Wednesday, May 07, 2008

"I think this lawsuit has given my campaign more attention than I ever would have gotten without it"

It seems Louis Vuitton is suing a young artist over a t-shirt she created to help raise awareness of the situation in Darfur. Techdirt's Mike Masnick describes the project thusly: "An artist named Nadia Plesner recently put together a project to try to raise money for the victims of genocide in Darfur. As part of the campaign, she created a t-shirt with a drawn image of a Darfur victim 'pimped' out to look like Paris Hilton -- that is, carrying a designer handbag and a small dressed up dog. The entire profits from the t-shirts are going to help the victims."

Masnick is not impressed with the lawsuit: "While there may be some difference due to the specifics of trademark law in Europe, it's hard to see how this is not overreaching. This is an entirely non-commercial venture. All of the profits are given to charity. The design has some differences from the Louis Vuitton bag, and hardly seems likely to specifically damage the Louis Vuitton brand (the lawsuit will take care of that). The t-shirts are clearly not competing with Louis Vuitton and there's little reason to have anyone think that Louis Vuitton somehow 'endorsed' this effort."

Political philosopher/photography enthusiast Jim Johnson agrees: "The obvious point is that Louis Vuitton must be out of their corporate minds. ... [W]hat sort of publicity do they think they are going to generate? Since they seem not to have figured that one out, maybe I can help. Before long there will be lots of people on the web and elsewhere making fun of LV for being idiots (at best) and callous assholes (at considerably less than best)."

Plesner has more at her website. New York magazine interviews her here.