The skinny on fair use

How much dumb can possibly be fit into a size two?  Walter Olson rounds it up:

Ralph Lauren lawyers: don’t you dare reproduce our skinny-model photo in the course of criticizing our use of skinny models [BoingBoing]

Ralph Lauren Model
Ralph Lauren Model

With photoshop, evidently, quite a bit!  Here’s an excerpt from the original Boing Boing post, by Cory Doctorow:

Last month, Xeni blogged about the photoshop disaster that is this Ralph Lauren advertisement, in which a model’s proportions appear to have been altered to give her an impossibly skinny body (“Dude, her head’s bigger than her pelvis”). Naturally, Xeni reproduced the ad in question. This is classic fair use: a reproduction “for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting,” etc. . . .

As Wendy Seltzer from the Chilling Effects project said, “Sounds like a pretty solid fair use case to me. If criticism diminishes its effectiveness, that’s different from the market substitution copyright protects against. And I’ve rarely seen a thinner DMCA form-letter.”

Yeah, but a thinner cover girl you’re not going to see either.  I fear no C&D letter but don’t do model pictures at LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®; you can check it at Doctorow’s post (or just click Olive Oyl above).  Do not adjust your sets:  That picture is for “real.”

Rooby Lifshitz is selling a bizarre concept of attractive, to say the least — as is, in its own inimitable (which is to say, similar gag-reflex-inducing) way, Greenberg Traurig.  Both are bad to the bone.

UPDATE:  The latest from Marty; and now Instanpundit has picked up the story and even the ABA Journal itself.

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Ron Coleman

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