DHS Agents Raid Lingerie Shop, Save America From Unlicensed Underwear

from the ever-vigilant-agency-on-top-of-nation's-bottoms dept

Your homeland has never been more secure. (h/t to Techdirt reader jupiterkansas)

“They came in and there were two guys” Honig said. “I asked one of them what size he needed and he showed me a badge and took me outside. They told me they were from Homeland Security and we were violating copyright laws.”

Peregrine Honig runs a lingerie shop in Kansas City. Not coincidentally, her shop was raided by DHS agents just as the World Series commenced. The target? “Boy shorts” sporting an approximation of the Kansas City Royals logo as well as the cheekily-applied phrase (yes, pun completely intended) “Take the crown.”

For purely illustrative purposes, here’s the last known photo of the item now in the temporary possession of the Dept. of Homeland Security.

They placed the underwear in an official Homeland Security bag and had Honig sign a statement saying she wouldn’t use the logo.

Which she technically didn’t. It was her own drawing, but the DHS agents pointed out that “connecting the K and C” turned it into the protected property of a major league baseball franchise.

Up until the fortuitously-timed DHS raid, Honig had experienced no problems with law enforcement.

“We’d had so many cops come in and buy these,” Peregrine Honig says.

The DHS has yet to comment on its pre-World Series panty raid. Neither has ICE, which is also usually fairly active in the days leading up to major sporting events. Neither agency has bothered to issue a press release about the hard work done in service to the multibillion-dollar entities currently attempting to “take the crown.”

Honig, however, has provided plenty of color commentary, including the fact that these particular DHS agents didn’t appear to be reveling in their petty IP enforcement efforts.

She says you could tell “they [DHS agents] felt like they were kicking a puppy.”

At least there’s still a little shame left in overzealous trademark enforcement. This is part of what your $39 billion a year in mandatory contributions gets you: a few dozen pairs of underwear seized, most likely at a cost exceeding the retail value of the “counterfeit” goods.

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Companies: major league baseball

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Comments on “DHS Agents Raid Lingerie Shop, Save America From Unlicensed Underwear”

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56 Comments
Harry Payne (profile) says:

The UK's ahead of the US on this

The UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft has a long-running campaign telling end-user scum that buying dodgy discs funds organised crime and generally leads to arson, rape and bloody murder. (I may exaggerate a little here.)

I’m sure that for a reasonable licencing fee the DHS could adapt this to something on the lines of “If you buy unauthorised merchandise, you’re funding ISIL”.

AricTheRed says:

Re: Well at least..

Sadly it is a win, it is however a loss in the 1 Million game series of .gov vs. We The People.

let’s tick the boxes, shall we?

1. No due process
2. Possible violation of civil rights, Peregrine Honig is an woman from San Francisco, so we got 1. Woman owned businees person at least, 2. she is an artist, went to art school and based on wifeys re telling of art school she was gay at least for a minute…
3. No due process.
4. did I mention the due process bit?

.gov Again depriving the American People of hot-pants, privacy and civil-rights…

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Well at least..

I’m half expecting that gun bot to hop in here to comment on how our little guarantor of freedom is going to resolve this. It ain’t.

We need to encourage each other to stop voting the same chumps in who make crap like this legal. We also need to kick up more of a fuss to embarrass them into stopping it.

TheResidentSkeptic says:

This could be fun...

… “No Sir Your Honor, I was NOT taking upskirt photos, I was inspecting her to make sure she wasn’t wearing illegal underwear”

This will spawn a whole new generation of Female Body Inspectors and Underwear Examiners…

Upcoming generations of schoolboys cheer this wonderful new idea from DHS.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Why confiscation?

I am confused as to why DHS felt the need to be involved at all, and why they bothered confiscating the underwear. This isn’t a counterfeiting case, is a trademark violation. What happened to the usual way this is handled: a cease-and-desist?

This sort of thing not only makes the DHS look worse (no mean feat), but also makes the Royals look like a bunch of heavy-handed dicks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why confiscation?

I am confused as to why DHS felt the need to be involved at all, and why they bothered confiscating the underwear. This isn’t a counterfeiting case, is a trademark violation. What happened to the usual way this is handled: a cease-and-desist?

One of the articles on this said that it was an ICE hit because ICE gets to seize things that would have been confiscated at the border if they were made outside the country, and that since ICE is under DHS, some reports merely indicate DHS without clarifying which part of DHS.

Clearly, these women should have outsourced their copyright infringing production so that ICE could conduct its panty raid at the border instead of having to come into the shop and seize the product after delivery.

As for why they confiscated it when it is a trademark case, as the Techdirt piece mentions, the agents seem a bit confused about whether they’re confiscating counterfeit panties or confiscating trademark-infringing panties. If they don’t even know what they’re really taking, it’s not surprising that they’re using the wrong procedure to do it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why confiscation?

…makes the Royals look like a bunch of heavy-handed dicks…

I’d bet that it was the MLB office that filed the complaint, not the Royals. It’s the World Series, and I’d bet that MLB has trademark restrictions not unlike the Olympics. Restrictions that are stricter than the regular season.

Anonymous Coward says:

what the hell has the US come to? the entertainment industries/copyright industries/patent trolls are ruling just about every aspect of our lives! surely this is becoming/has become more than a joke! when nothing is as important as making sure some movie studio can continue to lie and get away with, how much it has earned, so as to not pay tax! when some law firm decides to completely ruin a family who have unwittingly committed an error of judgement by copying a cd! when some company decides to sue a start-up company, before the product has reached completion, not because there may be a patent violation but because the old, legacy company is shit scared the new item will be far more successful than the old one and must then redesign it’s product, but cant be bothered.

it’s getting more and more pathetic every day!!

Anonymouse says:

So, if she had the produced outside the country and then shipped in, and if its a country we have a trade agreement with, can she sue the US Gov under an ISDS clause for loss of future profits?

Also yes, trademark, not copyright, not counterfeiting. Warrant maybe? Someone had to order this illegal seizure, they damned well had better of left a paper trail.

That One Guy (profile) says:

She says you could tell “they [DHS agents] felt like they were kicking a puppy.”

Please, they were probably just bummed out that they’d never be able to brag about their latest bust. I mean really, “Oh yeah man, just last week we busted into a shop and seized a shipment of panties!” They’d never be able to live that one down.

And even if it was real regret for their actions, as others have noted, ‘I knew it was wrong, but I was just following orders’ doesn’t fly, so they still get no sympathy.

Personanongrata says:

DHS Panty Raid

DHS Agents Raid Lingerie Shop, Save America From Unlicensed Underwear

Additionally, to insure that no contraband panties are being worn to the KC Royals home games during the World Series the Department of Homeland Security has further decreed that all panties must be worn on top of a persons outer clothing in order to ensure the safety of all trademark holders.

Binko Barnes (profile) says:

Re: “You assume it is being done for legal reasons, and not for the amusement of people who like to toy with others lives.”

There are so many broadly written federal laws on the books now that they can pretty much do anything they want and call it “legal”.

“Yes, your honor, we tortured that man to death but we have secret legal interpretations of secret laws that make it all perfectly legal”

“Yes, your honor, we seized the funny underwear because we have laws that say we can seize pretty much anything we want.”

Anonymous Coward says:

so DHS is being subsidized by corporate bribes then?

Or is this just what most of us said would happen when they were granted the ability to label anyone they wanted criminals/terrorists, then arrest/charge/kill them based on whatever they wanted to then do to them.

you mean I get to say that guy that always pisses me off is a criminal without needing any evidence to back it up and then beat him up and charge him resisting arrest. How could I refuse becoming a member of the DHS then.

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