Without laws protecting content, anyone in New York might be able to profit off the name and brand recognition that others have worked hard to build. While the actual damage done by intellectual property theft might seem to be difficult to notice in the immediate, a "big picture" assessment of the matter may reveal how multiply parties trying to use the same content could "water down" and devalue an image or icon. Such a devaluation might only affect the image's creator, who made the investment in creation, as opposed to others who never made any sacrifices towards its development.
Content owners tend to be very protective of their creations for this very reason. The video game company Nintendo serves as a strong example of this fact. The company has historically been very protective of its IP, as evidenced in a recent lawsuit filed against a Japanese company. The company offered customers a real-word experience on the streets of Tokyo, renting out carts as well as costumes of the game's characters. While this action on its own might have not invited scrutiny, the fact that the company took pictures of customers dressed as characters and then used those for advertising brought swift action from Nintendo. The gaming giant filed suit in Japanese court alleging copyright infringement; the court hearing the case agreed.
Some may question just how far a company should be able to go in protecting its content. Yet those businesses that derive value from their IP know the benefit of maintaining its exclusivity. Keeping such exclusivity might require the assistance of skilled legal professionals; a firm specializing in IP protection might certainly be able to provide such support.