Thought you guys might like to hear that my school is taking a stand on fake merchandis. I guess it it important to remember every product can be replicated, not just purses! I should get involved with this group. This is from The Lantern. OSU 'Gets Real' about fakes Dustin Smith Issue date: 2/2/07 Section: Arts A school bus in India crashes because of brake pads made of compressed sawdust; in 1995 in Niger, a fake vaccine results in 2,500 deaths during a meningitis epidemic; a Columbus suburban housewife is arrested for throwing replica Louis Vuitton purse parties. Welcome to the world of counterfeiting, where sweatshops, human trafficking and funds tied to organized crime have their place. Counterfeit product sales generate an estimated $600 billion a year worldwide and production has grown more than 10,000 percent in the past two decades, according to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. The counterfeiting industry has the attention of the United Nations, the World Heath Organization and the World Trade Organization, the FBI, and Ohio State members of the Public Relations Student Society of America, to name a few. Although buying counterfeit goods is legal, production and sale of them are against U.S. federal laws and most states' laws. "I hope that people aren't just thinking about the corporations but also how buying counterfeited goods is affecting them," said Lauren Fogarty, member of the OSU chapter of PRSSA. "I wish consumers would consider child labor, terrorism, and criminal activity before they buy counterfeit." Fogarty is also the student organizer of the "Get Real" campaign at OSU. The campaign's purpose is to educate college students about the unintended consequences of purchasing counterfeit products. This quarter, Get Real will hold events at local fraternity and sorority chapters with interactive presentations where those who can correctly identify real products from fake ones can win gift cards. Even Fogarty said she admits she is not always able to identify a fake from the real thing. "The thing that hit home with me is that a lot of birth control bought over the Internet is counterfeit," Fogarty said. Shocking as it might seem, counterfeit prescription medications are finding their way to consumers through store shelves and Internet sales, said Kelly Castle, Councilwoman to the Professional Investigating and Consulting Agency. "Not all consumers know they're buying fakes," Castle said. "If it can be made and manufactured, it can be counterfeited. The damage takes away American jobs and makes a legitimate product more expensive. The factories violate civil rights, employ child labor for 14 to 15 hours a day. It's slave labor." Initially, it might be easy to feel indifferent. After all, buying a fake Gucci purse for $20, or a pair of fake Nikes for $15 seems like an easy way to damn the man and hang with fashion trends. But luxury goods account for only four percent of the counterfeit problem. "The harm may not be obvious on the surface but it's there and it's very significant," said Travis Johnson, Councilman of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition in Washington, D.C. Johnson said automotive, airline, pharmaceutical and electronic manufacturers are all fighting to stop counterfeiting because it poses a threat to consumer health and safety. "The threat also comes from things you don't see, like more teachers or emergency services, police and firemen," Johnson said.