Senate Judiciary Committee Moves Forward On Fashion Copyright

from the protectionism dept

The Senate Judiciary Committee apparently just loves expanding copyright law for no reason whatsoever. Just after they unanimously agreed to move the COICA censorship bill forward, they've also unanimously agreed to move forward with the fashion copyright bill, which is nothing more than blatant protectionism for the largest players in the fashion industry, at the expense of new entrants and (more importantly) the public. This has been discussed over and over and over again and it's a real shame.

There's no actual justification for it. The purpose of copyright is to benefit the wider public by creating incentives for the creation of new works. Yet, the fashion industry is highly competitive and constantly churns out new and innovative works. In fact, the research into the fashion industry has shown that the industry thrives because of the lack of copyright. It allows much faster dissemination of ideas into the market place, including more choices at more prices, which is what helps create fads that drive sales. On top of that, it encourages designers to keep designing new works to get ahead of the next trend. There has not been a single study that has proven any actual "harm" from this lack of copyright -- just vague and misleading statements that pretend this bill is about stopping counterfeits, which are already illegal under trademark law.

So why is it moving forward? It's plain and simple: protectionism by the established players. If you look at the history of copyright expansion, you see the same story over and over again. A lack of copyright (or very weak copyrights) leads to much greater innovation in an industry... and then the leaders of that industry don't want to let new competitors in, so they seek greater and greater copyright protections. That's exactly what's happening here and the folks supporting it -- including the 19 Senators who voted to move the bill forward -- should be ashamed of themselves for simply kowtowing to industry protectionism.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    Well I guess people wanting to cloth themselves will just have to pay more for it or start printing their own clothes at home.

     

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  2.  
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    Jay (profile), Dec 1st, 2010 @ 4:10pm

    The rub

    Here's the problem, where is the incentive for them to be against this?

    They line their campaign pockets with this ill-gotten gold, the industry makes money, and the only ones that suffer are the nameless individuals that you never see.

    It's a lose for us, but it's a (personal) win for the select few that this type of law favors. At least until one thread unravels...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 4:19pm

    I for one will stop buying clothes if this goes through.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 4:21pm

    Great another law to get single woman sued for absurd protections.

     

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  5.  
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    TNorthcutt (profile), Dec 1st, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    There was a great Planet Money episode a few months ago that discussed the fashion copyright and why "stealing" of design is good for consumers.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2010/10/26/130838159/the-tuesday-podcast-stealing-our-w ay-to-a-t-shirt

     

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  6.  
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    cc (profile), Dec 1st, 2010 @ 4:41pm

    Re:

    No, you won't. You'll fall in line like a nice little soldier. And even if you do stop buying clothes, you won't matter next to the millions of others who never even realise what's happening.

    That's really the problem. Most people don't have a clue about what's happening, and they don't even care. How can you make people scream from the rooftops on an issue so subtle and intricate as copyright and its effects..?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 5:13pm

    At least one judge is appaled by all of this.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/12/xbox-judge-riled/

    “I really don’t understand what we’re doing here,” U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez roared from the bench.


    “Maybe two of the four government witnesses committed crimes,” the judge said from the bench. “I think it is relevant and the jury is going to hear about it –- both crimes.”


    “The only way to be able to play copied games is to circumvent the technology,” Gutierrez said. “How about backup games and the homebrewed?”


    “The first prosecution 12 years later, and you’re suggesting a mens rea that is akin to exactly contrary to the IP manual: that ignorance of the law is no excuse?” the judge barked.

    “You didn’t even propose a middle ground,” Gutierrez continued. “What’s getting me more riled, it seems to me I cannot communicate the severity to you of what’s going on here.”


    This went on for more than half an hour and according to some lawyers, prosecutors and others came down from the hall to see what was happening after that the prosecution asked for a recess to reevaluate their options as it got clear they were in for some though times ahead :)

     

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  8.  
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    Blatant Coward (profile), Dec 1st, 2010 @ 5:52pm

    Re:

    That means they will be textile pirates!

    Well eyepatches are kinda hot...

     

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  9.  
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    Anon, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 6:08pm

    Stupid politicians

    The government is promoting a hatred for itsself by it's citizens, but is to stupid to understand that. This hatred willl result in a lack of patriotism and love of country.
    Nothing can be as detrimental to our society as that.

     

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  10.  
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    Howard the Duck (profile), Dec 1st, 2010 @ 6:13pm

    Publicity rights next!

    That's right.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 6:27pm

    I imagine that the next time Homeland Security officers make an announcement from Disneyland, they'll be wearing the latest in fashion from a big designer label.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 6:57pm

    The lawyers will definitely benefit.

    The lawyers will definitely benefit. Not sure about anyone else.

    I think it'll be great to be able to say they deserve what they get. Nuclear-lawsuits!

     

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  13.  
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    Greevar (profile), Dec 1st, 2010 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Stupid politicians

    I love my country, but I detest the people whom make its laws.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 7:37pm

    Re:

    In this case a spinstress.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 7:51pm

    OH give up in the usa already

    copyright my farting
    after all you have nothing else worth doing for business no more.

    CHINA makes everything

     

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  16.  
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    Greevar (profile), Dec 1st, 2010 @ 7:56pm

    Copyright, Fractional Reserve Banking, War...

    It's all just a tax on the poor. They use the government to create a pyramid and put themselves at the top while we bear it across time on our backs. They have retarded our right to create whatever we will in order to give themselves the power to take ideas and put up walled gardens to the common wealth of our culture. They love to take something that isn't really theirs in the first place, put a wall around it, and then charge people for access to it. It happens with art and science, but it also happens to our natural resources as well. They mine for ore and other buried treasures of the earth and then have the gall to act like it was theirs. They take what was already there and act like they have a right to it.

    Banks loan money that doesn't exist and take in ridiculous amounts of interest. They make themselves rich off of the backs of hard working people. People sweat and toil creating real wealth while the banks reap the rewards. They keep people perpetually in debt in order to line their own pockets. After all, a people burdened by debt is easy to control.

    War has become a tool of profit as well. The government has made up imaginary enemies to the people in order to legitimize expenditures to fight these bogus threats. The war on terror is just a ruse to make the military hardware corporations rich. As long as there are "evil doers" to "fight", there will be profit for the military industrial complex. The war on drugs is only designed to make the people that run it well-off. The people that profit from the creation and operation of prisons love the war on drugs. They intentionally pick battles they know they can't win because it introduces a perpetual demand for goods and services intended to fight these imaginary foes. And guess who is paying for all of this? You guessed it, we do.

    You would think they would be satisfied with all these ill-begotten wealth and power but, no, they come to our legislators and demand more. More protection for them to control what was never theirs to begin with. More control over who can create and who has the right to participate. I have had it up to my eyeballs and I wish like hell that I could expose these liars and thieves to everyone so we can overthrow them once and for all.

     

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  17.  
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    Jeff MacDougall, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 7:58pm

    Say goodbye to those cheap sunglasses stands at the mall, to a $10 pair of shoes, etc. The average person won't notice this until it's too late. Affordable clothing will all look the same. The middle-class (what's left of it) will be dressed just like they do in a futuristic sci-fi movie... all alike.

     

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  18.  
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    abc gum, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 8:39pm

    I'm getting a copyright on wearing a baseball cap sideways, then I'll sue all you posers

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Silicon Valley Is Gonna Burn, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 9:01pm

    Mike Masnick Talks Too Much

    Hey Mike Masnick,

    Luckily, No one cares what you think about the fashion industry's efforts to protect themselves from freeloaders. Nor does the music industry care what you think about their efforts to enforce copyright protection in the digital environment. You need to put down your trusty EFF handbook and get caught up with what's actually happening in the real world. Also, How long are you gonna keep pushing this overly vague "Innovation" concept? Your stupid articles make me laugh.

    "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley-

    Silicon Valley Is Gonna Burn

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Mike Masnick Talks Too Much

    I think the Army will object to that all their weapons depend on Silicon Valley today.

    XM25 (grenade launcher)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytPa8ihfrPU

    That is catching up to the South Korean K11.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2IgHa6WwUo

    Which have dual mode assault/grenade.

    If Silicon Valley burns so do the Army.

    "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley-

    Also I want to let you know that whatever your are selling I'm not buying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Greevar (profile), Dec 1st, 2010 @ 10:00pm

    Re: Mike Masnick Talks Too Much

    You're living in a fantasy if you think that selling imaginary goods and expecting people to respect them as real property is the way things ought to be. Content is a service industry and they're trying to pretend it's a product. It's not and you can't make it so just because you went to the trouble to limit its existence to a physical medium you control. Information and ideas are not tangible things that can be owned.

    As far as the fashion industry is concerned, they already have all the protection from "freeloaders" that they deserve. Trademark offers legal protections against counterfeit products and copyright doesn't afford them anything more than they have already in that respect. It does, however, afford them the ability to push out competitors with litigious bullying. Besides that, if I wanted to make replica tables that are exactly the same in design to that which is sold by Tiffany and Co. and sell them for cheaper, I have every right to so much as I don't claim that it is an actual Tiffany table.

    Innovation is not a vague concept. In fact, it's very specific. In the context it is used, it means that trying something else is better than continuing to fail at what they are doing now. I believe it was Einstein that said "The definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting different results". The content industries are rank with guilt where that is concerned. We don't give buggy whip makers protections because cars have made them obsolete, they just have to adapt.

    Furthermore, if nobody cares what Mike has to say about these subjects why do you care so much to make the effort to tell him as such? You contradict yourself. By your very action, you have proven that someone does care what he has to say: you.

    Just because you don't think people should copy works without paying for it doesn't make it any harder to do so. It's easy to do and is necessary just to access the content. Copying and imitation are a core part of art and condemning others for deriving their creations from prior art is hypocritical because all art is derivative of prior art. By your standard, the founders of Disney should have been penalized for using the works of the Brothers Grimm (e.g. Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, etc. ). They pushed for many copyright amendments calling for protections to prevent others from doing what they have done themselves. Perhaps you are the one that is ignoring facts?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 10:03pm

    Re: Mike Masnick Talks Too Much

    Money spent on "fashion" in the past decade: $0
    Money spent on "music" in the past decade: $0
    Money spent on "tech" in the past decade: Not $0

    Oh yeah, the tech industry is going down.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 12:49am

    Re:

    Why not? 3d printers are out, we can do furniture with them.
    Won't be long until we CAN print our own cloths.

    We already have knitting, but that's not very trendy atm, is it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    The eejit (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 2:23am

    Re: Mike Masnick Talks Too Much

    And you are a paid shill. News at 11.

    To address your point, the sole purpose of current copyright is to sodomise the consumer, in the name of profit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    Richard (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 5:24am

    Re: Mike Masnick Talks Too Much

    Luckily, No one cares what you think about the fashion industry's efforts to protect themselves from freeloaders. Nor does the music industry care what you think about their efforts to enforce copyright protection in the digital environment. ....

    You definitions of "no-one" are warped.

    Go out and talk to real people and you will find a different opinion - you have insulated yourselves in a little bubble and you don't realise what the ordinary population thinks anymore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 6:28am

    Re: Mike Masnick Talks Too Much

    "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley-

    Not sure why this quote was used. LOL
    Who is ignoring the facts?

     

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  27.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re: Mike Masnick Talks Too Much

    "Content is a service industry and they're trying to pretend it's a product."

    I never thought of it that way ... thanks

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 7:16am

    LOL ... the USA, land of gray coveralls, rubber rain booties, and the fashion police ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 7:19am

    Your clothes are infringing, take them off we are confiscating them. I don't care if its the winter and you have to walk home naked ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    BigKeithO (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Mike Masnick Talks Too Much

    You really haven't bought any new clothes or shoes or underwear in the past decade?! It might be time to get off that wallet and get some new duds.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 9:15am

    I can't wait for the news headlines ...

    21 Japanese tourists held without bail for trying to enter the US while wearing Armani US knock offs ... from the head quarters of Armani US, ICE talking head john smith is quoted as saying "These clear and flagrant violations of US law will not be tolerated. We must set an example and punish these criminals to the fullest extent of the law." Amoung the arrest was japanese porn star Aika Muira.

    In other Fashion news "Christina Agulera was released six month early from her two year prison sentence. After being jailed for wearing a vera wang knock off dress on the red carpet premier of "Rocky 12 - Nursing home dust up" ..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Greevar (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    These fools don't realize they're starving the goose that lays the golden eggs. They can't siphon off our ability to earn a living with constant outsourcing of jobs people need and still expect us to continue to be consuming whores. Nor can they create monopolies that restrict the creation of new jobs creating the same result. The more jobs they take from us, the less money we have to buy their goods. Eventually, Americans won't be able to afford the goods and services that made our corporate masters rich.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re:

    When I read this article I also immediately thought of 3D printers also.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wow that sentence makes me look like I work in the Department of Redundancy Department.

    Note to self: Self, proofread better!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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