Everyone seems to be talking about the controversial “Satan shoes” released by famous rapper Lil Nas X (“Nas”) in collaboration with MSCHF Product Studio, Inc. (“MSCHF”). The shoes are controversial for many reasons, including their Satanic imagery, allegedly containing a drop of human blood in the sole, their perceived endorsement by Nike, and the music video and hit rap song that Nas released in tandem. Though the song, video, and shoes have sparked a moral and ethical debate worldwide, attorneys are intrigued by the legal debate that arises regarding the various trademark claims that Nike brought against MSCHF in a lawsuit filed on March 29, 2021.
Corporate compliance professionals will often define compliance as “doing the right thing.” Indeed, both compliance professionals and scholars agree that ethics are an important aspect of effective compliance programs. This is particularly true when it comes to compliance with forced labor regulations. Using forced labor can be appealing to companies seeking to reduce their operating costs and increase profits. However, in the face of a toxic business culture that values maximizing profits, compliance professionals must convince their colleagues that forced labor is not worth the savings in operating costs.