The BDSM Emblem is a proposed 3-D symbol of the BDSM community, based on a triskelion design similar to a three-fold Yin Yang symbol (see Sam taeguk and Mitsu tomoe).
This symbol was created after 1995 discussions on an AOL message board, when user Quagmyr proposed a design for a BDSM Emblem, originally inspired by the Roissy ring described in the Story of O (although he later decided the Roissy design had spirals rather than "teardrops"). In fact the Triskelion is an ancient symbol used by many cultures, including Oriental variants with Yin-Yang style dots or eyes.
Quagmyr realised it was impossible for him to copyright a general design with thousands of years of history, and instead claims ownership of one very specific emblem: The rims and spokes are of a color indicating metal. The rims and spokes are of uniform width with the arms rotating clockwise. The inner fields are black. The holes in the fields are truly holes and not dots.
He sells merchandise featuring the Emblem, and allows other people to use his specific emblem for non-profit cultural, educational and artistic use within the BDSM community. However, written permission is required for any commercial use of the Emblem (including fund raising by non-profit BDSM organisations.)
With these restrictions on his original design, many variants of the ancient triskelion have been used on BDSM websites and other media instead of Quagmyr's. Unlike the Leather Pride Flag, no single colour scheme is universally used. Quagmyr's site includes a page showing other triskelions and explaining how they differ from the design he claims rights over.
However, the legal status of his claim to copyright of the design has been questioned. While he has copyright of the original image files, if someone were to recreate the image and republish it then it is doubted that he would have any claim to the image.
Along with the Leather Pride Flag, the BDSM Emblem forms the basis of the BDSM Rights Flag which is free of copying restrictions.
- This article incorporates text from the article on BDSM_Emblem in Wipipedia, the free-content Fetish and BDSM encyclopedia.