Cosplayers threatened with legal action for hotel carpet costume

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A pair of DragonCon attendees came up with a rather clever costume idea. They dressed up as soldiers, but instead of wearing your typical camouflage, they used the pattern of the hotel's carpet. But they ended up in hot water with the carpet's designer.


Volpin Props put together these outfits, based on the carpet at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta. What seems to be the issue is not that they dressed up as the rather busy carpet, but what Volpin Props did next. They made the fabric available through print-on-demand service Spoonflower so that future DragonCon cosplayers could replicate the outfits.

Couristan Inc., the designers of the carpet, were not amused, and issued a cease & desist to Volpin and Spoonflower. Volpin Props didn't share the details of the C&D, but it sounds like it was prompted by the sale of the design. Certainly prop and costume makers in the cosplay community deal with their share of C&D notices, but the fellow behind Volpin Props said on Facebook that he was pretty shocked to get one from a carpet designer after years of making replica video game props. But he felt Couristan was within its rights to protect its intellectual property.

Moral of the Story: If you try to sell your clever (but possibly copyright infringing) costume, you can face legal action from any quarter, including the designer of that ugly hotel carpet.

Volpin Props [Facebook via The Mary Sue]



Congratulations, Courtisan, Inc.! I now know the name of your company! In an entirely negative way. And forever after I'll be like "Wow, hey, aren't those the utterly humorless carpet-making douchebags?" Mission accomplished?

So, it's like, yes, by all means, protect your IP. When it's actually threatened (I mean, cosplayers? Come on). And without smearing your own name in the process.

ETA: I had never even glanced at hotel carpetry until these guys did this ninja thing. It was fun and interesting and I thought, "Neat design! Cool idea!" in that order.