TOTAL COPYCATS: For its latest fashion-related drop, MSCHF is staging the “Cease & Desist Grand Prix.”
The virtual checkered flag will be waved at 11 a.m. Monday, encouraging MSCHF app users and visitors to its site to buy one of eight shirts that illegally use the logo of a major company. If the shirt they purchase bears the logo of the company that is the first one of the eight brands that are being infringed upon to send a cease and desist letter to MSCHF, shoppers who chose that brand will receive an exclusive Grand Prix champion’s hat for free.
As soon as a cease and desist letter is received, all winners of the Grand Prix hat will be notified by MSCHF and its site will be updated, according to MSCHF cofounder Daniel Greenberg. The art collective works across fashion, art, music, luxury, hypebeast, capitalism, social commentary and other sectors.
“We chose companies that are large enough to be worth infringing on and are mostly known for being litigious,” he said. “We expect Disney, for example, to be a frontrunner for obvious reasons.”
The team at MSCHF expects a cease and desist letter from at least one of the eight companies to be “likely,” Greenberg said.
The hats have already been made for winners, Greenberg said.
“We get C&D s all the time, so we decided to use them as our own working material. In general, the state of American copyright law vastly privileges large corporations and stifles creative endeavors of smaller artists and entities. It is very easy for large entities to spam out blanket statement C&Ds, because almost no one has the resources to fight them in earnest,” Greenberg said. “This makes the C&D letter essentially a unilateral censorship tool. With C&D Grand Prix, we can bait this predictable and lamentable response and make it part of our own work, inverting that power dynamic.”
Copyright infringement, of course, takes a toll on the global economy. As of 2020, annual sale losses from counterfeiting in the fashion industry amounted to $29.3 billion, according to Statista.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service notes how buying counterfeit goods has economic impacts, legal implications and health and safety risks.
As of Monday night, MSCHF hadn’t received a cease and desist letter but Subway acknowledged the drop with a punch. The fast food chain posted on Twitter an image of a shirt that is similar to the ones that MSCHF is offering, but imprinted with a MSCHF logo. Subway tweeted to its 2.2 million followers, “Two can play at this game. Who’s interested in this bad boy? Hurry before @mschf shuts us down.”