If you're planning on dressing up in a homemade Jason Vorhees or Freddy Krueger costume or any other movie character, beware. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) will be cracking down on the unlicensed Halloween costumes of trick-or-treaters and party goers across the United States.
In a press release sent out yesterday to media outlets, the MPAA announced that Licensed Costume Patrol (LCP) vans would be patrolling neighborhoods and checking costumes for proper licensing. The costumes will be confiscated and a lawsuit filed, if the costume is not from a licensed costume vendor.
"We'll also be collecting the candy of the costume wearer," said MPAA president and COO Bob Pisano. "We are entitled to any proceeds gained by use of an unlicensed costume, that includes candy."
Pisano noted that the candy would be donated to studios, so they can use it in lobbies and waiting rooms. "This will help them defray some of the revenue lost to these pirates," said Pisano.
Ironically, dressing as a pirate is legal unless the costume strays too close to Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Cease and desist orders have already been received by several Web sites with instructions on making trademark and copyright-infringing costumes.
"Studios reap large profits from character licensing, and we can't have people dressing up as Indiana Jones without paying for it. How can studios finance movies like Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen if your son dresses up as Optimus Prime without the $200 licensing fee," said Pisano.
"With trick-or-treating a widespread practice across America, the LCP won't be able to cover every neighborhood. So we've created profiles of neighborhoods to find the ones most likely to steal from us," said Pisano. "Areas where people are 'into crafts' or 'like sewing' or 'poor' will be targeted."
To help parents determine if their child's costume is properly licensed the MPAA has set up a Web site at mpaa.org/trickortheft. There, parents can tell how close their homemade costume can look to a protected movie character without infringing. It also lists stores where legal costumes can be purchased.
"It's never too early to teach kids the dangers of intellectual property theft," said Pisano. "You take a kid's candy away now, and he'll never want to violate intellectual property rights again."