Counterfeits and Chiaroscuro at Harper's Bazaar
At the 4th annual Harper's Bazaar Anticounterfeiting Summit this afternoon, dark tales of effectively enslaved street vendors and deaths from fake pharmaceuticals contrasted with bright sunlight and the spectacular views from Hearst Tower -- interrupted only by the slow transit of a pair of men in hardhats on a construction lift outside.
The speakers' messages were a similar mix of light and shadow. Keynote speaker Moises Naim of Illicit fame offered a b-school analyis of the complex international networks of illegal trade, but suggested that chapter 12 of his book has some advice for the good guys. (Gotta love an author with a book to sell.) Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler noted the vast extent of counterfeiting in NYC alone, but celebrated the efforts of the Office of Special Enforcement and unveiled a new consumer education campaign, coming soon to a subway near you. Frederick Mostert, chair of the Authentics Foundation, seemed equal parts shocked by his own props (fake Skippy peanut butter and Viagra) and fascinated by the technological prowess of the copyists (next year, he'll bring along his fake Ferrari). And panelists from the USTR's office, Pfizer, Kodak, and Microsoft alternated between underscoring the seriousness of the issue and promoting efforts to address it (including ACTA, Kodak's Traceless system, and Microsoft's "How to Tell" page).
From the perspective of Harper's Bazaar publisher Valerie Salembier, the most exciting news may be that the magazine's website about counterfeits, Fakes are Never in Fashion, is up and running. Even better, Harper's has hired one of Counterfeit Chic's favorite correspondents, Liliana Andreano (until recently of MyAuthentics.com), to work on the campaign. Congratulations, Liliana! Here's hoping that your stylish new job won't require window washing or anything else that calls for a hardhat -- standing on that lift looked pretty scary.