An anti-counterfeitting lobby group essentially pulled a Simpsons episode and took over a class at Hunter College. The students were used as cheap labour to produce a guerilla-marketing campaign by making up a fake student and a fake blog, where the student talked about the dangers of knock-off brands. An exerpt of the blog can be found here.
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At Hunter College of the City University of New York, some professors are asking those questions â.. and a Faculty Senate committee is considering a formal complaint about violations of academic freedom â.. over a course sponsored last year by the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition (known as the IACC), an organization of companies that are concerned about low-cost knockoffs of their products. The companies involved include some of the biggest names in fashion and consumer goods â.. Abercrombie & Fitch, Chanel, Coach, Harley-Davidson, Levi Strauss, Reebok and so forth.
According to the complaints filed with the Faculty Senate, Hunter agreed to let the IACC sponsor a course for which students would create a campaign against counterfeiting in which they would create a fake Web site to tell the story of a fictional student experiencing trauma because of fake consumer goods. One goal of the effort was to mislead students not in the course into thinking that they were reading about someone real.
What’s funny are some of the comments on the blog, especially this little gem:
As a former customs officer tasked with container shipment inspections, I can tell you without any reservations that 75% or more of these “fakes” are made in the same factories, by the same workers (making the same pennies per item) as the “real” thing – and an awful lot of them, at least an awful lot of those we seized, were almost identical in quality to the actual brand-label item.
If these firms were actually serious about the quality of their items, would they pay their Asian slave workers the same very poor wages that the counterfeit bag vendors pay?
I can’t believe this group of students got scammed by a lobbying group into selling off their education to the highest bidder. This entire blog is a sham – a commercial by the anti-counterfeit lobby. I hope everyone reading this understands that.