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Product Piracy

 

 

Jeans, money, spare parts, medicine, jewelry, art - nothing is safe from counterfeiting, inferior imitations deceiving customers and harming honest dealers and manufacturers. Now the organized fraud has hit the martial arts.

 

An increasing number of established brand names together with their associated range of products and accessories are misused by imposters for pursuing their despicable goals. In former times, such persons were travelling around the country selling colored water as magic potion. Nowadays they find a fertile area of operation in clubs and societies and politics.

 

Extreme caution should be exercised, not only in the heartlands of charlatanry but everywhere. A spokesman said: "It is one of the oldest and cheapest scams on which time and again credulous people are falling for. Supported by jovial behavior an atmosphere of trustworthiness is pretended. Thereafter the potential victims will be lured into a mire of hypocrisy in order to be flagrantly exploited. Not a small number get incriminated in the deceptive practises and become accomplices."

 

Fake product tests are used to feign high quality standards to  fool consumers and to stimulate further purchases. While the genuine name-brand products have to be acquired with large personal effort, the bogus merchandise is given away for a small fee. Authentically looking guarantee certificates foster the illusion of original goods. The blending with cheap and useless additives, faulty user manuals, misleading hotlines, and repressions against competitors are the order of the day.

 

There is another, especially sad and grotesque aspect. In spite of being completely aware of what's going on, many victims are so emotionally entangled that they regard any objections as a betrayal of trust towards the perpetrators. In the literature this phenomenon is known as the "Minion-Syndrome".

 

This does not only affect inexperienced people. Even gullible experts are in danger. One victim gave a vivid description of his experience: "While, during signing the contract, XY puts an arm around your shoulders, the other arm is ready to slowly push a knife into your side in case of complaints or disobedience."

 

The fallout on customers and reputable dealers is severe. While the material loss is usually limited, the psychological injury is deep. Besides the insight of having wasted time, there is also the painful feeling of being deluded by some formerly trusted person. This will often result in abnegation, denial, and turning away from all Budo products.

 

The consequences for the entire martial arts market range from catastrophic to complete annihilation. While the established packagings and labels are still used to promote the plagiarisms, the original contents are changed beyond recognition. Even immediate and strict countermeasures would take at least one decade to repair the damage and to stabilize the overall situation.

 

For laymen it is very difficult to detect suspicious clues. Consumer protection associations refer to the Karate-Doctor website, which scrutinizes the situation in manifold ways.

 

 2007 TDI

 

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