The Department of Planning and Natural Resources has clarified the government’s policy concerning the use of the official U.S. Virgin Islands madras pattern.
Pursuant to Act No. 8424, the official pattern is the intellectual property of the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, copyrighted by the Office of the Governor, DPNR Commissioner Jean-Pierre Oriol said in a press release issued on Wednesday.
Additionally, the act provides that the usage and sale of the fabric be regulated through licenses issued by the V.I. Council on the Arts, and that unlicensed usage is prohibited.
The V.I. madras pattern was copyrighted in January 2022. “VICA has secured an exclusive manufacturer of the material and will serve as its wholesale distributor in the territory, according to the release. VICA is partnering with the six fabric stores throughout the territory who will serve as licensed retailers of the material: The Fabric Store, Fashion Playroom, L &C Milliner, Divi Divi Fabric Store, Ebbe’s, and Clara’s,” the press release stated.
Only the retailers of the fabric will be required to obtain a license from VICA, according to the press release. Individuals/entities that purchase the fabric to incorporate into their own creations do not need to obtain a license. In addition, a person, business, or organization wishing to procure more than 50 yards of V.I. madras material may purchase it by the bolt (50 yards) directly from VICA.
“Since the passage of the Act, we have already seen persons trying to create digital copies of the pattern, or have the pattern reproduced on their own. The licensing requirement is all in an effort to preserve the integrity of the pattern and its cultural significance,” said Tasida Kelch, executive director of VICA.
A copy of Act No. 8424 is available at www.vicouncilonarts.org. For more information, contact VICA at 340-774-5984.