Attempting parody t-shirts, The Golden Antlers learns that copyright infringement is no joke

Drawing of different 5C shirts
(Mariana Duran • The Student Life)

This semester, The Golden Antlers has poked fun at Claremont McKenna College’s billionaire trustees, the “first lady” of Pitzer College and Student Health Services. But the 5C satire publication met its match when it took aim at college spiritwear.

On Oct. 26, The Golden Antlers announced it was selling t-shirts featuring the text “Claremont McKenna virgin,” “Harvey Mudd College baby,” “Pomona College stepbrother,” “Pitzer divorcee” and “Scripps interim dean.”

The t-shirts referencing Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd and Pomona contained the colleges’ logos, while Pitzer and Scripps were set in varsity fonts. 

On Nov. 9, however, the publication announced on Instagram that orders for the former three shirts had been refunded, “because these school’s [sic] legal teams can’t take a joke!”

“Some call it copyright law, we call it big endowments (this is why Scripps and Pitzer shirts did arrive),” the post joked.

A member of The Golden Antlers leadership told TSL that the company facilitating the custom shirt sale, Bonfire, sent an email alerting them that the shirts had been externally flagged for copyright infringement. The GA could redesign the shirts or refund the orders, the member said.

The member added that they “explained that it wasn’t copyright infringement” to the company. 

“It’s clearly satire,” they said. “It might not appear like that to someone who’s not familiar with the 5Cs. It’s clear we’re just subverting brands that [each of the 5Cs] set up.”

It’s not clear if any of the schools were actually involved in a copyright complaint. When asked for comment, CMC spokesperson Gilien Silsby directed TSL to The Claremont Colleges Services, while TCCS spokesperson Laura Muna-Landa directed TSL to the individual colleges, who each maintain their brand identities. Pomona and Harvey Mudd didn’t respond to requests for comment. 

Bonfire does say that “only the copyright owner or an authorized representative may submit a Trademark Takedown Request.”

Still, the GA isn’t giving up on their satirical pursuit. They’re now collecting orders for the CMC, Pomona and Mudd shirts on a Google Form.

“Okay so here’s the plan: we’re pulling a fast one on Custom Ink,” the form reads, explaining that the shirts “will be ordered and shipped before the colleges’ legal teams have time to shut it down.”

“Pretty sure that’s called a loophole,” the form added.

Facebook Comments