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Proposed N.Y. Law Would Fine People Who Buy Knock-Offs

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Mary Bubala joined WJZ in December 2003. She now anchors the 4-4:30...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Talk about the fashion police. A proposed law in New York City puts you in jail or fines you $1,000 for buying a knock-off.

Mary Bubala reports it’s already illegal to sell fake designer goods, but the focus may soon be on the buyer.

They look so much like the real thing, but they’re not.  The women buying them — from New York to Baltimore — know it.

Chelisa Nave showed WJZ her recent purchase from a Baltimore street vendor. She got two Dolce & Gabbana knock-offs for a fraction of what the real thing costs.

“I don’t think buying a knock-off is all that bad or inappropriate. I would buy them all day,” said Nave.

But in New York City, a city councilwoman is proposing a bill that would criminalize the purchase of counterfeit designer goods.  She says the production of the cheap imitations could violate child labor laws and the only way to get sellers to stop is to go after the buyer.

“We start cutting the demand, ultimately we will cut the supply,” said Margaret Chin, NYC Councilwoman.

People, including many tourists from Baltimore, would face a $1,000 fine or a year in jail. It’s a real wake-up call for purchasing a fake.

“I think it’s ridiculous. Everybody can’t afford things, so at least if they have the knock-off it makes some think they have it,” said Katherine Ibarra.

“I think it would be crazy, difficult to enforce. Not only that, don’t we have better things to focus on?” said Stacy Nartker.

If passed, New York City would become the first U.S. city to criminalize the purchase of knock-offs. It’s already illegal to sell them.

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