Bootlegging is the illegal production or distribution of goods, most commonly of inferior quality capitalizing on a quality brand name but also simply to get around regulations. Most commonly thought of as during the prohibition era of the United States, where bootleggers produced and sold alcohol to get around high taxes and legal restrictions, the term currently encompasses many forms of intellectual property theft including (but not limited to) pirated movies, pirated music, copied (counterfeit) designer clothing and jewellery and unlicensed reproduction of other forms of entertainment media including remixed music.
Bootlegging got its start in the 1920s in the United States when customs duties were applied to shipments of alcohol and the earliest bootleggers are thought to be the sources of modern organized crime (mafia families). As recently as the 1970s in New York City (untaxed cigarettes), the 1990s in Canada (smuggled stolen cigarettes) and the 2000s (counterfeit or stolen high-priced designer clothing and accessories), bootlegging has flourished in this country and others.
Major sporting events and concerts also face bootlegging. With the advent of modern printing technology, especially wax-based tektronix phasers, it is possible to create authentic-looking seals for tickets, packaging and other materials normally used to certify materials as authentic. In 2010, it is estimated that 1000s of bootlegged Super Bowl tickets were counterfeits sold by bootleggers to unsuspecting sports fans.
Additional modern bootlegging examples come from the high tech industry. Companies manufacture one class of electronic device, a DVD recorder for example, and a bootlegger repackages the device to appear to be a more expensive model. The bootlegger sells the higher priced model at a cut rate, for which the consumer asks no questions and completes the transaction, only to return home and discover the scam. Large cities like New York City have open markets lined with vendors selling poorly packaged copies of just-released motion pictures and poorly labeled knock-off fragrances of expensive designers like Versace.
Bootlegging in the R&D Departments of High-Technology Firms: Employees Who Bootleg Generally Do So for the Good of the Organization, and Bootlegged Projects Frequently Lead to Product Innovations
Sep 01, 2012; Employees in the R&D departments of high-technology companies sometimes pursue the development of their own innovation ideas...
Bootlegging charges rarely filed for college parties; Students sell beer without a license, often to cover the cost of the event
Nov 29, 2004; IOWA CITY (AP) - bootlegging can mean big bucks for college students who want to raise some quick cash, but police say...