Friday, March 26, 2010

Are Mardi Gras Costumes Copyrightable?

U.S. copyright law protects a lot of content - everything from books and art to motion pictures, TV shows, sculpture and choreography - and lots in between. But certain things are not copyrightable: ideas, concepts, short titles and useful articles like clothing designs. But here is a recent article that explores the boundaries of the law regarding clothing designs. It addresses the question of whether those grandiose and fabulous Mardi Gras costumes way down in New Orleans are suitable (no pun intended) for copyright protection. We do not know if this issue will be tested in court or how a judge might rule if presented with the issue. But we do believe that these kinds of Mardi Gras costumes are way more than merely functional clothing designs and therefore they should be copyrightable. If that happens, however, is it just going to clog up the courts with more lawsuits when one Mardi Gras costumer designer decides that another costume design is too close to his or hers and constitutes copyright infringement? We will see.

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