADDADAS, MIKE, KINE, JOHNIE WORKER, I could go on forever...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Smith, 24 Feb 2018 @ 4:15pm

    Let me know when I can republish your website to "boost its brand." I'll even send you a cut of the ads!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2018 @ 12:52am

    So would those qualify as counterfeits or official products at customs?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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