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					Ownership, Ego, Sharing,
  and Counterfeiting
          Russell W. Belk
     University of Utah, USA
       Lancaster University
    Management School (visiting)
What (if anything) is wrong
 with buying a fake Luis
   Vuitton Handbag?
    Is counterfeiting new?
        Brand forgery is newest
        Preceded by Money forgery
        Preceded by Art forgery
        Preceded by Notions of Specific Individuals as the
        sources of art
        Preceded by the Rise of Possessive Individualism
        (at least in some cultures)
    All of Which are Preceded by Notions of Sharing
    Premise: Counterfeiting is an unauthorized sharing of
    brands
Sharing: An Alternative to
   Private Ownership
• Also Includes
  –   Voluntary lending
  –   Contractual renting
  –   Gift-giving
  –   Pooling & allocation of resources
  –   Authorized use of public property
  –   Unauthorized use by theft, vandalism, or
      trespass
                            [Fan Tin Tsuen No. 250
                            Opening Hours: Noon-4 a. m.
                            Outside catering order
                            Phone # 24713184]
      What we Share
• We can share things, places, people,
  pets, ideas, values, time, affection,
  animosity
• Excludes non-volitional coincidence
  involving things we don’t own or
  control
  – ―Sharing‖ a common place of birth
  – ―Sharing‖ a language
  – ―Sharing‖ a set of experiences
        Sharing Defined
• The act and process of giving or losing what is
  ours to others for their use
• The act and process of receiving or taking
  something from others for our use
• When we share what we feel is ours, others come
  to feel it is at least partly theirs to use
• Use may be for an indefinite or prescribed period
  & for another’s exclusive use or for use by us as
  well as others
• Givers and receivers can be individuals or groups
• Distribution may or may not make the access to
  things more equal
     Cultural Influences
• Sharing, possession, & ownership are all
  culturally learned behaviors
• In the West, possession & ownership
  learned first; sharing, fairness, justice
  later
• Australian aborigines learn sharing first
  – Vestigial effect from nomadic past
  – Led to difficulties with private cars & VCRs
• Culture also prescribes what is selfish vs.
  altruistic, generous vs. stingy, & fair vs.
  unfair
       Mixed Effects of
           Sharing
• Recipient can feel grateful or hostile
• We may feel we get our fair share, more, or less
• Can reduce envy & foster feelings of community
  or create dependency & feelings of inferiority
• We may see sharing as a sincere effort to help or
  a sop
• Can take place within excess or insufficiency
• We may share broadly or narrowly
Impediments to Sharing
• Feelings of object attachment
• Cathecting objects as part of extended self (e.g.,
  body organs)
• Materialism
   – The importance attached to possessions
   – Components: envy, possessiveness, non-generosity
   – Accounts of materialism in 4 cultures
• E.g., Christmas giving
   – From broad charitable giving
   – To narrow giving with the family
  Sharing & the Museum
     Without Walls
• Fine art is Finite
• But it can be broadly distributed
  – Art Museums
  – Inexpensive copies
• What is the problem here?
  – Benjamin’s loss of ―aura‖
  – Denigrating reproduction, fraud, fake, forgery
  – Status hierarchies – e.g, Visiting Luxor in
    Egypt vs. Las Vegas, vs. books, Internet &
    postcards
       Incentives to Share
           Intangibles
• Some of ―our‖ intangibles are not legally ours – a
  view, an aisle seat, ―our‖ song
• Other intangibles may be our property – ideas,
  designs, & various creations
   –   Academic ideas – ours vs. plagiarized
   –   Presenting & publishing = sharing
   –   It also = the way to make them ours
   –   We should give them rather than sell them
   –   We are more apt to share with doctoral students
   –   But sharing raw data = less likely
   –   Others may admire our garden, but may not borrow our
       tools, seeds, & potting soil
 Sharing without Losing
• A song, joke, body, digital files
• Copies of books, journals, or videos
• The online gift economy
  – Linux, Napster, freeware
  – BBSs, chat rooms, web sites
• Why share in these virtual communities?
  –   Keeping while giving (Weiner)
  –   Cheap altruism (Coyne)
  –   Utilitarianism
  –   True hi-tech gift economy
    Intangible Sharing
       Communities
• Marker goods
• Sports fans, music fans, brand cults
• Proselytizing & recruiting members
• Feeling of minority status,
  persecution, & uniqueness
• iPod?
       Case in Point:
     The Grateful Dead
• Long known for ―tapers‖ freely trading
  (not selling) concert tapes
• Evolved into digital downloading
• But in late November, 2005, GD did an
  about face & told Live Music Archive to
  stop making it available
• Fan uproar caused a partial reversal
• But GD already suggested shift
  – From Internet as cornucopia
  – To Internet as pay-per-play jukebox
    Brand Grateful Dead
• ―The Dead had created an anarchy of trust, going
  not by statute but by instinct and turning fans
  into co-conspirators, spreading their music and
  buying tickets, T-shirts and official CD’s to show
  their loyalty. The new approach…changes that
  relationship….The change also downgrades fans
  into the customers they were all along. It
  removes…brand value from the Dead’s legacy by
  reducing them to one more band with products to
  sell‖ (Jon Pareles, ―The Dead’s Gamble: Free
  Music for Sale‖ NYT, December 3, 2005.
     Incentives to Share
          Tangibles
• School boys/girls sharing clothing
• Leveraged lifestyles
   – Lease vs. buy car
   – RealNetwork’s Rhapsody
   – Blockbuster, Netflix
• Virtual Renting
   – eBay & flipping (cell phone, computer, iPod, sports
     equipment)
   – Calloway
   – Bag, Borrow, or Steal
   – Buy, rip, sell CDs
    Other Tangible Sharing
          Incentives
•   Family heirlooms & extended self
•   Sharing within the family
•   Group sharing (e.g., time-share homes)
•   Institutional sharing—e.g.,
    – Museums
    – National Parks
• But, beware the tragedy of the commons
   Involuntary Sharing:
      Counterfeiting
• Unlike graffiti or vandalism in intent
• Sometimes condoned by the brand
  counterfeited (e.g., Hilfiger, Nike, Polo)
• Usually strongly opposed
• A victimless crime?
• Justifications
  – Robin Hood
  – Decency
  – Righting the crimes of rapacious capitalism
     •   Those who buy are not usually in the target market
     •   Imitation may flatter
     •   Helping entrepreneurs in the less affluent world
     •   Helping consumers in the less affluent world
Problematizing Brand
   Counterfeiting
• Grades of Counterfeits
• Counterfeits as Better than ―the real
  thing‖ as defined by to intellectual
  property laws
• Ranges of counterfeits
  – Beverages—Pepsi, 1st Growth Bordeaux
  – Designer brands—facsimiles vs. ironic
    (Baudrillard’s simulacrum vs. fake or Joshua
    Glenn’s ―fake authenticity‖--Hermenaut)
  – Motorcycles (5 of 6 Yamaha bikes—Rana,
    SSRN) or aircraft parts
  – Pharmaceuticals—Viagra vs. AIDS drugs
            Conclusions
• Social desirability of sharing
  – E.g., U.S. home ownership (> 2/3)
  – Why? Community, civil obedience, investment
  – Why not? ID through things vs. people, Bowling
    Alone, financial security vs. social security,
    economic capital vs. social capital
  – Privatization of the nuclear family – radio, TV,
    car, computers, bathroom, meals, bank accounts
    & credit cards
• Compensatory rise of virtual communities &
  online sharing
                  Conclusions
• Social desirability of renting
   –   Spouse
   –   Womb
   –   Soldiers
   –   Children
• Online sharing vs. intellectual property laws vs.
  public access; dreams of free access
• Post-materialism, VS, downshifting,
  dematerializing, experience economy?
• One boom U.S. rental market: storage
• Business may lead the way with the virtual
  corporation

				
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