Thursday, March 30, 2006

Copyright protection for fashion designers?

As if there isn't enough rampant intellectual property protection in this country - Slate writes that The Council of Fashion Designers of America(CFDA warning flash) are lobbying Congress to gather support for a bill to offer copyrightlike protection to clothing designs.

From the article:
The open and accepted practice of fashion designers "paying homage" to the designs of others isn't seen as unpunished piracy, but rather as part of the normal creative flow upon which design itself thrives. And, although it is less exalted, the practice of mass retailers such as H&M and Zara selling knockoffs of high-style designs is seen as an accepted and important part of the fashion business.
Courts have traditionally insisted on seeing clothing as a "useful article" unprotected by copyright, at least in part out of fear that to do otherwise would be to create style "monopolies" that would chill creativity and increase prices.
The CFDA wants to change that. They want to piggyback off of a 1998 law that is used to copyright boat hull designs. I am sure a dress shaped like a boat hull would certainly be haute couture, or would it be boat couture?

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