Copyright madness and the zeal with which it is enforced has become something of a commonality over the recent years. Everyone has heard one story or another about some absurd legal threat, court proceeding, or farktacular blunder involving some company or union or some other entity bearing down on something that previous generations would have held innocuous. Everyone has also asked themselves, where will it end? Well I am here to tell you that we haven’t seen the last of these stories the likes of which will continue to kick at the pillars of common sense like a screaming brat in the cereal isle.
As Halloween approaches, we will once again be treated to a parade of products which are the fruits of July’s annual licensing bonanza that happens right here in New York. Since Labor Day, the shelves of every corner of the vast the American consumer machine have been packed with factory-made, mass produced, wearable likenesses of the recycled ideas and concepts that make up kids entertainment fodder (hey, it’s all new to them). But what about those kids with the creative parents? They are the talented intelligent individuals who although they may bend to the wishes of their spawn and allow a mass marketed character to be the guise of this year’s foray into chocolate coated decadence, choose to make such a guise themselves. That’s right, the home-made costume is still alive and kicking. But will it last?
Yes friends I am sad to say that it may only be a matter of time before the copyright Gestapo descend upon Halloween parties in yet another episode of copyright protection gone wild. Oh sure you say that something like that will never happen, but the list of things that were to “never happen” were something to go by, then chain restaurants would be able to sing the regular happy birthday song without having to pay some walking sack of tanuki dung a bunch of extortion money. Don’t think it can’t happen. With this kind of mentality out there, the one that makes you a faceless market statistic, the restriction of certain costumes at specific events, not based on their subject but rather based on their copyright status, shall be the tip of what is sure to be a very irritating iceberg. And so you cosplayers, trick-or-treaters, and other assorted weirdoes out there I say to you simply; enjoy it while it lasts because you may soon face a crew of imperial tag-checkers asking for your costume's official documentation. Papers please! No, it’s not going to be Jesusland that kills Halloween, it’s going to be the lawyers and their track record in these matters is something that’s truly scary.
Don’t get too distraught though. It’s things like this that can only grow into big problems if the people tolerate the phenomenon first as a little problem. If this horrible premonition comes to pass, don’t just roll over if it’s first incarnation is a minor inconvenience (and it will be). Make a BFD out of it each and every time, take them to the mat and call their bluff… don’t back down. You deny them that first inch, and they’ll not bother to spend the energy to take that mile.