Counterfeiting For Fun & Profit     

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5/19/2005 6:45:34 AM
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Counterfeiting For Fun & Profit
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Since he died in 1996, Tupac Shakur has become a cottage industry.

The musician sold $7 million worth of records in 2003 and has released several posthumous albums, Gartner analyst Frank Kenney said. Through remixing, his latest songs contain references to the recent Iraq war. His face has also been superimposed on actors in recent videos, so it seems like he's just been filmed.

Although some people believe Tupac might still be alive, Kenney sees the phenomenon as part of the spread of counterfeit reality.

Counterfeit reality is essentially virtual reality with fraud thrown in. After all, no one who ever donned the virtual reality glove actually believed they were wielding a battle-ax.

Conspiracy theories are sort of a national pastime. The Stamp Act riots, the grassy knoll, Roswell, black helicopters: You just don't get skullduggery like this in Holland. Most theories, of course, fail the sniff test. If Jim Morrison had faked his death, as some claim, he wouldn't

Fake documents and images will begin to creep into court cases.
now secretly be undermining the status quo. He'd be collecting Social Security and dating Shelley Winters.

Counterfeit reality is a particularly insidious variant because advances in processing power and software like Photoshop, combined with the speed of Internet publishing, make it easy for anyone to concoct a Trilateral Commission-quality plot or debunk one. Pictures are also tough to dispel.

"Psychologists say we internalize things much more readily when we see them or hear them rather than when we read them," said Daryl Plummer, another Gartner analyst.

It's rapidly gaining popularity too. Back in 2001, a number of news organizations ran photos allegedly developed from film in a disposable camera found in the rubble of the World Trade Center disaster. One of the photos seemed to show a tourist on the observation deck with a plane in the background about to slam into the building.

There were only three problems: The plane was coming from the wrong direction, it was the wrong kind of plane, and the sun was setting instead of sitting high in the morning sky. Nonetheless, many people believed the photo, and news outlets published it.

In politics, a fake photo of John Kerry and Jane Fonda at an antiwar rally purportedly from the early 1970s helped temporarily change the

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