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Lawmakers propose making e-commerce sites liable for counterfeits

Zej Moczydlowski
Mar 9, 2020 11:51:12 AM
Last week a bipartisan group of lawmakers outlined a bill to help the US fight back against the flow of counterfeit products coming into the country. The legislation would attempt to make e-commerce platforms liable for the sale of fake goods on their websites. The move stems from concerns that major online retailers such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart aren't doing enough to protect consumers from dangerous fakes. 
As noted in the New York Times article linked below, "The bill, called the Shop Safe Act, 'would create trademark liability for companies selling counterfeit goods that pose risks to consumer health and safety, like drugs and medical products. It would also force companies to more rigorously vet sellers who operate on their platforms and to remove counterfeit listings and those who repeatedly sell knockoffs.'" Effectively, the bill would force accountability onto e-commerce companies which are increasingly perceived to not be doing enough to protect consumers. 
The threat from illicit products sold by third-parties on e-commerce websites has been steadily documented through the past year. Numerous media outlets have performed investigations into highly dangerous counterfeits found through e-commerce sites; common items, including fake medicines and child safety products - which fail quality testing. This move by Congress to prevent such products from making their way into the hands of consumers is an important step in protecting Americans from the dangers of black market fakes. 
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The full New York Times coverage:

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