Everyone knows about fake handbags at the beach and replica brand name sunglasses on the internet. But who is behind such goods, who gains and who loses by them, and who puts themselves at risk?
On Sunday, the Stop Piracy association is opening its third season of the special exhibition on counterfeiting and piracy called, “Beguiling Appearance – Murky Shadows?” at the Swiss Customs Museum in Cantine di Gandria (Lugano).
Smuggler-hunting border guards once lived in the Swiss Customs Museum, which is why the façade of the museum is currently adorned with a pirate hook. Visitors to the special exhibition are quick to realise, however, that counterfeiting and piracy is a special form of criminal activity. Whether copying brands or breaching copyright on the internet, piracy is the equivalent of destroying a product.
The size and scope of counterfeit goods is impressively demonstrated in a dimly lit forger’s workshop. The assortment of fake products – from car brakes and household appliances to toothbrushes – is startling. Visitors track the criminals through the exhibition and discover what can happen when buying a fake. An abandoned locker tells the fictional story of a watch worker whose employer has had to cut jobs in the production department due to brand piracy. Another section of the exhibition calls for solidarity with creative minds.
Last season, more than 8,000 visitors went to see the special exhibition within an almost 200-day period. Open from mid-March until mid-October, the Customs Museum is a major attraction and is very popular with families and schools. The Museo delle Culture (MUSEC), which conducts guided tours specifically for school classes, has been entrusted with running the exhibition this season and has also set up an attractive shop inside the museum.
Fédération de l'industrie horlogère suisse