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Donna Wentworth
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Ernest Miller
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Elizabeth Rader
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Wendy Seltzer
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Alan Wexelblat
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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

What Does "Copyfight" Mean?

Copyfight, the Solo Years: April 2002-March 2004

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Copyfight

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October 7, 2009

Dear Ralph Lauren - Choose Your Targets Carefully

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

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.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Abuse


COMMENTS

1. Chris on October 7, 2009 2:26 PM writes...

This whole thing is pretty lame and being blown out of proportion.

I really am finding it distasteful that Boing Boing and their ISP is being heralded as heroic copy-fighters in this, frankly, dumb mess.

The facts.

Boing Boing is hosted in a country called Canada.

The DMCA is a law created and enforceable in the United States of America.

Freedom of Speech protections are not applicable in Canada.

In Canada the closest legal "Free Speech" protection is "Freedom of Expression".

Fair Use is _not_ a concept that applies in Canada.

In Canada the closest legal "Fair Use" protection is "Fair Dealing".

None of the legal hooey in the Boing Boing post matters or applies.

The entire Boing Boing post is just as ridiculous as the legal firm who thought that it would make any sense to send the letter in the first place.

Permalink to Comment

2. Sean on October 7, 2009 6:52 PM writes...

previous commentor fail.

Whois lookup reveals that the registered owner of boingboing.net is contactprivacy.com, which has a registered physical address in Canada. Previous commentor apparently isn't aware domain registrant anonymizer services.

Lolz.

Oh, he apparently doesn't know much about law either.

Permalink to Comment

3. B on October 8, 2009 5:33 AM writes...

previous commentor #2 Sean - fail.

Google "BoingBoing's ISP based in Canada, DMCA". BoingBoing has had DMCA notices in the past.

Permalink to Comment

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