We have had a major increase in the quality of celebrity brands and fashion houses. I usually don’t care about them as a group however due to the business aspect of some of these companies I find it important to increase the public’s understanding of what is a business function and what is a celebrities doing.
In recent news we find that Yeezy, company owned by Kanye West is suing an intern for exposing product and breaking their non disclosure agreement (NDA), Which is a perfectly reasonable business function. The valuable information was leaked and there is value in this conversation to be had.
First of all people who become part of these companies, respect and couth is wholly necessary what the young person (Inward) did was completely wrong and a breach of contract. There was no professionalism involved (which is something we have to talk about also) in that act and they were dealt with in the bounds of how their contract would say to deal with them.
Bringing me to my next point, was that Kanye West directly or was that Yeezy Company. What I find when these conversations arise is the name and face of the Brand – however much they may own – are held responsible for the wafts of the entity. Unless expressly detailed that the persons’ are ejected from their positions, all responsibility or the actions of the company their feet will be held to the fire and are tested by the masses.
Though the consensus is what Inward did was wrong the conversations are held about whether “Kanye” should be pushing for this hard a punishment. My opinion is Kanye’s name shouldn’t be involved in the conversation unless sources say it was him personally who filed or just naming him as the CEO.
Many companies reporting on this will definitely exploit the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) opportunities because articles with Kanye’s name get clicks. However that is still very easy to do without expressly saying Kanye is enacting the NDA.
The language in the NDA would say they can and probably will prosecute within the full extent of the Law and that’s okay but that is definitely a function of Yeezy’s lawyers more than Kanye and these NDA’s are used as a deterrent to safeguard away from actions like Inwards, due to their actions Yeezy will have to make an example of Inward as a testament to their professionalism and severity of the crime and that may be halted due to public outcry against Kanye West creating a bad media trend which could twist the arm of the Lawyers into giving Inward a lighter sentence.
Briefly I want to say to the youth and anyone looking to work within the fashion or any business where Intellectual Property (IP) is held at high regard that the foolishness of these actions will not go unpunished, celebrity brand or not. As the next generation comes into the workplace clout and exclusivity is a currency and this can greatly damage your relationships with the company you work for and your reputation across industry. You WILL be known as a leak and you will find it hard to find a job in this area where there’s a necessity to keep things under wraps. Let this be a cautionary tale that trying to gain clout by ‘exposing’ where you are who you work for and what you’re working on will do you know good and it will behoove you to think against perpetrating actions like Inward had taken.
A little more about IP in the creative industry. There’s 4 types; patents, trademark, copyrights, and trade secrets; Inward broke the fourth one this is really one of the more corporatised positions where Yeezy has the law on their side. The law is on their side with all of them but more aptly so is the entire industry. Unless you’re in corporate espionage (where a mole from a rival company infiltrates an organisation to gain information on the company) it is highly suggested never do that, as I said will destroy your reputation among industry professionals, so no snitching.
A company only has one chance to roll out a product and putting information out there you take that chance away from them and give the competition time to prepare and respond with their product. The creation process of sneakers in general is 18 months (from ideation to showcase) if you leak information at let’s say month 6 you are eliminating the element of surprise and the proper chance to present to the consumer.
Take for instance Album releases if you are leaking the music you steal away the chance for a proper roll out and stealing money from the artists pocket. Lil Uzi Vert and Playboy Carti have both went through this where people would leak their music and give it to the public unprepared unmastered and plain. The songs still being reference tracks the listener cannot imagine what the finished product should be and will give a bad look to the artist. That being said don’t do it.
To the matter at hand Yeezy and Kanye West are two entities owned by the same person Kanye West. He who has hundreds of people running a multi-billion dollar operation it is hard to believe everything that happens he deals with personally, it’s very unlikely, highly improbable he could do that so he delegates and has departments to deal with the things that should and company leaders he trusts to do so with the best of their ability, that ability being suing an intern for leaking classified information. It’s in the best interest of Yeezy to do so too as they are a new company that hasn’t been through this before and they don’t want to set a precedent for interns moving forward. However because there is a celebrity at the helm and people believe they should act a certain way we could steal a true opportunity for Yeezy to be seen as legitimate and clog the leak they have a a fashion company.
As far as the matter of separating Artist from Corporation it’s wholly necessary at that size. Creatively the artist can and should be at the forefront but in terms of business operations, at a certain size it’s totally unprofessional, unlikely and inept for a company to allow a celebrity with no qualifications to run an organisation.
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