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?

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Companies: ralph lauren

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Comments on “Ralph Lauren And Its Lawyers Discover The Streisand Effect On Bogus DMCA Takedown”

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55 Comments
Designerfx (profile) says:

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.

SGK says:

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.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

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.”

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

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.

ChrisB (profile) says:

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.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

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!

GregSJ (profile) says:

“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.

Brooks (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Eldakka (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Poster says:

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.

DocMenach (profile) says:

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.

Griff (profile) says:

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.

DocMenach (profile) says:

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.

Fin says:

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

Ben (profile) says:

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/resellerratingscom-c94794.html%3Fsort%3Ddated+complaints+board+resellerratings&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

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