Sami Council wants Square Enix to remove Sami clothing from Final Fantasy XIV
The Council believes Square Enix has made a "blatant violation of Sami cultural property."
Since 1956, the Sami Council has, according to its information page, "been actively engaged in Sami political endeavours". The main objective is "[to] promote Sami rights and interests relating to the Sami [and] in order to achieve its objectives, the Sami Council makes statements and proposals on matters relating to Sami industries, rights, language and culture, and especially on matters affecting the Sami in several countries."
Recently, the Sami Council made a statement on culture and rights, namely virtual clothing. According to their website, the Sami Council demands that Square Enix immediately removes the Sami coded clothing Far Northern Attire from the online role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV. After clarifying that it is not about "sensitivity and insult", Àslat Holmberg, spokesperson of the Sami Council, said:
[I]t is the position of the Sámi that their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi.
This is an agreement the Sámi Council has had with Walt Disney Animation Studios, among others, for some time, and now they want Square Enix to follow suit. Holmberg continues:
Our cultural property rights are not theoretical. They are protected and protectable under intellectual property laws, which are generally harmonised throughout the world. Square Enix, as a media company, is highly aware of intellectual property laws and has no excuse for this blatant violation of Sámi cultural property [...].
Square Enix has not yet responded to the claims, so it remains to be seen what will happen next. You can read the full Sami Council article here.