😈 The new battleground for fair use involves...Satan shoes?!
The internet went nuts a couple of weeks ago when rapper Lil Nas X dropped a music video in which he gave a lapdance to a CGI devil. He then proceeded to release an unauthorized version of a Nike shoe featuring a pentagram and a bible verse in red ink.
Now, there’s a legal quagmire.
Lil Nas X worked with the company MSCHF: As The Verge reports, they developed 666 pairs of the shoe, which is a remixed Nike Air Max 97. People and companies resell shoes all the time without any legal consequences, and Nike regularly partners with celebs and other brands on limited edition shoes.
The issue for Nike was how the shoe looked: Nike sued MSCHF, accusing it of tarnishing the Nike brand by associating it with the devil. The company believes consumers may be confused and think Nike authorized the shoe.
MSCHF said that’s ridiculous: And it went further by arguing the shoes were an artistic social commentary, satirizing Nike's collaboration culture with celebrities. Art is mostly protected by fair use.
The implications beyond Satan Shoes
Should Nike v. MSCHF ever go to court, consequences could spread to all designers. Resellers regularly modify clothing and apparel to enhance its appeal.
After the Nike lawsuit, both MSCHF and Lil Nas X have frozen their sales. They only had one pair left anyway.