Something people often say to me about the The Pirateâ€™s Dilemma is that piracy isnâ€™t always good, a statement I totally agree with â€“ this is in part why piracy creates dilemmas. Piracy can drive innovation and force society to become more efficient, but sometimes there is no substitute for the genuine article, and all piracy creates is cheap imitations. To prove it, I set out to round up some of the worst forgeries I could find, but even some of these are better than the real thingâ€¦
1. Fake North Korean â€œSuper Dollarsâ€
The Super Dollar is a near perfect copy of a United States banknote allegedly produced in North Korea. Super Dollars have been circulating since the 1980s and the United States government claims North Korea is knocking out these dodgy Kim Jong bills for two reasons: as a source of income, and to undermine the U.S. economy.
Currently, it is estimated that 1 in 10,000 bills is a Super Dollar, so-called because of the fact that the technology incorporated to create them exceeds the technology used to create an original Benjamin. This oddity is one of the reasons others have alleged itâ€™s actually the CIA knocking out the funny money.
Whoever it is behind them, the way things are going, theyâ€™ll probably soon be worth more than real 100 dollar bills.
2. Fake Iranian Starbucks
Seriously, we all like gay people, we all like heavily branded coffeeâ€¦
Why canâ€™t we all just get along?
3. Fake Mexican Game Consoles
Geekologie spotted the X-Game 360 in Mexico, also known as the Powerstation 3. Iâ€™ve seen something similar in the Atlantic Mall in Brooklyn, running a hacked, buggy version of â€œSuper Marion Brosâ€, which handled a little something like this:
4. Fake Chinese Rolexes (that could end up costing more than real ones)
photo by Hive
If youâ€™ve ever been to a tacky vacation resort and not been offered an awful imitation Rolex, then the resort obviously wasnâ€™t tacky enough. Many are tempted on vacation by Relexes, Prado shoes and Giorgio Delpino sunglasses, but U.S. Customs have recently introduced some tough new policies that could mean owning a fake Rolex ends up costing you more than a real one.
Mr. Mike Korpi of Oregon found this out the hard way when he came back from China in May with eight souvenir pirated Rolexes for his kids and grandkids, which had cost him a grand total of $14.40. Homeland Security seized the watches, and told him he was being fined $55,300 for violating Rolex’s protected trademark. “I can’t sleep. I haven’t slept in five days. It’s gnawing at me hardâ€ Mr. Korpi told The Oregonian. â€œIf they are supposed to be border protection and patrol, why are they bothering me with eight dinky watches?”
If itâ€™s any consolation, Korpi was informed, he should have been glad it was Homeland Security taking action and not Rolex, because they might have charged him up to $100,000â€¦ per watch.
Beware of expensive imitations.
5. Fake Cartoon Shoes
The shoe pictured isnâ€™t so much a counterfeit as it is a remix, but a terrible remix can be just as bad, if not worse. A customized Blues Clues dunk or a Sponge Bob Jordan is not a good look, but these Air Force Ones featuring Captain Planet are particularly offensive. If youâ€™re old enough to know who Captain Planet is, then your way too old for these my friend. Yours for $99.99 at weegotyou.com. I was looking for some terrible fake Manolos as well, and thatâ€™s when I foundâ€¦
6. Fake Barry Manilow
I wasnâ€™t sure if this guy should be on the list, because I actually think celebrity impersonators are better the less they look like their celeb namesakes. So by being the worst fake Barry Manilow isn’t really a Manilow-no, because heâ€™s actually the best, no?
Either way, Iâ€™m booking this guy for the Pirateâ€™s Dilemma launch partyâ€¦
7. Fake/Real/Fake Handbags
Like Barry, these handbags are actually pretty cool. These real Louis Vuitton “Speedy” bags branded “FAKE” by Korean artist Zinwoo Park went on show back in January at an exhibit on Andy Warhol and Korean pop art at Ssamzie Gallery. Of course, the pretend fake handbags were photographed and quickly pirated, and fake â€œFAKEâ€ Louis Vuitton speedies are now all over the shop.
Given the spirit of the whole thing, itâ€™s hard to know which is more authentic – the real fake bags or the fake fake bags? As Susan Scafidi notes on her great blog, Warhol would probably have gone for the latter.
8. Fake Celebrity Perfume (complete with ad campaign)
At some point in our lives, many of us are conned into buying a bottle of out-of-date battery acid with â€œChannel No. 5â€ written on it in marker pen. Perfume pirates donâ€™t offer society a lot of value, but they cost the industry millions. This summer they went even further than usual, and caused a real stink by coming up with a counterfeit ad campaign for Mariah Careyâ€™s new M fragrance.
“An image of MC with her fragrance bottle photoshopped in the corner is being featured on several blogsâ€ said a spokesman for Carey (I love that he calls her â€œMCâ€), â€œand is categorically not the advertisement for her new fragrance, nor is it even remotely close. The real ad for M by Mariah Carey will debut exclusively on TMZ during the second week of August.â€
The fake Mariah ad was actually an old ad featuring Gisele that had been photoshopped. But why would anyone do this? Was the pirate copy of the fragrance being released earlier and in need of some press? Like fake perfume, the whole story smells very fishyâ€¦
9. Fake iPods
This little beauty was spotted by an Inquirer reader in Turkey, and itâ€™s truly amazing. As well as sporting a record button, and an FM radio, it says â€œIPODâ€ on it in big turquoise letters, so youâ€™ll never forget what it is!
Why didnâ€™t the real Steve Jobs think of that?
Or the fake one for that matterâ€¦
10. Last but not leastâ€¦ the iCrack
My favorite forgery is another Apple knock-off, spotted by my good friends at VICE magazine in New York a while back. An unsuspecting hipster was sold a fake G5 laptop in SoHo for $200, allegedly by a passing crackhead, and VICE just happened to see him throw it in the garbage in despair, after he realized heâ€™d been duped. Intrepid newshound Tim Barber picked it up to investigate. â€œIt was way better than we ever imagined. It was a real iBook box, with a bunch of Village Voices for weight and the greatest piece of shit ever made. A fake laptop made of gray garbage bag and cardboard, spray-painted platinum silver and finished with A HAND-PAINTED APPLE LOGO DONE IN WITE-OUT.â€
Imitation is often the sincerest form of quackery.