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World Cup merchandise, legit and otherwise

For fans visiting South Africa, World Cup merchandise is available everywhere. Much of it, however, is cheap knockoffs undermining legitimate business. Exit the N1 -- the super highway linking Johannesburg and Pretoria and the equivalent of I-95 in the States -- and vendors are waiting at the traffic lights (the signals are known as "robots" here). Flags, jerseys, caps, vuvuzelas, Zakumi, you name it. A stop at an intersection is like a Wal-Mart drive-thru.

Smart entrepreneurs take advantage of their location: Near the U.S. hotel in Irene, roadside vendors cater to those en route to Centurion Country Club by selling bags of golf balls.

Reuters produced this video report on bogus merchandise and the subsequent crackdown:


By Steve Goff  |  June 4, 2010; 4:33 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , South Africa  | Tags: South Africa, World Cup  
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Next: U.S. World Cup news & notes

Comments

So, did you pick up some cheap stuff for Wife of Insider? Don't worry, we won't tell.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 4, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Karen beware: Steve will walk in the door in six weeks declaring, "Honey, you won't believe how much money I saved on these jerseys!"

Posted by: dcarmy | June 4, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

OT: Arles gained promotion to Ligue 1.

Gogh team!

Yes, I got up early just to post this comment.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 4, 2010 7:14 AM | Report abuse

What exactly constitutes a "fake flag"?

Posted by: Wendell_Gee | June 4, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised at no comments on Mexico's beat-down of Italy. This on the heals of outplaying-but-losing to England and a not-bad show against the Netherlands. I'd say they are well-poised to win Group A. And France isn't.

Posted by: glfrazier | June 4, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Wendell, I was wondering if a "fake t-shirt" was more or less comfortable than a real one?

Posted by: DadRyan | June 4, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

What exactly constitutes a "fake flag"?

Posted by: Wendell_Gee | June 4, 2010 7:47 AM

+1. You can't tell me there's an "Official" flag you are supposed to buy. Would Sepp stoop so low as to confiscate unofficial flags at the gates to the stadiums? Can you not bring your own flag from home to hold up? Are you supporting pirates and terrorism by displaying your own counterfeit flag "in the eyes of FIFA"?

Please flesh this out for me Steven. I'm in a panic right now wondering if I need to burn all my flags at home right now and buy a FIFA-ApprovedĀ® United States of America flag for display at my house on Arbor Day, President's Day and, of course, Flag Day.

Thx,

Jay!

Posted by: jayrockers | June 4, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

What exactly constitutes a "fake flag"?
Posted by: Wendell_Gee
=========

When the ref pulls it out of his pants but doesn't throw it. Psych!

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 4, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Steve - you mention something that I was wondering about. Has FIFA ruled whether SA fans can "play" vuvuzelas during the game. I know they were an annoyance during the tournament last year. What is the future of vuvuzelas??

Posted by: Croftonsoccer | June 4, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

One of my all-time favorite purchases was a $5 t-shirt commemorating the 1994 world cup matches at "RFK Staduim." If it wasn't bootleg when made, it became bootleg with the misspelling. I got it at 19th and East Capitol before watching Norway beat Mexico, 1:0.

Posted by: hungrypug | June 4, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Please bring back one vuvuzela, one authentic jersey (Brazil? Sockeroos? USA?) for Son of Insider and one souvenir from the diamond mine.

Posted by: karengoff | June 4, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

If we're going to complain about abuse of this blog, requesting samples from diamond mines by a VERY close relative of one of the bloggers just takes the cake :)

Posted by: Croftonsoccer | June 4, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

If we're going to complain about abuse of this blog, requesting samples from diamond mines by a VERY close relative of one of the bloggers just takes the cake :)

Posted by: Croftonsoccer | June 4, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

The policeman raises a good point about official jerseys being made in South Africa, and how knockoffs from China are undercutting that, but otherwise, it seems like the counterfit market is really a redistribution of wealth from the formal to informal channels. That guy on the street is benefiting, and I don't see a problem with that.

Posted by: WorldCup | June 4, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I don't know, that "policeman's" uniform looks like a knock off to me...

Posted by: DadRyan | June 4, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"cheap knockoffs undermining legitimate business"

This is so wrong I don't know where to begin.

Once was, anybody could sell a shirts that said "Washington Redskins", even displaying their logo. In the 70's and 80's the NFL and MLB, represented by some very clever lawyers, went after sellers of such merchandise. They were buoyed by consumer studies (done by a social scientist who has since been disgraced by a series of cases in which his shameless rigging of studies was detailed; I myself was involved in one of them) that purported to show that SOME consumers believed there to be an association between such shirts and the team itself. But really what they were arguing was that they needed to profit from these sales to stay in business. The major leagues obtained the right to forbid the sale of such merchandise without permission from the team or the league -- that is, without paying them off.

Of course, once they won those cases, consumers could properly be said to believe that the shirts were sponsored by the teams, so the teams' trademark rights were solidly established.

The courts were wrong back in the 7's and 80's when they were bamboozled into these rulings, and we fans should have no sympathy whatsoever for the fact that US Soccer makes us pay $92 bucks (or $99) for the right to wear a jersey that proudly proclaims our support for and identification Charlie Davies or Landon Donovan.

Buy those ersatz jerseys when you can! I am glad to hear they are widely available.

But beware: there was a World Cup not so long ago when hundred of fans who showed up in orange pants not endorsed by the Dutch national team were forced to take them off coming into the stadium.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | June 4, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

They had to enter the stadium with no pants on?

Posted by: bourassa1 | June 4, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the story kicks off an excellent paper by law professors Mark Lemley and Mark McKenna on how trademark law has got to be a bit too big for its britches (pun intended)

http://www.justinhughes.net/IPSC2009/pdf/lemley-mark.pdf

Posted by: DCUSince96 | June 4, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

They had to enter the stadium with no pants on?
Posted by: bourassa1
=========

Amsterdam's Red Light District is a moveable feast. Ernest Hemingway

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 4, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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