There are no legal cases regarding infringement on images of people cosplaying characters as far as I know. Is this an copyright infringement if the image is used commercially?

1 Answer 1


The Batman costume design is protected by copyright. There is the potential for infringement to be found in the US since clothing can be more than just a "useful article" (Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc). Let us suppose that artistic design element of a particular costume is licensed, then it is legal to produce the costume. US copyright law, per the first sale doctrine, would let you wear the items which contains a protected element. It does not matter if you as costume-wearer wear it in public, for free or for money (it can matter to the costume-maker who does not have a license).

In Japan, there is the possibility that copyright law will be or has been modified to extend copyright protection to the commercial wearing of costumes, so jurisdiction may matter. Finding an authoritative answer to that question is way above my pay grade.

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    I don't think your Answer addresses the issue posed in the question about "images" (i.e. photographs). Sure, you may be able to wear the licensed Batman outfit in public, but if you take a photograph with it on and then redistribute that photograph, that act may well be an infringement, even though the other acts you mentioned (like wearing it in public) are not infringements.
    – Brandin
    Nov 18, 2022 at 15:37

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