Nowadays, for practically every item, there is at least one corresponding bootleg. Bootleg has various meanings, but it generally means illegal distribution or sale of goods or piracy. Usually, these goods will be manufactured and distributed without permission or authorization and involves copyright infringement.
It would seem the bootleg industry isn’t going anywhere in the near future, seeing how many participate in it. It has gone to the point that they are sold even in malls and in legitimate stores. Of course, who wouldn’t want a bootleg when it costs less than half the price of the original? Also, it takes less capital to start up a business that sells bootlegs. It is nice, though, in terms of enabling more people to enjoy stuff that normally only those with higher economic status can afford.
Unfortunately, there are negative things about it as well:
1. Quality is often much inferior. The bootleg may be cheap but don’t expect it to last for long. They are cheap because they are manufactured cheaply. Bootlegs often fall apart more easily than the original ones. Also, you can’t expect them to be detailed. At times, they may not even look remotely close to the characters they were based upon. For collectors who are very particular or anyone who wants items that look good and last, buying legitimate products is the way to go.
2. Support for the licensed/official manufacturers is lost. Support for their products are necessary as that is where they get the revenue to produce more products. Without the revenue, where will they get the money needed to produce new anime, games, etc? Then, there will be a domino effect. If there is no new anime/game, then of course there also won’t be any new bootleg… and the rest follows.
The bootleg industry both has good and bad points but is simply unfair to those playing by the rules. How would you feel if you made the effort to follow all the rules and regulations then someone comes along, bypasses all the rules, and steals your ideas? The worst part is you end up at a loss while the other proceeds to profit off you. It instills in people that it is okay to do so. People are so used to bootlegs that they forget that they are, simply put, illegal.