Clothing/Costumes/Recipes/Jokes =/= Copyrightable

This calls into question how Disney and the producers of The Lone Ranger western series were able to get away with throwing their weight around so easily. Intimidation works. The first thing we must do is kill all the lawyers.

One reason cookbooks are so inexpensive when other texts are not is recipes are not protected by copyright. As it turns out, clothing designs and costumes aren’t either.

Nevertheless, Disney had a cow some years ago when a model dressed as Snow White waltzed into the Academy Awards presentation event in an effort to amplify the glamour and fun. Disney was having none of it and publicly complained its copyright was violated while threatening to sue the Academy. (“Nobody asked US for permission!”) The Academy cringed, groveled, and apologized profusely. The lawyers left the dispute empty handed when Disney accepted this vindication, or Mexican standoff–two scorpions in a bottle?

The actor who invested his career as the Lone Ranger in the TV western of yesteryear must have invested his gains from the role badly as he took to touring shopping centers in costume for income in his retirement. The producers of the series decided they didn’t like this instance of busking, successfully threatening the elderly Masked Man with a copyright lawsuit. “The Lone Ranger always upholds the law,” the retired TV hero said. It was rumored he subsequently applied for food stamps.

Most readers likely know Snow White was published in 1812 and any costume copyright claim was moot even had it been in 2012. The elderly Masked Man was bullied in the same manner as the Academy, but had far fewer resources with which to defend himself.

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