This is a study of the semiotics of counterfeit products. Beginning with an analysis of a number of piracy-related activities taking place in China, I look at how and why China is understood by the world as a pirate nation. Through a careful reading of the counterfeit product as a material object, my study aims at demythologizing the relation between China and piracy, and I relate the logic of the counterfeit to the logic of capitalism. I argue that piracy is a result of global capitalism rather than to do with the character of a particular people, and I demonstrate the urgent need to establish a politics of mimetic reading, which refuses to be shut down by capitalist discourse, such as that produced by the intellectual property rights regime.
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