Buying counterfeit goods in New York could soon be made illegal if a proposed law is passed.  The effect:  shoppers could find themselves presented with a fine or, in extreme cases, a jail sentence, if caught buying a counterfeit bag.

A bill was first put forward in 2011 to outlaw counterfeit shopping and punish the purchaser.  According to the bill, shoppers caught purchasing counterfeit goods can be charged with fines up to US$1,000 or a year in prison, provided that the buyer “knew or should have known” that the product was counterfeit, based on the quality, price and sale location.

Now, New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin is making a renewed push to get the bill passed, reports the Telegraph.  Though it is currently illegal to manufacture and sell counterfeit goods, it’s still happening and will continue to happen as long as there is demand for them.  So, Chin is hoping that the bill will reduce the demand.

A new hearing for the bill is expected to take place in the next couple of months.  Although, even if the bill is passed, enforcement may be difficult as it will require shoppers to be caught in the act of purchasing counterfeit goods.  This will require an increased police presence on the ground, which would require greater public spending.  So, whether or not the proposed anti-counterfeit law would have any effect in practice remains to be seen, although it may nonetheless serve as a useful deterrent to some.  Another case of watch this space.