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Behind Creative Collision




Over the last while a controversy over street photos taken by Humans of New York came to light where the renown fashion label DKNY used the a bunch of photos in their Thailand shop front without credit or payment for the right to use the photos. You can read a good article about it on the Wall Street Journal.

Retaliating with a Facebook post demanding DKNY to own up to its mistake and donate the proceeds to a local Brooklyn charity, DKNY did eventually own up, saying it was a mistake and that they will go ahead with paying the charity. I thought it was all done and dusted - a pretty good outcome to a pretty bad situation on all sides. A global label like DKNY having a lapse in communication with an Asian branch? Understandable.

But it didn't stop. A stinging vindictiveness from the supporters of Humans of New York and from those standing up for intellectual property rights for creative products (which in itself is a terribly controversial issue with fuzzy boundaries and awkward skirmishes in price battles such as the one in this example). Humans of New York happened to take the initiative this time and got a compromise but still DKNY is still getting trashed post-apology. Perhaps it's the easiness of just pressing a 'like' button, the epitome of a 21st century cliché, or the convenience of reading half a sentence on a very long (partially hidden) post and sharing a scathing comment.

In the creative industries, it's not always clear cut but more importantly, the field is malleable and open to new collaborations. There are many ways to go about crediting/PR and I think this example is a particularly creative example of standing up for one's creative property rights. But let's remember that we are also human and prone to mistakes.

To see the raging comments about the issue (which toss between different views), see the Facebook post that started it all.

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