Version française de cet article CounterfeitCounterfeit, Fake, Copy, some clarification about this three terms often confused.


Copies of Works have been made for a very long time. This has been a means of reproduction of an existing work, and a copy is generally done by hand with a greater or lesser degrees of exactness. A Copy must be labeled as such. It is not intended to fool the buyer. It may be legal if the copier has been granted copying rights to the original work and if there is clear mention of the fact that it is indeed a copy.

A Fake is a Copy that purports to be an Original, so there is deception involved. A Fake can be seized and destroyed or marked as a Fake, particularly when it is subject to a sales transaction. The marketing of Fakes involves the liability of anyone involved, including the owner-seller and middlemen.

Counterfeiting is a modern concept related to Brand protection. This term usually refers to the factory reproduction of a product to illegally market it under its original brand name. As this is an eminently fraudulent activity, with strictly financial aims, the inevitable result is that product quality and conformity are minimal.

Customs services are tasked with seizing counterfeits throughout the country. Anyone in possession of a counterfeit is open to a number of possible penalties:

1. The individual will have paid for an object of no value.

2. The counterfeit will be confiscated.

3. A violation will result in a fine one or two times the price of the original.

4. Imprisonment up to three years may be imposed if the individual is in possession of several counterfeit objects and for this reason is deemed to be a trafficker.

The counterfeit price of an artistic piece may in fact not be negligeable while the original object’s price is elevated. The risks then become particularly serious.


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