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Old 10-12-2011, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Between Seattle and Portland
1,266 posts, read 1,572,323 times
Reputation: 1399
Default Urban Outfitters Under Fire for "Navajo" Collection

A Native American woman has claimed "corporate appropriation" of Navajo designs by an upscale clothing company that markets items she finds "cheap, vulgar, and culturally offensive."

An Open Letter to Urban Outfitters on Columbus Day | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

She is Dakota and Sioux.

"A recent search with the term "Navajo" on the Urban Outfitters website brought up 23 items, including the Navajo Print Fabric Wrapped Flask, Navajo Hipster Panty and Staring at Stars Strapless Navajo Dress."

Urban Outfitters Under Fire for 'Navajo' Collection - Yahoo! News

I agree, to a point, (Navajo Hipster Panty???) but items like Dreamcatchers have been manufactured in China and sold at big-box stores for years. And "Navajo" is a Spanish term.

What do you think Urban Outfitters should do?
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Silver Springs, FL
23,444 posts, read 16,833,970 times
Reputation: 15560
Nothing....
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:29 PM
 
29,990 posts, read 19,633,929 times
Reputation: 12341
Quote:
Originally Posted by stonecypher5413 View Post
A Native American woman has claimed "corporate appropriation" of Navajo designs by an upscale clothing company that markets items she finds "cheap, vulgar, and culturally offensive."

An Open Letter to Urban Outfitters on Columbus Day | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

She is Dakota and Sioux.

"A recent search with the term "Navajo" on the Urban Outfitters website brought up 23 items, including the Navajo Print Fabric Wrapped Flask, Navajo Hipster Panty and Staring at Stars Strapless Navajo Dress."

Urban Outfitters Under Fire for 'Navajo' Collection - Yahoo! News

I agree, to a point, (Navajo Hipster Panty???) but items like Dreamcatchers have been manufactured in China and sold at big-box stores for years. And "Navajo" is a Spanish term.

What do you think Urban Outfitters should do?


A political statement by someone with no standing made on "Native American Day". I'm shocked, shocked I tell you. Who would suspect such a statement by an AIM activist.

If members of the Navajo Nation want to complain I suspect they may be smart enough to copywrite their name and charge for the use. Otherwise, meh. I think the Navajo Nation can handle it.
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:04 PM
 
15,487 posts, read 5,675,400 times
Reputation: 3096
Lets see, did these same people ***** about the name of how many major league teams.....

Where is the "are we sue crazy" thread when you need it...

Or the thread was something like that...very recently...
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Between Seattle and Portland
1,266 posts, read 1,572,323 times
Reputation: 1399
This may not turn out to be a "sue-crazy" type of situation:

"Navajo" isn't an aesthetic movement — it's a legal entity, a tribe of people, and an actual nation.

And, as it turns out, it's a nation with trademarks. The Navajo Nation holds 12 trademarks on the use of the term "Navajo," including two that cover various forms of clothing and one that covers online retailing. The Attorney General of the Navajo Nation actually wrote to Urban Outfitters months ago asking the corporation to cease and desist using its trademarks to sell clothing and accessories that have nothing to do with any actual Navajo people or designs.

Also, some very good points made in the Comments section.

Urban Outfitter's 'Navajo' Problem Becomes A Legal Issue
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
11,201 posts, read 9,369,237 times
Reputation: 10165
How dare they describe American popular culture as "cheap, vulgar, and culturally offensive" !!!!
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:38 PM
 
1,337 posts, read 362,765 times
Reputation: 656
Unfortunately just another example to add to pile of outrageous cases in the last few years of why trademark law is among the most rogue areas of all the forms of intellectual property which in need of major reform.

The Nation should hold no IP rights to such a historical term, and so long as the seller isn't misrepresenting the product overtly, the Federal Trade Commission should mind their biz. I don't know what the statutory wording of the Federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 entails specifically, but if it is worded in such a manner that the mere unauthorized IP use of the trademark automatically implies misrepresentation, then that law needs to be reworded as it relies upon what I would consider to be very circular reasoning. It appears the law may indeed be worded that way, according to the various sources I skimmed (e.g. see Department of Interior legal FAQ on this matter).


Just another silly protectionist law to add to the pile of protectionist laws that exist in this country. Somebody can't make Indian beads and sell them to the public as such on the roadside or at craft fairs, or in stores as a niche sideline business unless they are a "genuine full blooded Indian," else you are apparently guilty of a felony with a penalty of up to 5 years in federal prison and a $250,000.000 possible fine, with upwards of a $1,000,000.00 fine for subsequent offenses for the heinous act of selling "Indian beads." (It used to be a misdemeanor with up to $500 fine and 6 months in jail, but perhaps the Indian lobbying groups wanted more stringent protectionism). Get bent.


The misrepresentation issue is not entirely without merit and should be taken seriously on its merits, but overall the current law on the matter seems to be somewhat overly-expensive, if not also disproportional compared to other qualitatively similar offenses which the FTC might deal with - a likely byproduct of protectionist lobbying, and in need of some revision.

Last edited by FreedomThroughAnarchism; 10-13-2011 at 02:06 PM..
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:40 PM
 
3,064 posts, read 1,023,428 times
Reputation: 962
Quote:
Originally Posted by stonecypher5413 View Post
A Native American woman has claimed "corporate appropriation" of Navajo designs by an upscale clothing company that markets items she finds "cheap, vulgar, and culturally offensive."

An Open Letter to Urban Outfitters on Columbus Day | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

She is Dakota and Sioux.

"A recent search with the term "Navajo" on the Urban Outfitters website brought up 23 items, including the Navajo Print Fabric Wrapped Flask, Navajo Hipster Panty and Staring at Stars Strapless Navajo Dress."

Urban Outfitters Under Fire for 'Navajo' Collection - Yahoo! News

I agree, to a point, (Navajo Hipster Panty???) but items like Dreamcatchers have been manufactured in China and sold at big-box stores for years. And "Navajo" is a Spanish term.

What do you think Urban Outfitters should do?
Ignore.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:58 PM
 
Location: John & Ken-ville
12,719 posts, read 8,532,146 times
Reputation: 8328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
How dare they describe American popular culture as "cheap, vulgar, and culturally offensive" !!!!
As if the Kardashian sisters aren't enough!
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Old 10-13-2011, 02:36 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
10,740 posts, read 14,243,762 times
Reputation: 5288
The Navaho Tribe is a soverign Indian Nation just as much as any Monarchy in Europe is soverign. And as such it has a fully functioning government with elected leaders, regulations and laws, lawyers, schools, medical community, tribal police, and community services, etc.. Ignorance of Navajo Copyright law is no excuse for bad acts. .

This will eventually go to court. Urban Outfitters will most likely continue to sell their offensive Chinese merchandize until there is a compromise, Cease and Desist Order issued. If it is ignored as I expect will happen, it will eventually culminate before the wise nine. I'm betting on the latter. Corporate greed almost always wins out over common sense and legit business practice.
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