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Fakes, Coming to a Store Near You

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the i'm-not-faking-it dept.

The Almighty Buck 286

fishdan writes to tell us that while most Slashdotters have their own trusted sources for gear there is a growing concern that all consumers should look out for. According to PC World, more and more counterfeit hardware is coming to market each year. From the article: '...batteries aren't the only tech item that counterfeiters love. In October 2004, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Anchorage, Alaska, seized 20,000 suspected fake Memorex USB memory key thumb drives from Asia. And last year, Miami officials seized 900 allegedly phony laptops valued at $700,000. "Maybe it's a laptop, an MP3 player, or a component like a DVD drive--anything in the digital world can be counterfeited," says Therese Randazzo, a U.S. Customs Service counterfeiting expert.'"

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COUNTERFEIT THIS! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14425967)

FIRST POST MOTHER FUCKERS!

Coming? We already have a fake government! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426082)

The Declaration of Restoration of the Fifty States
In CONGRESS, July 4, 2006
The unanimous Declaration of the fifty United States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for a people to restore the political system which has connected them with one another, and to reassume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to that reformation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among the People, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience has shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to reform such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these States; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present President is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Cooperation in investigations into the abuses of his Administration.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Spies without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the National Guard independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to acts foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to the disregard of our Legislation.
For imposing financial Obligations on us by deceit, and without our Consent.
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury.
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences.
For taking away our Constitutional Rights, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Government.
He has plundered our reputation, ravaged our environment, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He has excited insurgencies against us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our nation, the merciless Terrorists, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A President whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these States, solemnly publish and declare, That these United States once again are, and of Right ought to be openly and unabashedly governed under the Constitution of the United States of America; and that as such, they have full Power to limit the power of the Executive, encourage a full separation of Powers, establish free and fair Elections, and ensure for the American People a political system that is honest, transparent, and free from the corrupting influences of money. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

I don't get it (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14425970)

What is wrong with counterfeit electronics? Do they have different functionality, are they shabbily built, or do they just take profits away from the rightful owners of the product?

Re:I don't get it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14425974)

Maybe Its because IP laws or something that "fake HP printers ink" its cheaper but evile.

Re:I don't get it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14425996)

Sometimes the factories in third-world-factories that produce the "legit" products also produce those "fake" things. Is there something like this in computer electronics manufacture ?

Re:I don't get it (2, Informative)

Rebel_lord (900522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14425999)

If you'd read the article, you would see that sometimes certain counterfeit products came broken or worse malfunctioned in such a way that caused injury. If there's really something counterfeit I'd avoid, it's batteries. Better safe than sorry is my motto when it comes to my valuable electronics like cell phones, laptops and MP3 players.

Re:I don't get it (2, Interesting)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426057)

If there's really something counterfeit I'd avoid, it's batteries

how certain are you that those new brake pads the shop fitted to your car the other week weren't just compressed cardboard? or that bolt holding the engine in place on the wing of the airplane you're boarding today was really manufactured by one of Boeing's proper suppliers. Those are items currently being counterfeited that really scare me.

Re:I don't get it (2, Interesting)

packeteer (566398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426235)

The reason fake electronics are bad is becuase they are not tracable back to their rightful manufacterer. If there is a low quality batch of, say USB cards, that lose data randomly, why should the non-fake manufacterer have their name associated with them.

A lot of people here are having the standard knee-jerk reaction of saying only corporate profits benefit by cutting out fakes but thats just not the case. If a compan builds a brand name not with marketing but build a brand name with actually releasing a quality product then why should the be associated with the quality of fake items. Do you want to read a review of a top of the line quality electronics manufacterer and go out and buy the reviewed item only to find you got bought a low quality item?

Re:I don't get it (2, Informative)

tor528 (896250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14425990)

FTA:
Bogus cell phone batteries, shoddily made and potentially unsafe, are a specialty of counterfeiters. "It's one thing to buy a fake $30 Louis Vuitton bag on Canal Street in New York City. It's an entirely different matter when you buy a fake cell phone battery and it blows up," says Arch Ahern, Motorola's senior counsel for trademark and marketing.
Plus, you pay a premium for a brand-name. Buying counterfeited hardware is like paying for a BMW and driving home with a Pinto.

Re:I don't get it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426005)

'It's an entirely different matter when you buy a fake cell phone battery and it blows up," says Arch Ahern, Motorola's senior counsel for trademark and marketing.'

Well i'd expect him to say as much. What facts back him up?

Re:I don't get it (2, Interesting)

tigersha (151319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426135)

NiMH Battries are not toys. They contain electronic safeguards to ensure they run within parameters otherwise they explode (end they blow up if they run too empty too). This has happened to Nokia in the past and people were hurt because their cellphones started burning. This was caused by fake batteries. The energy density in an NiMH cell is very high.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426006)

I had lots of third-party batteries for my motorola flip-phone around 15 years ago. I never had any problems with them.

It was ~$15 for the third-party battery and ~$90 for the motorola one.

I'm not sure it counts as counterfeit though since it was totally clear that it was not made by motorola.

Re:I don't get it (2, Informative)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426035)

That's different than counterfeiting. It is perfectly legal to state that your battery is compatible with a Motorola. It is another thing to state that the battery is made by Motorola and will be supported by Motorola if it goes bad. In the US, people are allowed to state things are compatible, I can make HP compatible inks, I can also make perfume that smells exactly the same as the a name brand perfume as long as I make it clear that it is not the name brand perfume. Calling your perfume Opium is probably not okay, calling it Poppy Seed, with a tagline, smells like Opium is perfectly fine.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426236)

So, the only difference between a fake battery that's going to blow up, and a perfectly fine "noname" battery, is the "Motorola" name?

If they would just remove the Motorola name from the fake batteries, everything would be fine. /me thinks *someone* (not necessarily you) is mixing two things - fake names and crap products.

Re:I don't get it (5, Informative)

Big Nothing (229456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14425994)

"What is wrong with counterfeit electronics? Do they have different functionality, are they shabbily built, or do they just take profits away from the rightful owners of the product?"

From TFA:
Bogus cell phone batteries, shoddily made and potentially unsafe, are a specialty of counterfeiters. "It's one thing to buy a fake $30 Louis Vuitton bag on Canal Street in New York City. It's an entirely different matter when you buy a fake cell phone battery and it blows up"

So yes, lack of quality IS a problem - it's not just IP whine.

Re:I don't get it (0, Troll)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426054)

So yes, lack of quality IS a problem - it's not just IP whine.


So are we FOR the Government this time or against it, I forgot to bring my scorecard.
Apologies.

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426073)

The biggest problem (IMHO) is loss of revenue, for one, and decrease in perceived value from the brand. If I buy a fake SONY DVD player and it is crap, I will think SONY DVD's are crap. This is why they fight these guys as much.

A battery exploding, while problematic, does not really impact the company being faked in a direct fashion. And they hold the stick for repression.

They just use the battery explosions as a banner to say "Hey, we are not evil and fighting for our beloved revenue. We fight for customer protection."
--
George Herriman's Krazy Kat [ignatzmouse.net]

Re:I don't get it (1, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426218)

If I buy a fake SONY DVD player and it is crap, I will think SONY DVD's are crap.

How is that different from buying a REAL Sony DVD player?

Re:I don't get it (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426251)

Chinese ones are supposed to be more crap. I know, it's hard to believe, but it is true.

But you raise a good point: If a fake was released that was much better than the original, would they still attack them? It's a legitimate question.

--
George Herriman's Krazy Kat [ignatzmouse.net]

Re:I don't get it (1)

newend (796893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426117)

There are also potential fake components. You could buy a resister or capacitor that uses lead (which is illegal in some countries). The general quality control won't be as high which can lead to all sorts of malfunctions.

Re:I don't get it (2, Interesting)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426119)

Your argument, while good, only fits a small number of cases where the fake could actually hurt someone. I fail to see how a memory stick can blow up and hurt someone.

A much better reason to discourage this type of piracy is simply because margins are already tight in the electronics world without forcing the few players that exist to fight for their money with people ripping them off. There are areas where I feel pirates play an important roll. Music, movie and clothes production spring to mind. Production costs for these items has drop substantially in recent years but prices haven't generally followed. The pirates are showing the consumers that prices need not be as high as they are paying. I admit that pirates don't have associated development costs and therefore will always be able to sell for less but when you see a pirated copy of a movie for free and the real thing costs £16 ($30) you have to ask where the money is going.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426146)

Way to use an extreme example to paint all functional electronics imitators with one brush. Don't buy your batteries from untrusted sources. Don't buy your medical equipment from untrusted sources. Don't buy your bottled water from untrusted sources. But do save money on your electronics when you can get it cheaper by buying an equivalent product made by manufacturer that believes in flattering their competition.

Re:I don't get it (1)

ddx Christ (907967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14425995)

You didn't even read the headline of the article.

"Fakes!
"Counterfeit hardware is making its way to online merchants and to stores near you. And poor performance isn't the only risk: Bogus parts can be hazardous to your health."

Re:I don't get it (3, Interesting)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426001)

Counterfeits are not made to the same standard as originals, if they were made to the same standards then the counterfeiters wouldn't be trying to pass off their goods as fakes, they would be making claims that their products were better.

When you buy a product from a manufacturer, you as a buyer are protected by warranty laws, a counterfeiter can get away with selling stuff even if the quality is the same as the original for a lower price because they don't have to support you.

Counterfeiters do take away profits from the rightful owners of the product. Companies spend millions of dollars to develop a product and to appeal to a certain market. If counterfeiters were allowed to counterfeit, then companies would not develop products.

Also, how would like to buy an Intel computer but only to find that the insides are actually made by a Chinese knockoff company.

Re:I don't get it (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426049)

Also, how would like to buy an Intel computer but only to find that the insides are actually made by a Chinese knockoff company.

Or worse yet, you found out it's made by AMD!!! oh noes!!!!111onetwoten.!

Re:I don't get it (1)

JPeMu (942971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426188)

"Counterfeits are not made to the same standard as originals, if they were made to the same standards then the counterfeiters wouldn't be trying to pass off their goods as fakes, they would be making claims that their products were better."

If you were ripping off a "no-name" brand and trying to present it as the same "no-name", then sure, this would certainly be the case, but if you're trying to rip off say a genuine Toshiba laptop, or Motorola cell battery, then isn't it going to be difficult to convince consumers that your product is better than the manufacturer's own named brand? [although I guess your comments re. warranty kind of highlight that] After all, as a consumer why would you accept that a "SuperTosh" is better than a Toshiba? One brand you have heard of (and either inherently trust or distrust as a result), and the other you have never heard of (so should automatically be somewhat cautious about). As a slightly related issue, is this difficulty in marketing for an "unheard of" company making hardware so severe that it would drive them to market counterfeit goods, or is it plain greed (or both? lol)

Re:I don't get it (1)

Esteanil (710082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426007)

Try complaining about a broke counterfeit Toshiba(or whatever), or sending it in for service, and I think you'll find out what the problem is rather quickly.

Re:I don't get it (2, Interesting)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426009)

they are shabby built, have different functionality and have no warranty.

here [heise.de] you can see a picture of a fake usb bluetooth adapter. as you can see the antenna is a dummy, the only antenna it has is "drawn" on the pcb. also the bluetooth stack is a different one.

Re:I don't get it (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426011)

It goes really far down the chain. Nowdays you can't buy certain power transistors from just anywhere. Prized japense power transistors like even 2sc5200/2sa1943 are being counterfeited. the counterfeit devices have a much smaller die and no heatspreader. they are just glued to the package.

This obviously has issues with the entire manufacturing process. anything that needed these parts now must be tested.

counterfeit stuff is almost certainly poor quality, possibly bordering on dangerous. it makes the most sense as you get maximum profits that way.

Further there is no accountability. A defective and dangerous product could harm people, thusly bringing lawsuits. These lawsuits would target, in this case, innocent corporations instead of outright dishonest ones. the lack of a need to care about the consumer at all makes counterfeitting electronics dangerous.

Re:I don't get it (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426013)

A direct copy of a brand name product probably hasn't had any effort put in other than making it into a good copy.

A cheap product from china with a bizarre brand name made up by somebody who knows 10 words of english may actually have good engineering in it. At least that way you know exactly what you are getting.

Re:I don't get it (1)

doubtless (267357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426025)

you might still remember the fake nokia cell phone batteries that exploded up.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426060)

Yer from Kentucky? Shouldn't you be writing "batteries that done blowed up"?

FYI, it's "batteries that exploded", end of sentence. Nothing "explodes up" except perhaps pyrotechnics which are rigged in such a way that the main explosive discharge is directed towards the sky. The likelihood of a battery being so rigged for a vertical discharge is exceedingly small.
 

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426098)

it might just be me, but i've suspected cellphone companies doing their part in spreading FUD about cheap(er) clones.

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426121)

but i've suspected cellphone companies doing their part in spreading FUD about cheap(er) clones.

Just like car makers selling "genuine parts".

Re:I don't get it (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426027)

What is wrong with counterfeit electronics? Do they have different functionality, are they shabbily built, or do they just take profits away from the rightful owners of the product?

Generally, yes, yes, and yes. Also, it's not so much about taking profits away from the rightful owners but a matter of trademark and copyright infringement. If it's a Lexan USB drive with a Memorex label on it, I don't think you're getting ripped off regarding quality and functionality. But generally, it's inferior products which are being marketed under a different name so that the stores can buy on the cheap and sell at brand-name prices. Sometimes it really doesn't matter whether you get name brand or not (eg: CD/DVD plastic cases).

But what happens when a component in your supposedly Thinkpad laptop dies? You take it to IBM and they say it's counterfeit and won't fix it. Who's willing to back it up with a warranty? Offering warranties costs a lot of money. You need to run a call/contact center to field customer questions, walk them through the standard "try this" scripts, and then if there's still a problem you dispatch field service technicians who have the equipment to diagnose and hopefully do an on-site repair or provide you with a replacement if it can't be fixed on-site. Not cheap! All that cost gives companies incentive to make the product better to begin with so they can minimize the amount of support they'll need to provide. Counterfeiters realize none of those expenses, thus the cheaper prices and inferior products.
 

Re:I don't get it (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426033)

As a rule, most counterfeit stuff no resemblance to the real thing at all except for the logo. It is totally and completely different in terms of quality, materials and functionality. Thus I reckon that these counterfeits were probably cheap OEM parts which had been stamped with a logo, thus rendering them counterfeit. You'd probably see the same parts being sold elsewhere with a no-name logo.

As long as you the purchaser know they're counterfeit, and accept all the risks which go along with that (e.g. your laptop PSU burning your house to the ground), I don't see a big problem. It's not like you're depriving the real company of profit since you know it's a fake and bought it on that basis. You're not even materially harming them that much either assuming their real kit is better quality than the fake.

What would harm the real manufacturer is when you *don't* know it is counterfeit. I expect that there are enough tech-illiterate people out there who couldn't tell the real thing from the fake that it would be easy to set up shop in a market or elsewhere and shift these things. eBay is a counterfeiter's wet dream and it wouldn't surprise me at all if most of the stuff is destined for there or similar sites. The Register has an amusing piece about fake handycams [theregister.co.uk].

Still, this is not some new phenomena. Cameras, tape decks etc. have long been using been branded Sony or soundalikes (or courtesy of the Simpsons) such as Sorny, Panaphonics etc.. If you're stupid enough to believe some cheap piece of shit you buy from a dodgy dealer is genuine brand name product then you should hold yourself partly to blame.

So where does the customer stand... (1)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426118)

...after they've brought a SHINY brand camcorder with lettering that might have said SONY if you didn't look closely enough. Is that a counterfeit?

Re:I don't get it (2, Informative)

Basje (26968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426034)

Most of these items are made in the same shops, with the same materials by the same workers as the originals. They are made in [Chinese|Russian|Malaysian|Other emrging economy] factories that during the daytime produce their product (eg thumbdrives for Memorex), and during the night for "parallel export".

There are dangers to this practise. In these cases the producer cannot be held accountable (because it's not know who it is), so they don't have an interest in quality control. Often, discarded parts (that didn't meet QA) from the daytime are used.

The only other difference is that the profits are not for the originating company. So in the case of forged thumbdrives: if it works, it most likely identical to one bought legitimately.

Re:I don't get it (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426131)

I once bought (knowingly) a fake Polo shirt. When I got it home, I discovered it had Tommy Hillfiger buttons sewn onto it :)

Re:I don't get it (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426040)

or do they just take profits away from the rightful owners of the product?

You probably mean the rightful manufacturer of the product. We're speaking about hardware here, so the owner would be the buyer, not the maker.

Re:I don't get it (3, Interesting)

baryon351 (626717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426052)

Others have brought up good comments - that sometimes the counterfeits can be dangerous, not work the same as the real thing, not comply with local laws, be interference-prone electronics etc.

Another problem is when a device made in the same factory as the real deal (let's say a Toshiba laptop) is sold in the US as a real toshiba. To many people hey, it's a real toshiba, and it's half the price!

But part of the price of the REAL toshiba is the Quality Control that occurs along the line. Perhaps only 85% of all laptops made in that factory actually end up being accepted by toshiba as inventory, and the rest is set to be dismantled, scrapped or refurbished as something went wrong on the assembly line. So what do you get when you buy the fake toshiba?

You get one of the *already rejected* "toshibas" that was never meant to be released to the public. Not only was it never given a serial number that matches a toshiba-sold product so all warranty is out the window, it's already been rejected and defined as having problems. Made in the same factory, yes, but not the same quality as the final for-sale object.

Maybe you'll get lucky and get a solid machine that only has some case defects. Maybe you'll get a lemon that doesn't stay powered on for more than 15 minutes, has no warranty, and you still paid $400 for.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426159)

So what do you get when you buy the fake toshiba?

You get to pawn it off on the auction site.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14425972)

My cock. In your mouth.


That is all.

Re:IMPORTANT MESSAGE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426028)

Chomp!

Wow I'm glad he's an "expert" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14425973)

"Maybe it's a laptop, an MP3 player, or a component like a DVD drive--anything in the digital world can be counterfeited," says Therese Randazzo, a U.S. Customs Service counterfeiting expert.'"

Last time I checked there captain obvious anything in the analog world can be counterfeited as well. Basically anything can be counterfeited. If this guy counts as an expert I'd hate to see a n00b.

Re:Wow I'm glad he's an "expert" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426206)

s/guy/gal/ ?

don't by stuff from men in vans (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14425977)

and you'll probably be alright

Cheap fake or the real thing? (1)

frinkacheese (790787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14425989)


I would much rather and have in the past purchased a cheap fake rather than over priced branded kit. It all works, is usually useless in a few years anyway and since it was much cheaper, if it dies in a year or two then you can be happy you got that much use form it and buy another cheap fake.

China, dudes, bring on the fakes!

Yeah except it costs the same (3, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426043)

If I get a item that is 50% less for 50% of the cost I basically get the same deal. However if I buy a nokia battery that normally sells for 100 and instead accidently buy a fake for 80 and it then explodes I might feel that it is not such a good deal.

Yeah "fakes" can work. In a way the PC your sitting behind right now is a "fake". Unless your a rich bastard sitting behind a IBM or Apple machine.

This article is however not about those kind of fakes. It is where the buyer presumes he is buying the real deal often for the real price. That is not good.

Same with software, you can hold a lengthy argument about software piracy but when I pay full price for a software package I would expect to get a real offical copy.

By all means, make cheap memory or hd or mp3 players but don't try to pass it of as a superior product and charge the same money.

Re:Yeah except it costs the same (1)

systmoadownfreak (943687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426088)

Exactly. I don't mind paying less, but at least tell me what I'm buying. Don't try and pass it off as something that it's not. And definently don't try and charge the same as a name brand for an inferior product. Honestly a lot of the time the only thing you sacrifice with a lesser known company is that you don't get the reputation or customer service associated with major corporations. If you're cool without that stuff, then by all means buy the knock-off.

Re:Cheap fake or the real thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426063)

I live in Mongolia and a lot of "counterfit" stuff comes up from China. What I have found, and it has been confirmed by very reliable sources is that a lot of what is called "counterfit" is actually legit stuff stolen by the managers at the factories where it is built. It is a common and accepted practice in many Asian countries. That is why it can be sold affordibly priced.

On another tangent, I can buy DVD's for $1.00USD a piece, so I usually buy several a week. The quality is usually pretty good as most are advanced screening copies or have "For Acadamy consideration only". When I was in North America last I purchased 3 DVD's which I was pretty sure I would never see here. For example the Trailer Park Boys, The Corporation and Half Baked.

Tmax

Re:Cheap fake or the real thing? (2, Insightful)

xodonex (943628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426084)

As the article shows, not all cheap fakes work equally well. Some fakes, however, work so well that nobody find out that they're fake. Therein lies the whole problem: as a consumer, there is no effective method of discriminating the fake from the genuine before you buy - but afterwards it may be too late (defect product, no service).

Re:Cheap fake or the real thing? (2, Insightful)

ddx Christ (907967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426090)

Uh, slow down partner.

This isn't talking about cheap fakes. Instead, you're getting unreliable fakes for the brand price. You're getting ripped off twice as much. That's not good at all, no matter what spin you put on it. I think you're confusing this with just getting stuff dirt cheap from China. The article focuses on the fakes commonly being put in place of the real goods.

Act now to stop hardware counterfeiting (5, Funny)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426024)

I've decided to offer my own consumer hardware....ummm....authentication service. If you suspect you are in posession of counterfeit hardware(expecially the xbox 360 or an iPod nano), please send it it to:

P.O. Box 12345
Hometown, USA 12345

Please note that due to cost concerns, your hardware cannot be returned. Thanks and if you include your email address I'll let you know if it's counterfeit.

(just a joke...please don't actually send me anything cuz that address is extreme bogusness)

Re:Act now to stop hardware counterfeiting (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426051)

please don't actually send me anything cuz that address is extreme bogusness)

I used to run a dispach system for on road service. Occasionally we would inject a test job "Mr Test T Test requires a new Test for his Toyota Test at 1 Test Street Test town" or similar and most of the time the job would get sent out into the real world.

I suggest you set up a real address and make off with the loot. It can hardly be less honest than selling advertising space by the pixel on a single page website.

Re:Act now to stop hardware counterfeiting (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426093)

Heh. Just set up a website for people convinced a particular piece of hardware is possessed by the devil. Invite them to send it in, and the bad karma associated with the device will go away.

When you make your second million, drop me a postcard.

Re:Act now to stop hardware counterfeiting (3, Funny)

WoodieR (860635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426160)

when you make your second million, drop me the first ...

Re:Act now to stop hardware counterfeiting (1)

WoodieR (860635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426147)

what amount of postage should I put on it, as I live in Antown, Ontario, Canada and shipping to the US is gonna be like $50, so should I just put $60 worth of stamps on it, and hope you get it ?

Is this the real /. (2, Funny)

SecondHand (883047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426031)

or some fake. How to tell?

Wait till you see... (4, Interesting)

bronney (638318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426038)

what we have in stores for you. Earlier we had soy sauce made from hair juice. Yes, factories in China grinding human hair into juice and mix with water.

Fake down blankets stuffed with shit polyesters.

Now hear this, fake EGGS. Yes you heard right. What mogglers my bind was how on earth could you make eggs cheaper than collecting from chickens. The fake eggs were obviously inedible, but will crack and pour just like a real egg, with yolks and stuff.

The famous fake gucci's and LV's are old news.

Latest that came in from a buddy who works in shenzhen was that he rode in a fake mercedes benz. They copied all contours and instead of the tri-star, it's a 5 pointed-star (China)! Cool eh.

Re:Wait till you see... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426150)

mogglers my bind

Tell me, exactly what does moggle your bind?

rode in a fake mercedes benz

A company here was putting Ferrari-like fibreglass shells on to TA22 Celica bodies. This was about 20 years ago. They got taken to court of course.

Thanks for the soy sauce story. I will feel real happy about my wife's cooking now. After the Dec 26 2004 tsunami there was a run on fish based sauce in Malaysia because people thought it would start to contain human tissue because fish feed on bodies. Your version sounds slightly worse.

factories in China just keep production runs going (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426055)

I've read that when a company is done with a factory in China making their product, you will then see the factory "illegally" keep producing a product sometimes. Or the process will be copied by another factory. Hence the label of "fake". Then it comes down to if a fake is a fake if it's identical but doesn't carry the name brand or authorization of the name brand (where the answer is probably yes).

This speaks pretty poorly for online sales... (1)

Starker_Kull (896770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426058)

"To discover how prevalent counterfeit high-tech parts have become in the United States, PC World purchased seven hard drives, seven memory modules, and ten cell phone batteries online, using pricing search engines to find low prices. We then asked vendors to authenticate the gear. Of the two dozen products we bought, four (all cell phone batteries) were counterfeit. We also received at least one old or refurbished product masquerading as new, got one broken drive, and in a few cases ordered a specific brand but received a cheaper brand in its place. Worse, our reporter had his credit card number stolen and misused multiple times during the course of researching this story. Ultimately, only 15 of the 24 items we bought turned out to be exactly as advertised."

Damn - it's a jungle out there. It makes you wonder about the future of e-commerce vs. touch-it-before-you-buy-it stores if there is so much online fraud and it is such a PITA to fix/return the problem product.

OTOH, in years of buying hundreds of books from Amazon, they messed up my order only once, and they promptly "fixed" (refunded) it when I sent back the improper item.

It makes sense, though. When you don't have a physical location/person to track down, and your money is already in their bank, it is much harder to get a refund for defective goods, so the PITA factor means a lot of people wont bother. And thus, an online retailer has much less incentive (vs. a brick and mortar store) to be sure of the quality of their goods since the return percentage will be less anyway.

Re:This speaks pretty poorly for online sales... (1)

goodcow (654816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426201)

First of all, you shouldn't just go to Froogle, search for the lowest price, and buy something from BOB'S DISCOUNT ELECTRONICS which has a horrible seller rating and expect to get something worthwhile. Sticking to reputable sellers like Amazon for instance, you're not going to have a problem, and customer service is there as well. Failing all that, it's not difficult at all to call VISA up and get a chargeback done within a few minutes. Why even deal with arguing with a shady online store. If they screw up the order or scam you in some way, contact them making it very clear that if it isn't corrected immediately, you're going to call VISA and initiate a chargeback. If they still wanna play games, then don't waste the time or energy, just call VISA.

Re:This speaks pretty poorly for online sales... (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426223)

"using pricing search engines to find low prices."

I have to wonder how far they went to get a low price; I don't know about you, but I've seen plenty of web sites that look like they were put together by a 12 year old with attention span issues, and I wouldn't put my credit card anywhere near them, however cheap they were...

In a decade or so of buying online, I've had a CPU that arrived dead (squished, in fact; the packaging AMD had put it and the heatsink in had cracked, and the heatsink had crushed it), a graphics card whose fan died a month after purchase, and a couple of network cables that weren't what I expected because I hadn't read the site carefully enough.

So, I have to suspect, if you're just a little more careful with where you shop online, you shouldn't have experiences quite that bad!

No please tell me it isn't so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426062)

Please don't sell me counterfeit dildos. I'll be all hot and horny, and let down.

REAL goods, FAKE labels (5, Interesting)

NigelJohnstone (242811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426065)

"In October 2004, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Anchorage, Alaska, seized 20,000 suspected fake Memorex USB memory key thumb drives from Asia."

Do Memorex even make USB drives, or do they simply buy them in from Asian and stick their badge on them?

"Miami officials seized 900 allegedly phony laptops valued at $700,000. "Maybe it's a laptop, an MP3 player, or a component like a DVD drive--anything in the digital world can be counterfeited," says Therese Randazzo, a U.S. Customs Service counterfeiting expert.'"

I bet they were *real* laptops and *real* mp3 players, the only difference was the label. What you're saying is they can fake *labels*. But that's just because the USA has become a fake brand country, companies license a brand like Polaroid or Caterpillar, buy in cheap Asian crap, stick a "Polaroid" badge on it and charge loads more money because people think they're buying American.

Who cares if those fake brands get pirated, since its the difference between an overprice Asian product and a cheap Asian product, it's still jobs in Asia.

They should tackle false origin of goods labelling instead, since that's the cause of jobs being lost in USA and Europe. How can an Italian shoe maker compete with companies which appear to be Italian luxury show makers, but are just fake Asian brands with some minor finishing in Italy?

Re:REAL goods, FAKE labels (1)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426177)

This is especially true for laptops. Given that two Taiwanese box shifters make over half of all laptops and the brander just stick a label on them then a 'fake' one seems like pretty good value if you can get the same hardware for less.

Re:REAL goods, FAKE labels (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426224)

How can an Italian shoe maker compete with companies which appear to be Italian luxury show makers, but are just fake Asian brands with some minor finishing in Italy?

a) Using that whole fine hand crafted aesthetic to create a look which cannot be functionally duplicated by someone making 500 pieces a day with no specialized training or
b) going into an industry where the above is actually possible, because any industry where it isn't is doomed in Italy and everywhere else in the first world, just as it will be doomed in China 20 years from now.

Re:REAL goods, FAKE labels (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426228)

-Do Memorex even make USB drives, or do they simply buy them in from Asian and stick their badge on them?- Well, I've got one right here. Quite small, 1GB, fairly inexpensive, got it from BBUY... Hope it's real!

Re:REAL goods, FAKE labels (1)

fishbot (301821) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426269)

"Miami officials seized 900 allegedly phony laptops valued at $700,000. "Maybe it's a laptop, an MP3 player, or a component like a DVD drive--anything in the digital world can be counterfeited," says Therese Randazzo, a U.S. Customs Service counterfeiting expert.'"

His final sentence could have read "anything in the world can be counterfeited." without losing any meaning what-so-ever, considering that the items in question are real, tangible goods. The throwing in of the word 'digital' just seems intent on dragging the debate into software or media piracy ...

Windows (5, Funny)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426092)

I think my copy of windows may be counterfeit. Its really slow and every time I open internet explorer I keep getting directed to hardcore porn sites.

Re:Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426107)

And you've got to complain about it?

But does it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426100)

Maybe they run a counterfeit version of Linux?

Suspected/Alleged? (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426126)

In October 2004, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Anchorage, Alaska, seized 20,000 suspected fake Memorex USB memory key thumb drives from Asia. And last year, Miami officials seized 900 allegedly phony laptops valued at $700,000.

Nothing like some cold, hard facts to back up the case.

I'm cool with all this... (1)

nodnarb1978 (725530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426128)

...as long as they don't start importing counterfeit Penis Mightiers. Because, what matter is, do they work?

Reality.. (1)

PhakeDC (932887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426158)

.. is just a point of view, so I named myself Phake, a parody on the whole genuinity thing. As for counterfeit hardware I guess nowadays it doesn't matter much now all the components are cheaply made, the difference lies in how much effort the manufacturers put into their hardware to make it look as genuine as possible.

Re:Reality.. (1)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426219)

You're too young to be so jaded and cynical. Who hurt you, son?

Heh, I'm just kidding, I don't really give a fuck about you. Carry on then.

Cisco is plagued by counterfeits (5, Informative)

puzzled (12525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426208)


  A Cisco dual channel T1 controller, part VWIC-2MFT-T1 is $2,000 new list price. A small reseller will pay 70% of list or about $1,400 for it in distribution, while a large reseller might only pay $1,100 or so. Below we see a tinyurl link to an Ebay auction for a new boxed unit at only $227 or 11.3% of list price. I guarantee if you contact the seller you can get six dozen of them for the same price.

http://tinyurl.com/ak9by [tinyurl.com]

  This has gone on and on and on and on for the last two years, destroying the value of used Cisco gear we pull from customers and making it almost impossible to buy a used/refurbished card without running into this stuff.

  I found out about this sort of thing the hard way. I got a *fantastic* deal on six new in the box Cisco 1721 routers. It wasn't so fantastic when I had to explain to my biggest customer that half of the machines they owned couldn't be registered for service because Cisco had them listed as in service in South America. Oh, and they failed, one by one, with mysterious problems not attributeable to hardware or software ... they just acted ... different.

  Foo on all counterfeiters. They should be given counterfeit lifesaving drugs while riding in an ambulance equipped with counterfeit brake pads on their way to a hospital where they'll be cared for by a doctor who is really a drunken paramedic who thought it'd be fun to be a trauma surgeon for a day. If they live through that then they should be placed in a real live jail and periodically offered counterfeit parole papers to sign.

I hope they create this... (1)

freekalater (944337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426212)

I hope they can create a pirated fleshlight. But I wish it doesn't explode like bogus cell phone batteries. ***Kaboom*** aow dismembered....

Not a major consumer issue (2, Insightful)

martinmcc (214402) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426234)

I don't see this as being a major issue for consumers - so long as you shop at places you trust. It is up-to the retailer to ensure they are buying the ligitimate goods, not for the buyer (how is run of the mill guy going to know how to tell the difference?).

You buy from a respectable outlet, and you use the product. If it fails, you bring it back to get it replaced. If they discover its a conterfeit, you get it replaced with the real thing (or sue if they are not forthcoming). Issue lies between outlet and supplier, not consummer and outlet.

There is the issue pointed out that things may go boom, but I think this is over hyped. Counterfeits arn't the only thing that go boom, and again, so long as it is a tracable outlet (i.e. not the back of a van) you get it replaced or sue for damages depending on how much of a boom.

As always - you want to buy cheap from the back of a van, you run the risk of getting malfunctioning crap and money down the drain. You buy from a reputable retailer, you still run the risk of getting malfunctioning crap, but you also you get the protection of the law if it goes pear shaped.

Fake Gilette razors (2, Informative)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426258)

A major Dutch retail chain recently had to recall a whole lot of Gilette Mach 3 razorblades. It turned out they were fakes. The packaging looked real enough, but the razors were nowhere near the quality Gilette makes.

Trouble is that with globalization going on as it is, it is not unheard of for an import/export company to buy wholesale an X amount of razors, to sell most of it through their normal channels and to sell some excess surplus on the international market. Buyers would normally buy from the manufacturer, but it is hard to resist buying some of the wholesale surplus of others.

With globalization increasing, creating a bigger marketplace and smaller margins, I would expect to see more fakes for two reasons:
- more superfluous relationships between supply and demand instead of the traditional 1 on 1 manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer relationships. Making it easier to slip something in and be unnoticed.
- larger markets make it more profitable to inject fake goods into the economy, by creating larger demands for products, so that the margins combined with volume creates a large enough incentive for crime to seize the chance.

Counterfeit Hardware (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14426268)

I think counterfeit hardware could be the next stage in trojans and viruses.

For instance, imagine you buy a wireless router from ebay, which the seller has pre-installed with trojan firmware and comes with a packet sniffer, bulk mailing software pre-installed, ftp server, password grabber etc. The best part is, most people trust their routers implicitly so don't bother checking them from the outside world. Some people then disable their software firewalls once they have a router available.

Another great idea would be a network printer with a trojan payload.

Better quality? (1)

Wayne247 (183933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14426270)

I read in a magazine last year that children-oriented fakes like backpacks and the like were often of better quality than the real brands would produce, using better quality images or better design.

This probably doesn't apply to electronics and computer hardware, as the fake cheap-knockoff is always of considerably less quality.
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