Did you just buy the new Beatles Stereo Box set from eBay?
The set was a gift for my husband - an avid Beatles fan. He had been researching the new Beatles boxed set on-line for a few days already and had read several reviews and discussions on the Chinese fakes that were all over eBay. We thought we bought from a legit seller. When we opened the set, we saw the dreaded thin RED RIBBON pull tabs! (2/2010 Update: The newer fakes already have the black ribbon tabs.)
Then, my husband went straight to the mini-documentaries DVD and put it on the player. True enough, some Chinese characters appear before the main menu is shown. This is definitely NOT a set that has been manufactured in the USA as claimed!
Most sellers in eBay claim to sell "authentic" USA sets released by Capitol Records. If you look at the back of the set where the UPC code is, you should see an FBI Anti-Piracy Seal and Warning. If it is absent, then you obviously have NOT received a USA set (fake or otherwise).
My husband was so disappointed we went to our local warehouse club store that afternoon and got the set for $175 plus tax. We compared the two sets and took photos.
Weight: This may sound weird but we thought of weighing each set. The authentic USA set we bought from Costco weighed 4 lbs. The fake UK set we got in the mail weighed 3 lbs 11 oz. The 5 oz difference will explain the better cardboard material used for the authentic USA set. After just one day of handling the CDs to inspect them and take the pictures, the flimsy red ribbons are already frayed and the cardboard divider between the two CD compartments had already crumpled!
Misspellings and layout errors: Two of the CDs have very obvious careless mistakes which you would not expect from professional work. The fake Revolver CD has so many errors in the names of the Beatles - Paul MCCarirmy, George Harrisun, Paul McCariney, Ringo Start, Paul McCarlney (3x), George Harrieon. Robert Whitaker's credit appear as "BackcoverOKoloby" which should have read "Back Cover Color by". In the fake White Album, "Wild Honey Pie" appears twice in the track listing (in the 2nd and 3rd lines) while "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" was shortened to "The Continuing Story". You will also notice that the spacing between words and the colon separators are tighter, the font size is smaller and the font color is darker in the fake White Album.
Stickers: Some of the fake copies have green apple stickers in front of each CD. This is probably because these are fakes which were sold separately after the release of each of the remastered albums. The CDs in the authentic USA set DO NOT have any stickers.
Darker color and less contrast: As with photocopies and original documents, photocopies appear darker than the original and have less graduations in color as pixel values are normalized with adjacent values. Hence, the artwork of the CDs appear darker and do not have the subtle changes in shade. The photography in the fake CD sleeves are darker. The photography in the real CDs are a brighter sepia color.
With the fake CDs, the CD fits tightly within the jacket. In the authentic sets, the CD slides easily in and out of the jacket.
There is only ONE POCKET in the fake Past Masters pack, so the two CDs will be scratching each other when stored!
With the DVD, the apple in the label in the actual CD is redder and brighter. The apple in the fake CD is a dull brown.