osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

Link Harvest: Mardi Gras "Tribes" Want Copyright For Costumes

Every year, folks gather in Mardi Gras "tribes" with costumes inspired by Native Americans and popular culture representations whereof (the article profiles someone from the "Pocahontas Tribe"). They have notices that people take pictures of them and then monetize these pictures. So now they want copyright protection.

My imaginary conversation goes like this:

"So let me see if I get this straight, you want us to expand copyright law so you can monetize your appropriation of Native American aboriginal culture."

"We deserve it because we work so hard on these costumes!"

"And you knew at the time you decided to invest that much time and effort that you were not entitled to any such copyright protection."

"Yes, but it's only moral that we should be, because we're entitled to it."

"Are the Native American tribes you are stealing from also entitled to compensation."

"Hell no! It's not like any specific Native American made the costume. So this is different."

"As the name of your 'tribe' implies, you are also appropriating elements from Disney. Are you paying them compensation for using their actually copyrighted material."

"Hell no! I'm only incorporating a few elements they developed. I still did all this work."

"How is that different from when a person uses one picture of your costume as an 'element' in a larger work, like a calendar, in which that new person has produced a wholly new work of art after investing significant time, effort and expense."

"That's different! That person is stealing from me."

"Even though you knew when you did this that people had a right to take pictures of you and use them?"

"But they shouldn't!"

"And you shouldn't be able to take elements developed by others, like Disney, or actual Native American tribes?"

"That's different! That's fair use."

"And it's fair because . . . ."

"I deserve to get money."

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