The Creeping Monetization of Occupy Wall Street
The movement is gaining members and steam. Now the moneymakers are coming out of the woodwork.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has seen all kinds in its month-long run thus far: Everyone from rap stars to college kids to sympathetic millionaires have turned up to Zuccotti Park to lend their support to the anti-corporate, anti-inequality demonstrations. What OWS has seen very few of, publicly at least, is people trying to profit off the protests. That's all about to change.
As of about a week ago, a Long Island couple has applied to secure the trademark rights to the term "Occupy Wall Street." Robert and Diane Maresca, a disabled former union laborer and an occupational therapist, respectively, put in their application in on October 18, with the intention to brand OWS for use on, among other things, tote bags, hobo bags, gym bags, bumper stickers, t-shirts, and footwear—all of which they want to bring to a store near you. Are you ready for your official Occupy Wall Street flip-flops?
For what it's worth, trademark experts don't sound bullish on the possibility of OWS as a brand, and even the Marescas themselves seem skeptical in an interview with The Smoking Gun. But the most important fact remains: As OWS grows bigger and more popular, so will the dreams of schemers attempting to make a quick buck off of it. For instance, far larger than the Marescas is MTV, which is jumping onto the OWS gravy train with a special OWS edition of its series True Life. One would hope that that would be a journalistic endeavor, of course, but let's get real: Real World: Zuccotti Park isn't outside the realm of possibility when discussing today's ultra-exploitative, often dumb MTV.
One exploitation of OWS that doesn't sound so bad is the Occupy Wall Street book, set to be released sometime in December by progressive publishing house OR Books. It will include work by a thus far unnamed cadre of writers being called "writers for the 99%," and it will record the important details of OWS thus far. Considering the release date, it sounds like it'll make a lot of money as a holiday stocking stuffer. The catch? All proceeds from the sale of the book will go back to the occupy movement itself.