A group of performance artists from Baltimore known as “FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture” took advantage of a much anticipated media event to bring attention to the importance of consensual sex. The VS All Access Victoria’s Secret fashion show is an such an event, gluing billions of eyeballs to its prime time telecast.
For FORCE, the VS All Access television event was the perfect opportunity to launch its own fashion campaign, Pink Loves Consent, by spoofing Victoria’s Secret’s PINK brand. During the VS All Access event, FORCE launched a parody website and social media strategy that resulted in a giant wave of tweets about body acceptance and the importance of normalizing a culture of enthusiastic consent. FORCE’s social media campaign made #loveconsent the number one hashtag associated with #victoria’ssecret during the fashion show. Many people believed that it was Victoria’s Secret’s own social program. “Nope, it was FORCE.” said the Pink Loves Consent press release.
Victoria’s Secret took down the Pink Loves Consent website via the DMCA notice process, alleging that the Pink Loves Consent website infringed VS copyrights and trademarks. Under copyright law, copyright owners must have a bona fide belief that the offending media is actually an infringement to qualify for take-down. Fair use of copyright protected materials is not an infringement under copyright law. A quick read of the Pink Loves Consent website or FORCE’s Tumblr page make it obvious that the VS PINK brand is being parodied in order to make a point about the importance of mutually consensual sex and advertising healthy body images in light of PINK’s teenybopper-ish underwear emblazoned with slogans like “Sexxy,” “Unwrap Me Now” and “Sure Thing”.
As we have seen before, bona fide fair use of the PINK materials would have permitted FORCE to contest Victoria’s Secret’s DMCA notice in court but, taking a tip from Pirate Bay’s play book, FORCE identified a more robust web hosting company, added a fair use disclaimer, and moved on to new spoofs, including Operation Panty Drop.
The message is spreading… Articles continue to appear in news media including Huffington Post, Daily Beast, Jexebel, The Examiner, Boing-Boing, Business Insider, Daily Mail, Hindustan Times, The New York Daily News, The San Fransisco Bay Guardian, PolicyMic, Austin Chronicle and MarySue. The Ober|Kaler IP team was pleased to provide legal support to FORCE’s spoof through Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.