Diddy, Sean John Aim To Stamp Out Fake Clothing In Canada

ImageSean "Diddy" Combs is firing the first shot in a war against those selling counterfeit versions of his Sean John Canada clothing line.

On Tuesday (Dec. 5), the company launched "Don't Buy a Lie," an anti-counterfeit campaign designed to promote and generate awareness about the country's counterfeiting issues through an alliance with Canadian media, celebrities, retailers and consumers.

Celebrities involved in the program include Diddy, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors, Judge Farley Flex, Kardinal Offishall, DJ Starting From Scratch, video producer Little X, actor Degrassi and Hip-Hop artist Drake.

"Canadian consumers need to know what they are buying is authentic," Rosa Costa, Sean John Canada president and general manager, said in a statement. "Counterfeits are poorly constructed, made of cheap fabric and use flimsy hardware. They do not deliver Sean John's hallmark of high quality; and we are committed to driving awareness as we do not want our consumers fooled."

Counterfeit items have run rampant throughout the Canadian market.

The trade has cost the Canadian apparel industry millions of dollars each year.

Sean John is among a number of companies affected by knockoff versions of clothing sold at flea markets, street corners, retail stores and Internet sites.

As a result, the clothing giant's Canadian distributor Multigroup acquired legal and investigative services to combat the problem.

The action resulted in the seizure of thousands of pieces of Sean John clothing by local authorities.

To ensure buyers get legitimate Sean John apparel, the campaign will incorporate exclusive hang tags color-coded by season, counter cards at cash registers and stickers in storefronts at authorized dealers.

The tag colors, which will change seasonally with shipments, can be verified online at www.dontbuyalie.com.

"Don't Buy a Lie" counter cards advising customers to look for the hang tags when purchasing Sean John can be found in all authorized Sean John dealers.

"Our hope is that the Don't Buy a Lie program is a vehicle for educating consumers who are buying counterfeit goods," said Lorne M. Lipkus, an anti-countefeiting attorney. "Consumers are supporting makers who operate in non-authorized factories with deplorable labor conditions that have no respect for standards set forward by many national and international agencies. Not only do they have no code of conduct, but they do not respect minimum salaries, and very often use child labor."

Selling fake products can result in criminal charges as well as charges under the Copyright Act and Customs Act.

A conviction under copyright law could result in a $1-million fine and five years in prison.

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