Nadia Plesner has finally received justice, and a hefty payout from Louis Vuitton. The Danish artist has been relentlessly pursued by the French fashion house for years for using an image of a gaunt African child holding a Louis Vuitton Audra handbag in her artworks.
Plesner stopped using the image on Guernica T-shirts and posters aimed at raising awareness of the genocide in Darfur three years ago. But it cropped up again in a more recent work, Darfunica. And this time, it seems she wasn't prepared to back down.
Louis Vuitton sought a penalty of €5000 for every day the image stayed on Plesner's website. Calculated from late January, that penalty amounted to €485, 000. The label also wanted to prevent Plesner from ever using her favorite image again.
However a European court has declared that Plesner's freedom of expression is more vital than Louis Vuitton's protection of property. Louis Vuitton has been ordered to pay Plesner's legal fees, but Plesner seems most pleased that the case has given further attention to the situation in Darfur.
It's unusual to see a fashion house's brand protection placed below other interests, but in this case I think the best side definitely won. There's little chance that Louis Vuitton will lose out here, but Plesner might just make a few people think about what's happening in Africa. Whose side are you on?
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