By Paul Pannone
The growing discussions and debate involving Internet piracy continues to move ahead leading to other areas uncovered by members of the Wedding Water Cooler. Group members picking up tidbits of information along the way share their thoughts in a private forum. Some of the ideas and statements shared with you, our valued readers, are to make you aware of what’s going on.
Last week several statements got quoted and influenced other segments of the wedding business, warning of impending problems of new phenomena like Pintrest. Event stylist and Water Cooler member Khalilah Olokunola shared information about Pintrest’s policy and added she would be very careful of using the latest craze.
“I bet I won’t pin any of my ideas or images especially when that gives Pintrest the right to profit from them not me,” says Khalilah.
Khalilah Olokunola told the Wedding Water Cooler she’s not ready to give Pintrest– or anyone– the right to profit from her work.
The discussions in WWC are broadening to other areas of thievery, all identified and classified under the same unscrupulous but unstoppable acts now ravaging American society. The troubles, featured in a detailed description by Jim Duhe, says the problem is nothing new, while alluding they’re unsolvable unless drastic action and government intervention takes place. In his statement Duhe points the finger at forums and newsgroups that accept advertising dollars, look the other way and perpetuate the problem.
“There’s an internet retailer who offers counterfeit goods through an ad on the Huffington Post. The ad includes an image created by Allure Bridal. The image is pirated — published without Allure Bridal’s consent. A bridal retailer complained to the Huffington Post about the ad and was advised that the problem would be addressed. The ad remained on the site as of two days ago. Allure has been notified and probably has taken legal action by now. One problem down; hundreds more to go.
The Huffington Post, like Google, like eBay, like any number of sites — would have the public believe that they would never willingly accept ads from counterfeiters. Unfortunately, ads placed on these reputable sites lend credibility to the claims of the counterfeiters. Huffington Post, et.al., argue that they don’t have the time or expertise to police the content of every ad included on the site. Meanwhile, people who live in the real world know that the number of sites that allow all sorts of counterfeit merchandise ads is growing — not shrinking. There are counterfeit gown ads on the majority of the bridal blog sites. In my opinion, counterfeit merchandise advertisers represent revenue — plain and simple. The Huffington Post and others won’t walk away from the ad revenue voluntarily. Don’t expect Google, Huffington Post, or any other major internet resource to react to complaints about counterfeit bridal apparel in the same way that Bridal Guide or any other bridal magazine would.
It’s unlikely that anything will change until there is legislation to protect consumers and businesses against the counterfeit problem. Even when laws are in place, however, there is no guarantee of redress. The sale of counterfeit copies of name brand handbags, for example, has been illegal for years. However, there are vendors on every other street corner in Manhattan selling counterfeit handbags year after year. There are retail stores that specialize in selling counterfeit merchandise in downtown Manhattan. These people are operating in plain sight. If I can identify them, there’s no reason why the police can’t find them. More importantly, the police should have no problem arresting them. Regardless, counterfeit merchandise vendors show up on the same street corners day after day — year after year – as if it’s a permanent, full-time job with a retirement plan. Retail store fronts are open daily to sell counterfeit merchandise. Who is there to stop them?
The example discussed on NBC (recently) had to do with the production and sales of counterfeit Rosetta Stone DVDs. However, there’s no theoretical difference between a counterfeit DVD and a counterfeit handbag or “replica” bridal apparel. Yes. There are distinct quality differences between the original and the copies. Yes. There are substantial financial risks to the consumer. Yes. There’s an issue with lost sales tax and tariffs. Yes. There are all sorts of copyright infringement legalities. However, the internet remains the Wild, Wild West.
Huffington Post, Google, eBay and anyone else can ignore a random complaint. That’s the point. The laws regarding this sort of thing are still fuzzy. One site closes on Monday — another opens on Tuesday. I’m suggesting that no one can ignore thousands of complaints. It’s important for us to stand together in launching complaints against counterfeiters,” according to Duhe.
So far an ongoing eWedNewz poll shows an overwhelming majority (88%) of respondents so far say it’s not right to take anything and claim it as your own. What do you say?
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