I feel like I’m scooping Jacqui here, since she’s the Madisonian Twilight expert, but I was so bothered by the recent district court decision in the Bella’s Jacket Brouhaha that I’m chiming in on the intersection of intellectual property and teen vampires.
Twilight is probably part of basic 21st century cultural literacy, so I’ll presume that, from Jacqui’s posts if from nowhere else, you’re aware of the basic contours of the very profitable films based on Stephanie Meyer’s very profitable books.
So see the jacket at right? (Image courtesy of SashaW, apparently a big fan of the films.) See that tiny hangtag on said jacket? The hangtag presents an image of Kristen Stewart, in the role of Bella, wearing the same jacket. Apparently, the jacket was originally made by BB Dakota and was formerly known as the “Leigh” jacket. Production of the jacket was discontinued prior to the making of the first Twilight film.
For some unknown (to me) reason, a costume designer in the employ of Summit Entertainment LLC (the studio responsible for the Twilight franchise) thought that Bella (Kristen Stewart) should wear the jacket in Twilight. Examples of such wearing from the film are here. And Summit used the image of Bella in her jacket as part of the promotional materials for the film, including the iconic Bella/Twilight shot, which is plastered all over the Internet.
So far so good, legally. Since fashion design is not protected by copyright law (at least at present!) and because consumers don’t think that every piece of clothing in a movie is a sponsored product placement (at least at present!), the makers of the Twilight film did not need to get a license from BB Dakota in order to use images of the jacket in the promotion of Twilight.
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