Dragon Con is just one of many internationally popular pop culture/fantasy/sci-fi conventions in the world that includes a whole lot of folks partaking in cosplay (short for “costume play”). This one is held each Labor Day weekend in Atlanta and continues to grow in popularity, as it just set a record attendance of more than 57,000 for 2013 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta.
Cosplayers take on the looks and the personality of the many characters they impersonate to celebrate the media they come from. The popularity of cosplay continues to grow. For example, the Syfy channel has a new show called Heroes of Cosplay. Here’s a brief video on the show and a good representation of the extent and dedication these individuals have for their
Fair use may keep a lot of big business media outlet from not seeking remedies to stop cosplayer, but when Volpin Props, a local Atlanta prop and costume design maker, made a custom-made camouflage outfit for a couple of Dragon Con attendees, it was a hit! You see (or don’t see? haha), the camo was a print to match the carpet of the Marriott where the conference is held.
After the camo costumes were a big hit at the 2013 Dragon Con, Volpin Props decided to market the pattern on Spoonflower, a website that allows you to create, print, and share custom fabrics. That’s when the carpet design creator and copyright holder, Couristan Inc., determined the design was being used commercially without its approval, leading to a cease and desist letter to the props maker in Atlanta.
While the book on cosplay copyright infringement is still being written, this chapter has seemingly come to an end, as Volpin Props founder Harrison Krix is apparently in agreement with the carpet company and, while admitting it is a rather silly chain of events, has agreed to end releasing the design. He wrote on Facebook:
Of all the things to get a Cease and Desist over, of ALL the replicas I’ve made over the years, I’ve received one from Courtisan Inc, designers of the Marriott Marquis Atlanta hotel carpet. Spoonflower has pulled the design, as is their right, so sorry everyone who wanted some fabric of their own! The absurdity is palpable.
…I feel I should clarify my opinion about the Marriott carpet thing. I’m still very sick and went to bed pretty much immediately after posting last night. I didn’t have a chance to read the comments until this morning, and apparently this is a heated issue!
Courtisan, the copyright holder for the design of the pattern, is fully within their rights to issue a C&D and I absolutely support that action. I wouldn’t want anyone recasting my props and they should take similar actions to protect their designs.
My comment about it being absurd was referencing the fact that the C&D comes from a carpet company of all things, after making replicas of video game items for years now.
Please do not send Courtisan Inc or Marriott any nasty messages concerning this. I’m in complete agreement with their decision.