Monday, July 31, 2006

Counterfeit Mirror Images

The Korea Herald has another one of those amusing stories about how Korean companies are shocked and angry about counterfeiting in China. I wonder how the old Korean saw about how "copying is necessary since Korea is a developing country with no native technology or means to develop such" works when its regurgitated to them.

The funniest thing about the story is you can substitute "Korea" and such in the article and much of it would be just as correct. I even wonder about the only place I have reservations on, the part about local authorities in collusion with manufacturers. While I do not think the manufacturers are in collusion, I do wonder about about the shops and government.

For example, the market areas of Dongdaemun and Namdaemun are rife with counterfeits. The city of Seoul and their respective local offices have placed much investment into these market areas. Now if the government were to say round up everyone selling counterfeits it would get everyone bothered. The city would complain since all that market infrastructure is now empty.

More importantly here in Korea such a clamp down would likely cause protests and demonstrations by the merchants. This may sound counter intuitive, but consider the riots over the restoration of Chonggaechon stream in Seoul the past few years. Under the Expressway once standing over the paved over stream was a thriving market area in the shade. The problem was the shops and stands were illegal, none of the building was approved by the city. When the city decide to clear out the illegal squatters, riots happened. Therefore I wonder if one of the reasons for Korea's complex and lax IP enforcment regime is partly to keep public order.

(Incedently, who the hell is editing the Korea Herald today? Granted I am not Shakespeare, but the errors in the above mentioned article...)


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