Fursuiting and copyright: an important issue for fandom

Jan 02, 2014 3 Comments by

Author: Patch Packrat

New powers to patent animals (including unrealized hybrids that populate furry fiction) burst into the news on 11/13/13, when activist organization Wikileaks revealed a draft of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Analysts have called it “a major power grab for large patent and copyright industries,” and it has powerful implications for the future of intellectual property.

With a lead like that, I have to apologize for faking you out. I couldn’t resist. Now let’s do a 180, and get back to the furry level of life, where copyright concerns are much more personal. Consider this scenario that happened to fursuiters Sakura Fox and Mercury on their trip to New York City:

You’re walking through Central Park, and see some panhandlers begging for change. They’re wearing badly made, unsightly costumes of Sesame Street characters. You shouldn’t hang around them in fursuit, because a pimp Elmo might come smack you off his corner!

It’s an unauthorized misuse of trademark for profit. It could make the copyright owners look bad, and they wouldn’t like it. It’s probably too trivial for them to hear about, or hire lawyers to stop it- but you never know. In a famous 1989 action, Disney forced the removal of murals featuring their characters from three Florida day care centers. It helped earn their “reputation as an extreme copyright hawk — there’s a reason ‘Disney lawyer’ is a term all its own”. (On the more friendly side, consider Hasbro’s relationship with Bronies.)

Persistent questions

After Sakura encountered the Central Park panhandlers, it inspired many questions about copyright. He asks: how does copyright work for fursuiters? Is copyright held by the suit builder, or the owner? How does it work for photography of the suit? Who can make money from these activities?

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Find the full article here: flayrah – furry food for thought

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