The most popular Halloween costumes in the U.S. this year will be costumes based on three members of the MTV reality show Jersey Shore: Snooki, The Situation, and DJ Pauly D.
If you think those names sound more like cartoon characters than real people, you aren't far off the mark. Jersey Shore centers around a group of 20-something-year-olds who are or who portray (depending on your opinion of how "real" reality TV shows are) the stereotypical Italian American New Jersey resident. Jersey Shore has become one of MTV's most popular shows, and slang first uttered by the show's cast members have quickly entered the American lexicon (rather unfortunately, in my opinion).
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that MTV has partnered with Rubie's Costume Co. to create an official line of costumes based on the most memorable members of the Jersey Shore cast - apparently because of their "standout characteristics," which include a very short skirt and poofy wig for Snooki, flesh colored foam abdominal for The Situation, and a combed-up hair piece for DJ Pauly D. (No word on whether the Snooki costume packaging will include a warning that the wearer might experience "wardrobe malfunctions because of how short [Snooki] likes her dresses.")
However, The WSJ article notes that costume shops that are out of stock of the MTV-licensed costumes have been selling their own versions of Snooki costumes that include short skirts and unsold inventory of Amy Winehouse beehive-style wigs. Presumably, these stores aren't touting their offerings as official Snooki costumes. But the ease with which they have put together costumes that evoke the Jersey Shore character suggests that perhaps the costumes are rather generic at their core. Without the MTV and Jersey Shore logos on the packaging, what MTV-owned IP remains in the bag?
Costumes are tough to protect under the best of circumstances due to the copyright law that holds that clothing is a "useful" article. Here I don't see anything protectable. This is an amusing "situation:" (see what I did here?) because Amy Winehouse's 15 minutes of fame are already over and a year or two from now they will be selling old Snooki wigs.
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