Protecting Panties: Victoria’s Secret Uses DMCA To Suppress Public Criticism

The details are pretty entertaining, so we will get into them. Recently VS, no strangers to controversy released their new PINK line, garments and accessories with words printed on them, including things like panties with the words “I’m the Party” , “Wild”, as well as “Yes, No, Maybe,” “Sure Thing”Life of the Party” and “Unwrap Me”.  The more egregious of these appear to no longer be available for sale on the VS website, although it’s possible they’re just hard to find.

“As policymakers evaluate how effective copyright laws are, they need to consider the collateral impact copyright regulation has on the flow of information online.”

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ChillingEffects.org continue their reporting on the abuse of copyright laws by companies, organisations and individuals who don’t like being criticized. A phenomen that seems to be rapidly growing. Today’s story involves women’s underwear and the famous producer Victoria’s Secret. Here it is: “Operation Pantie Drop”.

The website reports:

We’re trying something new here at Chilling Effects today. We are going to take an in-depth look at a particular take-down notice, one that is especially interesting or newsworthy, or both, and try to tease out and examine all of its implications, policy, cultural and otherwise. We plan to do this on a regular basis, and hope it will become a regular feature of the site. So without further ado, “The Takedown Of The Week”.

Some readers may have heard about the recent culture-jamming activities of a group called FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, specifically with respect to their actions regarding Victoria’s Secret (VS) and that company’s recent new line of slogan-emblazoned lingerie. If you want the tl:dr, check out the EFF’s as–always stellar write-up..

[Note: for the purposes of illustration, we will be linking to some VS product pages in this Weather Report. This does not, nor is it meant to, imply any endorsement of or from VS, or indeed any official connection at all between VS and Chilling Effects.]

SkjermbildeThe details are pretty entertaining, so we will get into them. Recently VS, no strangers to controversy released their new PINK line, garments and accessories with words printed on them, including things like panties with the words“I’m the Party” , “Wild”, as well as “Yes, No, Maybe” “Sure Thing”Life of the Party” and “Unwrap Me”. The more egregious of these appear to no longer be available for sale on the VS website, although it’s possible they’re just hard to find.

Feeling that underwear with messages like “Unwrap Me” and “Yes No Maybe” was perhaps not the best way to empower women or create a culture that treated women as equally valid human beings worthy of respect, FORCE decided to build off the PINK line, but substituting messages of their own. FORCE’s principals discuss their intent and experiences in an interview here.
On December 3, 2012, a website appeared, along with a press release, and media campaign introducing a new line of clothing, “Pink Loves Consent”. This was ostensibly affiliated with VS, and also selling underwear with slogans. Except these were slogans like “No Means No” and “Ask First”.

Critically for the purposes of a TM-related claim ( the copyright claim has few details and little substance), the website was (and is) headed with the words “Victoria’s Secret” above a solid bar of color, a bar that on the actual VS website has links to categories of product.

Of course, there weren’t any consciousness-raising panties for sale. The entire site was the work of FORCE, and people realized this pretty quickly. And as soon as the media began covering the story, it became harder to argue that any consumer would be misled. From the perspective of TheMarySue the site was “clearly intended to fool the unwary viewer.”
Skjermbilde2That being said, the site fooled at least some, who, according to FORCE, were thrilled by what looked like an effort by VS to take a more enlightened stance on its customers’ sexuality. Many who realized the site was a fake were in fact disappointed that there were no such garments for sale. Eager to sustain momentum and capitalize on a clearly untapped wellspring of support for their message, FORCE has, as a follow-up, placed pairs of actual respect–themed panties have been in what FORCE is calling “Operation Panty Drop”. I couldn’t help thinking of this.

On the other hand, not everyone thought that the FORCE message was a good one, or that there was anything wrong with the VS PINK line to begin with. Others are skeptical of FORCE’s motives.

Regardless, it is what happened next that Chilling Effects is, and frankly, everyone should be, more concerned with. Victoria’s Secret was clearly not thrilled that someone was (to them, at least) seeking to masquerade—however briefly, and regardless of the message or intent—as Victoria’s Secret. The VS lawyers immediately sent a takedown letter to Bluehost, Inc., the host for the “Pink Loves Consent” website. FORCE was kind enough to send “fair use.”]

VS also took action against FORCE’s web presence in other places, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The Daily Dot has a nice run-down of back up now.
This is especially interesting because Twitter users, whether fooled or not, had begun messaging to VS in support of the putative garments using the #loveconsent hashtag. See below for more on the Internet conversation that sprung up.

Facebook removed the group’s page from search results, where it still does not appear as of this writing.

READ MORE.

Related by econoTwist’s:

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All Human Rights Reserved (h) 2012

3 thoughts on “Protecting Panties: Victoria’s Secret Uses DMCA To Suppress Public Criticism

  1. Pingback: Pop Group “Beastie Boys” Makes Social Media Blunder | Rational Arrogance

  2. Pingback: Celebrating Internet Freedom: Martin Luther King Jr. Removed From the Web | Rational Arrogance

  3. Pingback: Norway To Get Its Own SOPA | Rational Arrogance

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