Ralph Lauren And Its Lawyers Discover The Streisand Effect On Bogus DMCA Takedown

from the someone's-bright-idea dept

Will they never learn? Issuing bogus DMCA takedowns to get content down that you don't like, rather than which is actually infringing, is going to backfire. Badly. Last week, the website Photoshop Disasters put up a post showing a ridiculous Ralph Lauren ad with a woman who was too skinny to be alive. Boing Boing put up a post about it, along with the tag line "Dude, her head's bigger than her pelvis." While some have questioned whether the ad is even real, one thing is clear: Ralph Lauren was not pleased. The company's lawyers at Greenberg Traurig sent DMCA takedown notices concerning both posts. Despite Blogger's new DMCA policy, Google still quickly took down the post at Photoshop Disasters, causing the site to ask whether or not Ralph Lauren or its lawyers have ever heard of the Streisand Effect (yay). BoingBoing's host, however, doesn't automatically take content down and passed along the info to BoingBoing, who quickly pointed out that this was clearly fair use (commentary, criticism, etc.) and the DMCA takedown wasn't being used to stop infringing content, but to stifle speech.

Ralph Lauren ad


So, not surprisingly, BoingBoing put up a nice post explaining the whole thing, including a nice quote from lawyer Wendy Seltzer about fair use... and, of course, another version of the image, and dared Ralph Lauren to sue. Hopefully Ralph Lauren and its lawyers get the message and offer a quick apology. In the meantime, it makes you wonder what the hell anyone was thinking in sending out such a bogus DMCA. Do people really not recognize the consequences?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Designerfx (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:10am

    old vs new

    In the days pre-internet, this would have gone on without a peep unless the MSM decided to pick it up, and speech would have been stifled and done.

    since the MSM does such a crappy job (hey, at least they're consistent), nowadays other people do a better job of covering relevant news and thus situations like this don't just pass by without people knowing.

     

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      pixelpusher220 (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 10:46am

      Re: old vs new

      reposting this higher in the threaded view so more can see it.

      google cache of the original link that was pulled down.

      http://tinyurl.com/LookHereRalph

       

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      FishWrap, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

      Re: old vs new

      Designerfx,

      "In the days pre-internet" I don't think the DMCA would have applied. Thus there would have been no method to stifle anyone's speech.

      fw

       

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      JJ, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 4:55pm

      Re: old vs new

      So true, so true, the new media are the people themselves. I hope this trend continues, despite the resultant poor grammar. I'll take good information and poor writing over faulty information and mediocre writing any day.

       

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:17am

    Heh.

    "Hopefully Ralph Lauren and its lawyers get the message and offer a quick apology."

    More likely they'll realize their mistake and just shut up, allowing this to fade.

     

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      interval, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 10:05am

      Re: Heh.

      "More likely they'll realize their mistake and just shut up..."

      I hope for their sake you're right. Any bets on if this will be the case however?

       

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    Kevin, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    RL may not sue, but the model will.

    Now I do not agree with the reasoning, but watch a lawyer try to pull a defamation lawsuit for the model. She really does look like that and just really needs a cheeseburger.

     

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:28am

      Re: RL may not sue, but the model will.

      "Now I do not agree with the reasoning, but watch a lawyer try to pull a defamation lawsuit for the model. She really does look like that and just really needs a cheeseburger."

      Loooooooots of cheeseburgers...

       

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      Joanne King, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 6:57am

      Re: RL may not sue, but the model will.

      The model is Filippa Hamilton and she has stated clearly this is NOT her body. At 5' 10" and 120 lbs, she was recently fired by Ralph Lauren for being "too fat".

       

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      SGK, Oct 21st, 2009 @ 7:42am

      Re: RL may not sue, but the model will.

      actually, the model appeared on morning news show before this hit the blogsphere: Ralph Lauren told her to take a hike before this pic showed up as a legit ad only available in Asia...when she found out about it, she filed a suit against Ralph Lauren for using her image to portray a sickeningly impossible female body.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:27am

    Mmmmmm.... big heads....

     

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    kevjohn (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:34am

    what I want to know is....

    How much is Ralphie charging for those plain ass clothes? Those are designer?

    FWIW, I know a few women with figures like this. Most are from corset training.

     

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      Esahc (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:54am

      Re: what I want to know is....

      I knew a goth girl in my youth that could pull her corset to tight you could put both hands around her waist and touch your finger tips. It was quite disturbing. The really odd thing was, she had normal eating habits.

       

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 9:16am

      Re: what I want to know is....

      "How much is Ralphie charging for those plain ass clothes? Those are designer?"

      Yeah, I'm with you. The thinnicity of the girl aside, those clothes are just plain goddam awful.

      If my girl came out of our bedroom wearing those, it'd be a quick, "Hey, the extremely gay lumberjack convention is NEXT weekend, woman. Now get back in there and change into something that doesn't remind me of a Monty Python sketch."

       

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 9:24am

      Re: what I want to know is....

      Not a figure like that (definitely not a head like that). You can shrink your waste to insanely small proportions but not your ribs or your hips (At least not if you want to still be alive and standing).

      Remember this add. It marks where the skinny obsession has gone too far. Where obtaining this look would require the person to not be alive (or a physical deformity that I've never heard of before). This is why the French are bitching about photoshop.

       

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        ChrisB (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re: what I want to know is....

        The weird thing is models are not supposed to be attractive. Models are walking clothes hangers, therefore they must not detract from the clothes. You can't have women with big breasts or hips (which are truly sexy) modeling clothes because no one would look at the clothes. Add to that the fact that many top designers are gay men, who may not appreciate the female form the way straight men do, and you end up with models who are actually quite disgusting. But for some strange reason, they are thought to be beautiful.

        Further, I get annoyed when "society" is blamed for skinny obsessions and anorexic kids. The reality is kids learn those behaviours from their parents.

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 11:50am

          Re: Re: Re: what I want to know is....

          "Further, I get annoyed when "society" is blamed for skinny obsessions and anorexic kids. The reality is kids learn those behaviours from their parents."

          You and I must see two distinctly different sets of parents on the streets, my friend. Every time I'm running up the stairs to catch the El and I have to sqeeze by the four people that standing sideways manage to take up the entire width of the escalator I think about what a wonderful living I could make as a dietary consultant.

          Of course, my "program" would just consist of karate chopping people's hands everytime they reached for food, but the point is results, people, results!

           

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          Lobar, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 11:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: what I want to know is....

          On a serious note for a second: children learn by mimicry when they are very young, they conform as the next stage. It would be the parent(s)' fault for not realizing something is wrong, but they may not be to blame for the initial behavior.

           

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        Eldakka, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:41pm

        Re: Re: what I want to know is....

        There are cases where competitors in beauty pageants would have a lower pair (or more) of ribs surgically removed to make a more pleasing (theoretically at least) shape.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    "In the meantime, it makes you wonder what the hell anyone was thinking in sending out such a bogus DMCA. Do people really not recognize the consequences?"

    The consequences should be huge punitive damages.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:47am

    Is it an actual ad? If not, or if it's photoshopped to make her skinnier, it seems like there might well be a valid trademark claim here...

     

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      Brooks (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:58am

      Re:

      1) The DMCA doesn't cover trademarks

      2) Even if the ad were photoshopped to make her skinnier, it would clearly be protected as both parody and commentary

      Trademarks serve to protect brands from imposters, not to give the owner total control over any appearance of the marks anywhere.

       

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      How Old Are You?, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 9:43am

      Re:

      Ummm they photo-shop women all of the time to make them skinnier - how is that a copyright claim?

       

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    GregSJ (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 9:10am

    "In the meantime, it makes you wonder what the hell anyone was thinking in sending out such a bogus DMCA. Do people really not recognize the consequences?"

    Apparently someone doesn't as this continues to happen. It's either poor lawyering or clients who are unwilling to heed their lawyers' advice (I'm guessing the first). To me this is a sign that I will be successful post law school even in this over crowded JD market; it is clear that too many people don't understand the legal and business implications of their decisions.

     

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      Brooks (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 9:34am

      Re:

      Agreed. Some of the best legal advice I've ever gotten was to not do anything. Unfortunately, there's a built in conflict of interest; getting this kind of advice is like asking a roofer if you should hire him to repair your roof.

      If you communicate to prospective clients that you understand that business goals indicate using legal action sparingly, and that you're not looking to maximize billable hours by maximizing legal engagement, you'll do just fine in the market.

       

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      Eldakka (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:48pm

      Re:

      It's either poor lawyering or clients who are unwilling to heed their lawyers' advice

      Which makes the lawyer more money?

      • Advising their client there is no case; or
      • Advising their client they can send out some DMCA takedowns,
        then dealing with the responses and and further letters and other fallout?

      Answer that question and I think you'll have why so many bogus DMCA takedowns get sent out.

       

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    Lucretious, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 9:11am

    God, she's disgusting.

     

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    Hoeppner, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 9:47am

    We're in the Internet age. Which means that if you apologize for something more people are going to know about it. You know your favorite Streisand effect.

     

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    Will, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 9:49am

     

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    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 10:23am

    Skinny Legs and All...

    I don't see what the big deal is... In fact I don't think they went far enough. Girls need to trim down, like this:

    http://i36.tinypic.com/dbpqj6.jpg

    Hey, isn't that Sandra Bernhard?

    CBMHB

     

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    Whisk33, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 10:23am

    Bogus DMCA

    Why is this bogus? It uses says Ralph Lauren right on the picture... that would make me think it was from Ralph Lauren... isn't that what DMCA is for? Am I missing something?

     

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      Anonymous Poster, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 10:36am

      Re: Bogus DMCA

      Yes, the image is a Ralph Lauren ad.

      The DMCA was issued to keep Photoshop Disasters from making fun of the skinny model in the ad; BoingBoing saw right through it and denied the DMCA, while Blogger took it down (despite saying they've improved their DMCA process).

      The DMCA was being used to stifle free speech (in this case, parody/satire/social commentary), and Ralph Lauren and their lawyers are going to learn what the Streisand Effect can do.

      Hope they have fun with trying to DMCA the entire Internet.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 2:55pm

      Re: Bogus DMCA

      yes, you failed by not reading the article!!!

      RTFA!!!

       

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    DocMenach (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 10:47am



    Yes, you are missing the fact that there is nothing wrong or illegal with posting a Ralph Lauren ad and commenting about it. There is no infringement going on here (fair use, they are commenting on an actual Ralph Lauren ad, not trying to pass something off as a Ralph Lauren ad that isn't.) Therefore the DMCA is bogus.

     

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    DocMenach (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 10:48am

    Why is this bogus? It uses says Ralph Lauren right on the picture... that would make me think it was from Ralph Lauren... isn't that what DMCA is for? Am I missing something?

    Yes, you are missing the fact that there is nothing wrong or illegal with posting a Ralph Lauren ad and commenting about it. There is no infringement going on here (fair use, they are commenting on an actual Ralph Lauren ad, not trying to pass something off as a Ralph Lauren ad that isn't.) Therefore the DMCA is bogus.

     

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    Jamowa, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 7:29pm

    Google's fast disappearing cojones!

    "Despite Blogger's new DMCA policy, Google still quickly took down the post at Photoshop Disasters"...I am so disappointed in Google (ISP). Ever since they caved into to Chinese Gov't demands to filter search results for Chinese users, it seems their cojones have shrunk to the size of grapes.

     

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    Griff (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 1:52am

    Skinny teenagers ?

    Point 1

    Kids these days generally are not skinny. Overweight kids (boys and girls) far outweigh the small numbers who have anorexia. Shifting the population bell curve towards the slim end would not be a crisis.

    Point 2

    I find the idea that skinny Parisian catwalk models are responsible for teenage anorexia to be garbage. If you look at a teenager's role model it is more likely to be a TV or movie actress or a pop star (or a sports figure), than some skeleton in New York wearing a dress that looks like a cake.
    These pop stars are all generally fairly fit, well proportioned people. Most pop stars these days perform dance routines (not so many pale goths in teen culture these days) and if a teenager with half a brain cell wants to look like their role model they know it will take 200 sit ups and some running, not starvation.
    So if there are anoprexic kids, it's isn;t coming from skinny models.

    It is the adults around them, and the advertising, that messes kids up. Regardless of target weight, the problem is the prevalence of ideas that
    a) self esteem is inseparable from looks
    b) changing one's body shape is caused by dieting, not a change in exercise habits. This is the predominant dietary message of all advertising that is targeted at the teenager's mother.

    If kids eat proper food and do the hour a day of proper exercise they need, the amount they eat won't actually be an issue.



    Back to the original post....

    I have not yet understood for certain whether the original photoshopping was done by Ralph Lauren (RL) or was part of the parody. I assume the latter, so has anyone located the original ?

    I'd have thought that showing the parody without making it clear this was photoshopped (and not by RL)was defaming RL (implying RL condoned skinny models).
    But DCMA ? It's a transformative work, surely.

     

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      DocMenach (profile), Oct 12th, 2009 @ 11:40am

      Re: Skinny teenagers ?

      Most pop stars these days perform dance routines (not so many pale goths in teen culture these days) and if a teenager with half a brain cell wants to look like their role model they know it will take 200 sit ups and some running, not starvation.

      Unfortunately many people don't realize(and your statement seems to reinforce) the fact that in order to be healthy and lean you have to have both good nutrition and exercise. Exercise alone while ignoring your body dietary needs is extremely unhealthy. Also, there is actually more than one type of Anorexia. One form of Anorexia involves overexercising, where a person may exercise for 6-10 hours per day. This type of Anorexia actually causes even more problems than just not eating.

       

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    Fin, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 5:01am

    People should stop guessing whether it's photoshoped or not. It is. Ask ANY graphic designer. Human proportions completely ignored. Both arms have been enlarged but the right arm is priceless. Check her right wrist and tell me that's a normal wrist. Hand enlarged too. It's so lousy it's hilarious! Also where does the left hand end? They also got carried away with the liquify filter - Head-hips proportions, waist shrinking, leg stretching. This is not a super skinny model. This WAS a super skinny model photoshoped into fantasy. F***king fashion fascists!

    Photoshop disasters have many like this. It is a widespread phenomena in the faSShion industry. The only difference is RL think they can use the power of money to silence criticism. What a bunch of idiots!

    See for yourself
    http://i36.tinypic.com/zjjg8x.jpg

     

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    Fin, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 5:09am

    Forgot to add. Real model here
    http://tiny.cc/IRTM2

    And a reference to actual human proportions.
    http://tiny.cc/Y2k3l

     

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    identicon
    david, Oct 11th, 2009 @ 1:30pm

    More Exposure

    Rachel Maddow covered this story on Friday. :)

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/33250063#33250063

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Babs O'Streisand, Oct 24th, 2009 @ 6:21pm

    more streisand effect bs from Masssnick

    I can't believe this tool Masnick is still pushing his stoooopid Streisand Effect crap. Seriously moron, get a friggin life.

     

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    identicon
    Ben, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 10:57pm

    ResellerRatings.com bogus DMCA

    How do you publicize a bogus DMCA take down when neither the company that field it or the company they filed it against will comment on it? ResellerRatings.com filed a bogus DMCA against complaintsboard.com in order to have a discussion regarding ResellerRatings.com skewing reviews in favor of sites that subsribe to their "service" apparently they had a problem with people using the word extortion when mentioning their policies that bar a response from any merchant that will not pay them a monthly fee.

    You can still view the google cached version here.

    http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:BuDQWkmWCssJ:www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/resell erratingscom-c94794.html%3Fsort%3Ddated+complaints+board+resellerratings&cd=1&hl=en&ct=c lnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

     

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    identicon
    Polo Ralph Lauren, Sep 5th, 2010 @ 8:27pm

    I know thant .thanks!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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