#1 By: Cory Doctorow, September 21st, 2013 12:27
#2 By: stuck411, September 21st, 2013 12:48
All of those carpet patterns are copyrighted. Strange, right? But all of the big casinos, cinemas, hotel chains, etc. protect their carpet patterns like they would a novel or a song.
#3 By: Shuck, September 21st, 2013 12:53
I couldn't understand why the carpet designer did this until someone mentioned the cosplayers were selling the design. That rather puts a different complexion on the matter.
#4 By: Kip T W, September 21st, 2013 12:58
And it's the first time they've been called on the carpet.
#5 By: TheMetalPedant, September 21st, 2013 13:28
I suppose, but this seems like one of those cases where the money spent on pursuing the cease-and-desist has to far outweigh any lost sales. Is the company really making a mint from people buying square yards of carpeting to make costumes out of? Is there a danger that someone would buy a berber cat suit when they were in reality trying to carpet the lobby?
#6 By: Mark, September 21st, 2013 13:53
Unfortunately the way that copyright law works is that if a company fails to enforce the copyright themselves when they learn of infringements they are considered to be ceding the ownership of that copyright -- sometimes for all purposes. Given the square yardage of all the world's Marriot hotels that could actually hurt them quite a bit. If they were selling already-constructed costumes they could make a reasonable case that it was a non-infringing use, but selling the raw fabric is definitely a violation of the copyright as it applies to the pattern.
#7 By: Cory Doctorow, September 21st, 2013 14:00
This is a pernicious myth.
There is no such thing as abandonment of copyright.
You are thinking of trademark.
Your copyright cannot be lost through a failure to enforce. Ever.
The difference is that trademark protects a distinctive mark or word from misleading uses in the stream of commerce. If a mark loses its distinctiveness, a court might rule that it has become generic (this happened to "cola" for example, which is why we have both Pepsi Cola and Coca-Cola). This happens very, very rarely, though it does happen.
Copyright, on the other hand, protects creative expression (not uses in commerce) for the life of the author, plus 70 years (or a total of 90 years for works-made-for-hire for corporations).
Copyright has many exemptions, including those that a court might call fair use, as well as incidental uses (called "de minimus" uses), through which you are allowed to make and adapt works without permission.
Trademark doesn't have fair use per se, but it only applies to commercial use, and its exclusivity is limited to confusing uses. That means that trademark only allows you to prevent people from using marks in a way that is likely to confuse a "naive consumer" about the origin of goods or services.
It's really important not to repeat the myth that unenforced copyrights lapse. This is used as a catch-all excuse for otherwise inexcusable bullying. it also frightens people into threatening other people due to fear of loss of their copyrights.
#8 By: Tim Quinn, September 21st, 2013 14:11
It doesn't appear to be the actual pattern, though. It is definitely based on it. Which makes it a test case. Too bad the cos-players are not a huge corporation so they could afford to defend themselves and make the point.
The real point of their action is to stifle an unknown without doing too much work. It is like swatting a fly for these clowns. They don't even want to do the work to find out if it really is an infringement. They will just stop it without thinking. THE PROBLEM.
#9 By: digitalArtform, September 21st, 2013 14:26
Maybe they could dress as the drapes instead. (Did they match?)
#10 By: Xof, September 21st, 2013 14:33
Let us take as a given that the company has the absolute right to do this. (Maybe they do, maybe they don't, but let's not worry about it.)
This is pretty much the definition of a marketing own-goal. Work out a deal. Put the cosplayers in your ads. The company was handed a brilliant promotional campaign on a silver platter.
#11 By: David Forbes, September 21st, 2013 14:36
The joke will be stale by now, so it doesn't matter. It was the fact that they did it, once, that matters.
#12 By: Jeremy Erwin, September 21st, 2013 14:51
#13 By: El Mariachi, September 21st, 2013 15:15
Lost sales is probably not even a potential issue. Crazy-assed carpet designs like this are typically sold as exclusives, if not custom-designed for a particular hotel/casino. The Bellagio wouldn’t stand for some seedy downtown single-deck place having the same carpet.
#14 By: Shuck, September 21st, 2013 15:22
I don't know they were selling fabric, but the (digital) design itself. The amount they were making is somewhat immaterial (no pun intended), as they were acting as if they had ownership of the basic design. I could see why the carpet makers had a problem with this - it wouldn't necessarily be confined to costumes. If it was confined to costumes, I don't think it would be an issue, but by selling the design, they were opening the door to people buying it and thinking they in turn had the right to sell their own products using that design, etc. Best to nip it in the bud, from the carpet maker's perspective.
#15 By: firebagger, September 21st, 2013 15:40
#16 By: digitalArtform, September 21st, 2013 16:09
I remember that from its original airing.
#17 By: SomeDude, September 21st, 2013 17:40
Or, for the 4-billion year life of our sun plus an addition 30 million years, if the work somehow includes a talking mouse.
#18 By: Suzanne, September 21st, 2013 19:30
These people need Popehat on the case!
#19 By: retchdog, September 21st, 2013 21:08
i don't think the luxury hotel industry will really miss the patronage of mostly penniless and slovenly hordes of the unwashed.
#20 By: Sam Paul, September 21st, 2013 22:00
Those Dragon Con Hotels can count on 100 percent occupancy for that event. That's pretty much Christmas/black Friday time for them at very little discount price.
For a hotel to completely fill 100 percent of their rooms means they can charge 'rack rate' for prices or a minor 'discount' convention rate.
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