Reporter: Stephen Long
HAMISH ROBERTSTON: Alongside Coca Cola, Nike is one of the world’s most successful brands, but it’s has faced a barrage of criticism about its alleged use of sweatshop labour.
Well, the Air Jordan Future United States Supreme Court is about to hear a landmark case about whether Nike’s defence of labour conditions in its factories represents false advertising.
Nike is asking the Supreme Court to protect free speech by giving companies immunity from laws against false advertising.
Stephen Long reports.
STEPHEN LONG: The Swoosh is now an icon brand, displayed on more bodies than any other athletic logo. But few companies have been as criticised over their labour practices as Nike.
After human rights groups exposed sweatshop conditions in countries such as Indonesia, where subcontractors made Nike product during the 90s, the company responded. First with a code of conduct on labour rights, then with a series of strategic speeches, like this one by Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive, Philip Knight.
PHILIP KNIGHT: One column has said: “Nike represents not only everything that’s wrong with sports but everything that’s wrong Air Jordan DMP with the world”. So I figured that I’d just come out and let you journalists have a look at the great Satan up close and personal.
STEPHEN LONG: But Nike’s media strategy backfired when a Californian court found that its claims about pay and conditions for workers in south east Asia were wrong and represented false advertising.
This week, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal against the ruling.
Nike’s critics say false claims made in a speech is just as misleading to consumers as a claims made in a paid commercial.
But strange bedfellows are backing Nike’s case that right is on Air Jordan 19s its side.
Nike’s Attorney, Tom Goldstein.
TOM GOLDSTEIN: Yes, we have a variety of what are generally regarded as strange bedfellows. Some of the entities that accused us, including organised labour, which has really highlighted a lot of the allegations against Nike, are defending Nike’s right to respond, as are most of the major media entities in the United States and also the United States Federal Government.
This case is a very fundamental one for the rights of businesses to participate in public debate. And that’s businesses in the United States and businesses the world over because so many communications reach the United States.
STEPHEN LONG: But couldn’t one make out a case that in today’s world of mass communication, statements by companies are indeed a form of advertising designed to persuade public opinion and boost their products?
TOM GOLDSTEIN: I think that that’s a fair point. Everything a company does is in a sense intended to increase its sales. The difficulty with that position is that it means that corporate speech receives very little protection if that were accepted. Nike’s position is not that its statements Air Jordan Spizike outside the context of advertising are free from regulation, to the contrary, Nike believes that if it attempts to Air Jordan 6s mislead someone and they’re induced to purchase a Nike product, then they can be held liable. It’s point is simply is that you can’t strip away all the Constitution’s protections as California has tried to do here.