Ever the cunning businessman, KISS singer Gene Simmons has devised another way to add to his growing fortune.
He’s decided to trademark the classic “devil horns” hand gesture popular with rock fans the world over. Yeah, you read that right. He’s trying to copyright a hand gesture.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the former ’70s and ’80s music icon has applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for protection of the hand gesture, claiming he first used it in 1974.
But if you want to get into the history of the gesture (yes, there is one!), late legendary rocker Ronnie James Dio is most often credited with popularizing the “devil horns” since 1979, which, according to him, he learned from his Italian grandmother as a way of warding off the evil eye.
But Dio never attempted to take credit for it, saying in a 2001 interview, “That’s like saying I invented the wheel. I’m sure someone did that at some other point. I think you’d have to say that I made it fashionable.”
Dio seemed to be aware that, even back then, Gene Simmons had his eye on owning the classic hand gesture, as Dio was also quoted as saying, “Gene Simmons will tell you that he invented it. But then again, Gene invented breathing and shoes and everything else.” Dio’s widow, Wendy, has sounded off on the situation, telling TheWrap his attempts to copyright the gesture are “disgusting” and “laughable.”
But let’s travel down the rabbit hole a little further, shall we? Because the gesture makes an appearance in pop culture even further back than both Dio and Simmons. Legendary Beatles member John Lennon is pictured making the “devil horns” on the cover of their 1966 Yellow Submarine album cover.
How someone could be allowed to trademark something that has been in the public domain for years remains to be seen.
What do you think about the situation? Should someone be allowed to copyright something in the public domain? Let us know in the comment section below! ~Alexa Caruso