Sunday, April 27, 2008

Louis Vuitton

I always consider LV as a firm which existence I have to accept, but will never be really happy about. I could not articulate why, but this is one of the good reasons:

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. The handbag drawn in the image is not specifically a Louis Vuitton bag, but the design firm seems to have gone ballistic, claiming all sorts of intellectual property rights it simply does not possess. First, it sent a (admittedly friendly) cease-and-desist, which Plesner wrote about on the site, while responding and telling the company that she would not take down the t-shirt or the image. In response, LV went from friendly to nasty. It sued, demanding $7,500 for each day she keeps selling the product, $7,500 for each day she displays its original cease-and-desist letter and (my favorite) $7,500 for each day she mentions the name "Louis Vuitton" on her website.