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October 7, 2009
Dear Ralph Lauren - Choose Your Targets Carefully
Actually that probably should be addressed to Ralph Lauren's lawyers, but in theory they're acting on behalf of the company, so we get to mock R.L., Inc.
The whole thing started with a photoshop disaster, reproduced here so you can see what we're talking about. The wholescale massacre of peoples' images for advertising purposes is well documented. You can go to YouTube and find a hundred videos showing Photoshop "makeovers" - one of the best is the "Dove evolution"
. But the gist is that anytime you see a model (almost always female) in a magazine, on a billboard, or any other advertising medium, she's been styled, made up, and then digitally altered so as to bear very little resemblance to how she actually looks. There are interesting Copyfight issues here about what is an original and what is a derivative work in this chain of illusion, but that's not what we're here to talk about.
No, instead I want to talk about how stupid a corporate lawyer can be. You see, that image there on the right? That's a Photoshop disaster. The retouching techniques have been taken so far that the person has ended up looking like a cartoon. If you search the blogosphere for "lollipop head" and "ralph lauren" you'll get a wad of scathing commentary on just how badly the image has been distorted. In fact the image was up on the "Photoshop disasters" blog for a while until they got a DMCA takedown notice and they or their ISP caved to it. (Interestingly, the top photoshop disaster currently shown is almost exactly the same disaster done to Brad Pitt, whose head and shoulders are grotesquely out of proportion to his hips and legs in the Edwin Jeans ad.)
Then a DMCA notice landed on boingboing's ISP. Dear lawyers, don't do that. Because not only will you not get your stuff taken down by doing that, you'll get mercilessly mocked. Which you roundly deserve. Copyfight salutes Boingboing's ISP for ignoring this threat and proffers a hat-tip to Cory for reminding us that sometimes humor is the best defense.
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