Councilwoman Margaret Chin wants to make it a crime to buy counterfeit bags in New York City. It is currently not a crime to buy or own counterfeit goods in New York City, though it is illegal to manufacture, import and/or offer them for sale. The Manhattan Democrat’s bill (NY Bill No. 544), which was introduced over a year ago, would penalize individuals caught buying counterfeit designer goods, if they knew or should have known the goods were fakes. The penalty: a maximum $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison - the same penalty as the one for someone caught selling a single counterfeit good.
The bill was the topic of discussion in front of the City Council's Committee on Public Safety this week. The City Counsel members' discussion focused largely on how to prove that a purchaser knew or "should have known" a a garment or accessory was a counterfeit, especially when an individual is not familiar with the customary price of a specific designer good. The bill isn't up for a vote but tell us: penalizing pedestrian buyers of counterfeit goods ... good or bad idea?