Louis Vuitton Wins Lawsuit Supressing Artwork About LV-ish Bag -- Or Genocide, Maybe
from the sad dept
In addition, Plesner relied on freedom of speech at the time. This defence also holds no water.It appears
In general, intellectual property rights are regarded as justified restrictions of the freedom of speech within the meaning of Article 10 (2) of the ECHR: they are (i) prescribed by law, (ii) necessary in a democratic society, and (iii) intended for the protection of the reputation or rights of others. Only in exceptional cases, an intellectual property right (except from the restrictions already contained in the relevant IP laws) may be set aside on grounds of the freedom of speech. The strict requirements that apply as a condition for this have not been met in the present case, for a number of reasons.
First of all, there is no necessity to use the intellectual property rights of Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton has nothing to do with the genocide in Darfur, and therefore it is not necessary (and without reason) to associate Louis Vuitton with this genocide and to use its intellectual property rights for this purpose. Even as far as Plesner's message is that the public would only be interested in "showbiz elements" and not in the wrongs going on in the world (cf. paragraph 8 above), there is no necessity to use the intellectual property rights of Louis Vuitton. There are numerous other means to get this message across without using the intellectual property rights of Louis Vuitton; for example, if the choice would be made to maintain the picture of the African small child, the child could be depicted with a large diamond ring, or with a shiny car in the background, or slumping in front of a TV, etc. etc.).
The fact that the court effectively says it's okay to block expression so long as there's "any other way" to express yourself to make a similar point is horrifying. The court also
As for Louis Vuitton, the purpose of intellectual property law is being dragged through the mud here. It's not to stop an artist from doing something you don't like. It's not to stop anyone from doing something you just don't like in general. At most, it's to stop direct competition in the form of "unfair" copying or to prevent confusion in the marketplace. None of that applies here. The court makes the bizarre and totally unsubstantiated claim that "she caused great damage to Louis Vuitton." How? Honestly, how? Criticism of Louis Vuitton through parody should not be considered an IP violation. That basically rules out all parody. Is that what the court really wants to do?
Of course, once again, in filing this lawsuit and getting this judgment, Louis Vuitton has only served to do the exact opposite of what it had hoped to do. That is, it has called tremendous attention to Plesner and her artwork, and the statement she is making. You would think they would have understood that by now, but apparently not.