As stores fill their aisles with Halloween themed décor, candy, and costumes, K-Mart is filling theirs with a copyright infringement lawsuit courtesy of Rasta Imposta. The center of the lawsuit is a banana costume.
Rasta Imposta claims that K-Mart infringed on their copyrighted banana costume, and is seeking damages. K-Mart previously ordered the banana costumes from Rasta since 2008, but did not do so this year claiming they “went with another supplier”.
In order to prove copyright infringement the plaintiff must first have standing to sue, which means it owns a valid copyright. Rasta did register the costume in 2010, and has licensed it out since then. However, K-Mart has a strong argument that the copyright is not valid considering how basic these banana costumes really are, and remember that a copyrighted work needs to be original.
If Rasta can overcome this obstacle, it will then have to establish that its reproduction rights have been violated by demonstrating that K-Mart copied a substantial portion of its protected work. In the complaint, Rasta argues that the shape, ends, and vertical lines down the middle of the costume are entirely too similar to not be an infringement.
The smoking-gun in this case is the fact that K-Mart used to buy the exact same costumes from Rasta before making their own. (*dun, dun, dun). However, knowing copyright cases, this may not make this case the slam dunk Rasta is hoping for.
So it turns out, the scariest thing this Halloween is not ghouls or goblins, but copyright infringement lawsuits.