Advocacy organisation claims copyright ownership of Bi Pride flag and demands payment for its use

Following BiNet USA claiming creative ownership over the Bi Pride Flag, its board members have spoken out and refuted any intent to police this image.

Bi Pride Flag waving in the air, an advocacy group have recently claimed copyright ownership of it

A non-profit bisexual advocacy group, BiNet USA, have threatened to take legal action against artists and companies after declaring themselves the sole copyright owner of the Bi Pride flag.

Reportedly America’s oldest advocacy group for bi+ people, BiNet USA attempted to police the usage of the bi pride flag. On Twitter, they issued warnings to companies and organisations about this image’s use, going so far as to demand the Human Rights Campaign remove it from their Zoom background options. 

BiNet USA wrote on their Twitter page, “Most other Pride flags were not created by an organisation but way back when Bi Net USA were the first to create a new flag, and then many other communities followed suit. Many of which we bis are also part of and calm home. What of those other flag makers? Do they struggle too?”

The organisation further stated, “We should step up against the commercialization of the dream of pride. And ask hard questions of any who make money using Pride flags or sell to increase visibility.”

The BiNet USA’s claims of copyright ownership have largely been met with backlash online. The flags creation is credited to Michael Page, who designed it in 1998 to give the community a symbol they could stand behind and bring them together.

LGBT+ activist and artist, Jayne B Shea, has been targeted by the advocacy group to cease creating and selling bi Pride related items. The organisation wrote on Twitter, “We at BiNet USA are asking you to get in touch so we can discuss your use of the bisexual pride flag without any money going to our organization. Thank you for removing the flag from your site, socials or work. We know this is a lot so we hope we can work a new deal.”

On Twitter, the artist expressed, “I am beyond shocked, hurt, and extremely disappointed that as a bisexual activist, I was targeted in this way. My goal has always been to promote the visibility and acceptance of the bisexual community, and to provide opportunities for bisexual people to celebrate their identity…not to make a profit.”

Following the claims of ownership, BiNet USA’s Twitter page has been suspended. Former and current chairpersons on the board have condemned the actions of the organisation and its president.

Current board member, Dr Lauren Beach stated, “I want to clarify these are the views of #BiNet President @thefayth, who also was the person tweeting this content earlier today from the now-defunct BiNet twitter. I do not share the view that #BiNet owns or should seek to license the #bisexual pride flag.”

One activist tweeted, “As a former VP and board member for @binetusa, I’ve seen Faith Cheltenham do a ton of very important work for the bi+ community. I’ve also watched her single-handedly destroy the nation’s longest-standing bi+ advocacy org and it’s time to talk about that.”

Another person shared, “I’m watching an Org that helped me grow fall apart. I’m truly shaken. I was demoted from the board alongside a few others, like @DrGBeth and we recognize this is the work of one. Not all.”

BiNet will be releasing a full statement clarifying their position on this ongoing issue.

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