If The Fashion Industry Doesn't Get Special Copyrights, The Terrorists Will Win

from the who-else-can-we-help? dept

Having seen the Senate create a special patent exemption for banks, it should come as no surprise that plenty of other industries are looking for special intellectual property treatment as well. Take, for example, the fashion industry. Years back, we noted that the fashion industry was a near perfect example of a creative industry that thrived despite no copyright protection on clothing designs. It showed what a myth it was that creation and innovation would stop in the absence of copyright law. In fact, studies began to show that it was that exact lack of copyright that drove the industry to be so innovative. That was for two reasons. First, designers had to constantly be innovating. An old design is an old design and they couldn't rest on their laurels, but had to keep creating newer and better designs. Second, by allowing knockoffs to hit the market, it actually helped promote the designer versions, and make those legitimate versions even more valuable.

Given all that, it's pretty difficult to understand why Congress decided to introduce new legislation specifically extending copyright to the fashion industry. Research suggested that such a copyright would effectively kill the fashion industry. It's about as backwards a law as you can get. The purpose of copyright is to create an incentive for new and innovative content -- and here's an industry where a ton of new and innovative content is created all the time without it. To any right thinking person, it should be clear that no copyright is needed. And, yet, Congress moves forward with the effort.

As the bill is being discussed, Congress has apparently held a hearing entitled: "Are Special Provisions Needed to Protect Unique Industries?" The answer should be a pretty clear "no," but instead, people were treated to an explanation of how a lack of copyright in the fashion industry would mean that the terrorists, organized criminals and child pornographers would win:
"Most people think that buying an imitation handbag or wallet is harmless, a victimless crime. But the counterfeiting rackets are run by crime syndicates that also deal in narcotics, weapons, child prostitution, human trafficking and terrorism. Ronald K. Noble, the secretary general of Interpol, told the House of Representatives Committee on International Relations that profits from the sale of counterfeit goods have gone to groups associated with Hezbollah, the Shiite terrorist group, paramilitary organizations in Northern Ireland and FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia."
Note, of course, that where the proceeds of such sales go has no bearing, whatsoever, on the the issue of copyright. But don't think that won't stop the fashion industry from setting this up as an emotional issue. And, of course, it's not just the fashion industry. The report also notes that the automobile makers showed up at the hearing as well, claiming that they need special copyright protections on car part designs. Who else wants to step up and ask for special protections?
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Filed Under: congress, copyright, fashion industry

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  1. identicon
    Will Sizemore, 16 Feb 2008 @ 6:55pm

    The Evil of Copyright

    Copyrights, no matter what the original intent was touted to be, were never really meant to encourage designers, for example, to come up with more innovative designs.

    Copyrights do not make me, as science fiction, more creative. My own desire to be different from what has been published in the past is what drives me to be more creative. If I were to publish a rip-off of another author's work, anyone who would truly READ my work would know it immediately.

    I have a word I use to describe one who uses a roundabout means to serve a personal or political agenda that in and of itself is not strong enough to stand. I call them Politicians. Unfortunately, this is a negative connotation that does a great deal of injustice to the few good politicians in the world, and to the insitition of all legislative offices.

    And copyright law, and the legislators trying to capitalize on the buzzword "terrorism" themselves are dubious in that nations like the US will spend COUNTLESS taxpayer dollars investigating these cases all under the guise of patriotism and in their own small way contributing to the War on Terrorism.

    I have recently begun to pay a great deal of attention to copyright and tradmark lawsuits, specifically with regard to software and operating systems. I beleive that although copyright and trademark is the way that a capitalist can toss out an incomplete product and eternally secure revenue while preventing all 'competition' from following that same path.

    I hate copyright, by the way. I hate it because it is viewed as necessary to secure a fair income for people whose innovations should be rewarded. I also hate it because lawyers and justices use it as a means for securing their own income, by defending large corporations who really do not suffer a great loss of income, if any.

    I truly wonder if in this particular case of the Fashion Industry vs. Terrorists, whether the lawyers or the justices, committees, etc, have any stock in fashion.

    Seriously, has anyone ever looked at the portfolios of the judges who pass these rulings in favor of the corporation?

    Ms. Willett, although I am not a fan of fashion in any way, I was so pleased to read your comments. I would love for you to be called as a witness in this case. I think that your perspective is one of invaluable importance.

    I am increasingly motivated now, to change my major from Computer and Information Sciences with minor in Creative Writing, and I may simply make my own path. I am thinking of law and specifically copyright law; with the intent to reform US Copyright Law.

    For now, I will simply appeal to the opinions of my readers with my creative writings and posts on blogs like this one.

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