Ralph Lauren threatens to sue over criticism

BoingBoing reports that a recent critique of a Ralph Lauren ad–one that portrays an obviously altered image of a model whose head is larger than her torso–has resulted in threats of a lawsuit and a DMCA infringement notice for publishing the image. This is not, of course, a new story. DMCA infringement notices and lawsuit threats have been received by others who’ve published copyrighted images for the purpose of critique. As Cory Doctorow, author of the blog entry on BoingBoing, points out: “This is classic fair use: a reproduction ‘for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting,’ etc”. The best part of this story is not so much the critique (though as a feminist I am pleased to see that someone noticed this outrageous example of body image distortion) but the fact that Boing Boing and their internet provider have responded by thumbing their nose at Ralph Lauren. Rather than fold under the pressure of a possible lawsuit, they’ve challenged the company to make good on their threats. I, for one, hope that they do engage in this frivolous legal action as that response will draw further attention to their damaging advertising strategies and their clumsy attempts to hide them.