Sunday, August 05, 2007


None of my readers admitted that he or she would buy imitation, knockoff goods if traveling in mainland China, even if the vendors there were offering a fake $200 "designer" handbag for $25.

Some readers, such as one who asked to remain anonymous, see the issue as simple: stolen is stolen.

"A stolen design is a crime," the anonymous reader writes. "Someone who buys stolen items is complicit in a crime. No gray areas here."

Others, such as Delbert Alexander of Windsor, Ontario, observed that, one way or another, you pay for everything you buy.

"When the copycat pen leaves an ink stain on your knockoff Hugo Boss suit," Alexander writes, "you'll know you got what you paid for."

Check out other opinions at SOUND OFF: KNOCK IT OFF, or post your own here by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

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