As we have previously discussed on our Facebook page, any person or company that attempts to profit from wearing copyrighted costumes or using copyrighted images without permission faces the strong possibility of being sued by the copyright owners. In this case, the copyright owners (and plaintiffs) are Disney, Marvel and LucasFilm and the entertainment company that they are suing is called “Characters for Hire”.
According to the CNN article, “Characters for Hire” received three warning letters from the plaintiffs to remove copyrighted images from its website. The copyrighted images included the characters Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Snow White, Spider-man, Iron Man, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Star Wars storm troopers and more. While the company owner replied that he would (as recorded in court filings), he never removed the copyrighted images.
Last year at San Diego Comic Con, there were reports of cosplayers demanding fees from people wanting to take pictures of them. Anyone who attempts to profit by posing as a character that is copyrighted without the express permission of the copyright owner violates the copyright held by the owner & potentially places themselves into a position of being sued for copyright infringement. Costume clubs that raise money for charities by wearing costumes are not violating copyright infringement because any money raised is done purely through donations and is not kept by the costume club or its members.
Our advice: don’t infringe copyrighted characters by attempting to profit from them.