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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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:18am

    I'm overwhelmed by the amount of lousy puns available from this story. Caught pants down? /derp

    Now, I'm sure some hand made art in underwear is surely destroying the revenue of major mafia bosses... Ahem, copyright/trademark holders. Yeah.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:34am

    Because obviously these would be used in 9/11 part 2 if DHS hadn't stepped in.

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

  • icon
    scotts13 (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:35am

    Good heavens!

    What if some child saw those panties and assumed the Kansas City Royals had officially endorsed that ass? Chaos!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:36am

    This is a thing that happened

    >DHS agents pointed out that "connecting the K and C" turned it into the protected property of a major league baseball franchise.

    Why DHS?

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

  • identicon
    Harry Payne, 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:39am

    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".

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:02am

      Re: The UK's ahead of the US on this

      That used to be a common theme in the US as well and was brought in in many PSAs. You don't hear it so much anymore, perhaps because the sounds of laughter made hearing impossible.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:35am

        Re: Re: The UK's ahead of the US on this

        If these underwear are allowed to be sold no one would ever create art anymore. Every sports league will go out of business because why have a sports league when someone can just copy you? It will be the end of the world as we know!!!!

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

  • identicon
    Spodula, 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:39am

    Well at least..

    Well at least they didn't go in with a SWAT team, and a bearcat through the wall, all guns blazing and shoot her, her punters, her immediate family, her dog, a visiting uncle and throw a grenade at her baby.

    In the current policing environment, that's a win right?

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

    • icon
      AricTheRed (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 11:32am

      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...

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

      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 28 Oct 2014 @ 5:15am

        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.

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

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:46am

    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.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:56am

      Re: This could be fun...

      It never even occurred to me that I would someday live in a world where Underwear Examiners were actually a thing. We live in strange times.

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

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:00am

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:35am

      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.

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 8:21pm

        Re: Re: Why confiscation?

        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,

        If that's true that is a terrible law.

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 25 Oct 2014 @ 5:19pm

        Re: Re: Why confiscation?

        These weren't made out of the country.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 10:23am

      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.

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 11:06am

        Re: Re: Why confiscation?

        This is likely true, but is wasn't the MLB office whose logo was on the things, so they're not the ones who look bad to the average person. It's the Royals whose name is smeared over this.

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

  • icon
    Groaker (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:02am

    Who knew that DHS had an underwear fetish? That is the only explanation that I can come up with in using law enforcement in a trivial civil case.

    I hope the boys had an explosively good time.

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

  • identicon
    justme, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:12am

    This will go down as there "Crowning Achievement", Think of all the underwear bombing that were prevented by there heroic actions.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:14am

    She says you could tell “they [DHS agents] felt like they were kicking a puppy.”
    And I'm sure there are CIA goons / guards at GITMO who feel bad for engaging in torture. While torture is another level of moral reprehensibility it doesn't make their actions any more sympathetic.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      Indeed. I have no sympathy whatsoever for people who do things that they themselves know are wrong. "It's my job" and "I'm only following orders" are no excuse.

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

    • identicon
      Michael, 24 Oct 2014 @ 8:35am

      Re:

      She just said they felt like they were kicking a puppy - she did not say they were sad about it.

      I would think DHS agents would gleefully kick puppies and club baby seals.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:14am

    She says you could tell “they [DHS agents] felt like they were kicking a puppy.”
    And I'm sure there are CIA goons / guards at GITMO who feel bad for engaging in torture. While torture is another level of moral reprehensibility it doesn't make their (or DHS) actions any more sympathetic.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:19am

    Pickup line

    "Sorry Miss, we are going to have to ask you to remove the offending underpants. Copyright violation."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:20am

    DHS saves America from "ISIS-inspired" lingerie terrorism.

    Good job, guys! Someone could've hung himself with that unlicensed lingerie or something.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:25am

    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!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:37am

    Thongs get DMCA takedown ?

    "Songs", not "Thongs".

    Nevermind.

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

  • identicon
    David, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:38am

    Is this Tech_dirt_?

    as well as the cheekily-applied phrase (yes, pun completely intended) "Take the crown."
    I'd have expected to have this characterized as tongue-in-cheek. I mean, it is called Techdirt.

    At any rate, the lettering on the photograph appears ambivalent between "Take the Crown" and "Take the town". Clever.

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

  • identicon
    Digger, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:44am

    In other news..

    It turns out that DHS agents are closet cross-dressers and this was just to fill their wardrobes without spending any of their ill-gotten gains on the panties they wanted.

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

  • icon
    Geno0wl (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:45am

    What a waste

    I really don't understand how this is a good user of police resources when a cease and desist letter should have been the first step...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 8:26am

      Re: What a waste

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

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

    • identicon
      Michael, 24 Oct 2014 @ 8:38am

      Re: What a waste

      It kept them busy for a couple hours - which could have prevented them from burning babies with flash grenades.

      This was done FOR THE CHILDREN!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Hero, 24 Oct 2014 @ 8:28am

    Rebranding

    So now the Keystone Kops of DHS can officially be called the Panty Police.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymouse, 24 Oct 2014 @ 9:05am

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 10:00am

      Re:

      Someone had to order this illegal seizure, they damned well had better of left a paper trail.

      The one thing US law enforcement is against is paper trails for their own actions, and with plea bargaining with the leverage of charge inflation, they do not necessarily need evidence to put someone in jail.

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

  • icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 12:05pm

    Max Headroom

    Peregrine Honig?

    Wait. I didn't know we were using stage names.

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

  • icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 12:25pm

    That Obvious Joke

    Hey, anybody make the dirty bomb joke yet? No? Here it is:

    Good for DHS for taking this threat to third base. Getting inside the underwear caper shows the kind of persistence we normally only expect from frat boys.

    Godspeed, good DHS agents. If you keep inspecting underwear, sooner or later, you're going to find that dirty bomb.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 12:50pm

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 24 Oct 2014 @ 1:42pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 1:49pm

    REALLY?

    1. this is a Corporate matter..Send a letter from a lawyer then take them to COURT.
    2. Is this even in Job description of the DHS? NOT!!

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 2:04pm

      Re: REALLY?

      "Is this even in Job description of the DHS?"

      If they call them "counterfeit merchandise", then it is unfortunately in their job description.

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

  • icon
    Binko Barnes (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 2:02pm

    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."

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

  • identicon
    Problem Machine, 24 Oct 2014 @ 2:24pm

    Inspection

    "We're with the FBI."
    "What would the Federal Bureau of Invest-"
    "No ma'am. The OTHER FBI.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:16pm

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:53pm

    Holy cow KC, don't get your panties in a bunch(or by the truckload), just because one of your players modeled some underwear.

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

  • icon
    aldestrawk (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 11:06pm

    briefs not boyshorts

    C'mon guys didn't anyone notice the photo is not of boyshorts but simply large briefs? Were you all distracted by the logo or perhaps something else?

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


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