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Today, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear arguments in the case of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands. The case asks whether copyright may protect designs in useful articles, such as stripe patterns on cheerleader uniforms. Public Knowledge recently filed an amicus brief emphasizing the case’s potential impact on hobbyists and consumers. The International Costumers’ Guild and the Royal Manticoran Navy, two popular costuming organizations, also joined the brief.
The following can be attributed to Meredith Rose, Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:
“By agreeing to hear this case, the Supreme Court has the opportunity to settle the law of clothing and copyright, which currently is anything but clear. This case touches on fundamental questions of protection, design, and fashion -- issues that impact a large and growing portion of consumers and hobbyists who enjoy costuming. There is no reason that dressing as a superhero by day should require a secret identity by night. These individuals should have a right to practice their craft and celebrate the things they love without fear of litigation.
“We are extremely thankful for the support of our allies in the the International Costumers Guild and the Royal Manticoran Navy, as well as the continued input from costumers across the country in helping us bring this debate to the Supreme Court. We look forward to working to support this community, and all consumers, as this case moves forward.”
You may view our amicus brief for more information. You may also view Meredith Rose's blog post, “Cosplay Goes to the Supreme Court,” as well as our follow-up podcast episiode, for a detailed explainer.