North Face Continues To File Questionable Legal Claims Against Parodies

from the again? dept

Remember outdoor clothing company The North Face's ridiculously counterproductive war against The South Butt parody line of clothes? That involved a bogus lawsuit with a variety of twists and turns, eventually leading to a settlement. There was an epilogue, however, as the guy who had started The South Butt reformed as Butt Face. And, of course, all this did was make The North Face look silly and unable to take a joke.

It appears that the company has not developed a sense of humor yet. Jake Rome points us to a story of how The North Face has filed takedown notices to Flickr/Yahoo, because a guy had posted some photos of parody patches for "Hey Fuck Face." You can see the main image here.
This photo was taken down, as were a few other photos, mostly of the patch attached to a gun. The fact that those images are up is because the user, "mr.smashy," filed a counter notice and so far it appears that The North Face has chosen not to go the legal route.
Dear mr.smashy,

We have received a Notice of Infringement from The North
Face
VF Outdoor, Inc. via the Yahoo! Copyright/IP Team and
have removed the following photo(s) from your photostream:

"Hey Fuck Face":
www.flickr.com/photos/wmode/3239565297/
"hey fuck face":
www.flickr.com/photos/wmode/230342956/
"AR-15 A4 MWS":
www.flickr.com/photos/wmode/3466868577/
"Buttstock Mag Pouch":
www.flickr.com/photos/wmode/3274481679/
"BWUSA": www.flickr.com/photos/wmode/1425898484/

Subsequent Notices of Infringement filed against your
account will result in further action that may include
termination without warning.
mr.smashy notes that his counter notice claimed fair use, pointing out that the patch is a parody and that he's not actually selling anything, so there's no issue of commercial usage. He also sent the takedown to ChillingEffects (good move!). This really seems like yet another overzealous move by lawyers at the North Face misinterpreting the need to "protect" their trademark. Let the parodies live and people will love your brand. Go after them like this and it just turns people off completely.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

    Design

    He came up with the design after reading some comments from OOTB, boB, and average_joe.

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    DH's Love Child (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Design

    Well, at least the moniker.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 1:40pm

    Hey Fuck Face in The South Butt

    The North Face logo looks a lot like a couple of Slinkies doing it doggy style.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

    Interesting, it looks like the guy pixelated the logo on his hat (presumably that one was not a parody) in one of the pictures

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wmode/1425898484/

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:50pm

    he calls himself mr.smashy and has a gun.
    yeah... that'll work out well...

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 3:24am

    Re:

    Hulk smash gun.

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    jakerome (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 8:33am

    Sweet!

    Thanks for picking up the story. The good news part of this story is that since Flickr reformed their take down process, fraudulent notices now only result in temporary removal of the images. Still a lot of misconceptions in the Flickr community that Flickr "must" immediately comply with a takedown notice, as if there are automatic penalties for inquiring with the subject first or evaluating the validity of the notice themselves.

    But hey, one step at a time.

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    JustMe (profile), Nov 29th, 2012 @ 11:15am

    This is why I stopped buying North Face

    True story

     

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


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