Shein Sued for Copycat Theft Under Racketeering Law

Designers Krista Perry, Larissa Martinez, and Jay Baron are slapping Chinese brand Shein with a lawsuit—accusing the company of stealing their designs.

The suit alleges that Shein “has grown rich by committing individual infringements over and over again”—knowingly reproducing artwork from independent artists as part of its business model.

But pinning down Shein on copyright violations will be no easy task largely due to how the brand runs its operation.

Unlike traditional retailers, experts liken Shein to a technology company. Instead of employing human designers to avoid copyright issues, the lawsuit says Shein automates that process. Using algorithms to find and select small batches of designs that it predicts will quickly sell out.

Shein isn’t just a single entity, it functions as a mass of smaller operations—many of which have short lifespans and are said to be quickly replaced.

That makes it hard to pin down who’s to blame for any alleged design theft.

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