07/26/2013 12:38 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Paris Police Seize 60 Tons of Fake Stuff That's Not Legally Fake

PARIS -- As writers go, I'm a sloppy one. I frequently fail to save my work. I don't file. I organize priorities like a wildebeest crossing a river. All of that's to my occasional chagrin since things I write turn up with some regularity on sites I didn't write them for, some of which I've never heard of. Nobody asks, they just take stuff, re-post it, sometimes with a link to the source, sometimes not. And since I could never prove damages, insofar as there are none, I just take it for granted that places like FindLaw and Sportballa will go and repost stuff to which I have a putative claim of ownership, to wit, it's mine, damn it.

Whatever. There's no such thing as bad publicity and who has the time to care about things like copyright infringement?

Apparently the Paris gendarmerie does. I read recently that authorities seized 60 tons of bootleg Eiffel Tower replicas from a warehouse near Le Bourget airport. We're talking about tin statuettes eight-centimeters in height. I don't know exactly how many of those are in 60 tons, but it's more than you can shake a baguette at.

Police have in custody a woman of Chinese nationality and, according to reports, its mostly Chinese gangs that import such trinkets from their homeland to pawn off on unsuspecting tourists, who I assume must be thinking they're buying the real Eiffel Tower.

Note to France: You've got to be kidding me. It's illegal to sell a fake copy of something fake?

Mais oui. According to the above-cited article:

Up to 300-400 black-market sellers hawk their wares around the Eiffel Tower at the height of the summer season, say police, who circulate flyers to tourists encouraging them not to buy from street sellers.

So I guess it's only legitimate to buy a chintzy bookshelf dust catcher if it's licensed by some French authority. Says me; that's fascism.

Here's an Eiffel Tower replica you can have for free and I guarantee you it's 100 percent genuine. I drew it myself.


Just right click on that rascal, choose "save image as" and voila! You've got your very own, two-dimensional, reproducible Eiffel Tower replica. I'm available for a fee to provide likenesses of similar quality of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Empire State Building, the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Hoover Dam.

Mind you, I'm totally unlicensed and I didn't ask anybody's permission to render such a true likeness of a Parisian landmark. I just up and did so without asking first because that's how I manage my affairs. It's far easier to ask forgiveness than permission.