It's Back: Totally Unnecessary And Damaging Fashion Copyright Bill Reintroduced

from the you-can't-be-serious dept

We've discussed over and over and over again how the fashion industry absolutely thrives without copyright protection. In fact, much of the research shows that it thrives because of the lack of copyright. The lack of copyright in fashion does a few useful things: (1) it actually helps disseminate concepts faster, creating important trends that drive the industry forward (2) it helps create important customer segmentation in the market, which actually increases the value of top designers (3) it drives fashion designers to be more innovative and to keep innovating. And all of it works. The fashion industry is highly dynamic, rapidly innovating and highly competitive. So it seems absolutely contrary to basic common sense to introduce a copyright law aimed at adding copyright to fashion.

So, of course, fashion designers and politicians keep doing it. Pretty much every year Chuck Schumer trots out just such a bill, and this year is no different. Reader Steve Phillips points us to the announcement of the bill being introduced and ReallyEvilCanine points us to a celebratory post by a professor who was involved in drafting the bill. This time around the bill has Senators Boxer, Feinstein, Hatch, Graham & Hutchison as co-sponsors, so there's quite a bit of firepower, as they seek to build up protectionist policies that may benefit a few top designers, but will significantly harm up-and-comers. Just as we've seen throughout history, intellectual property protections lag innovation, rather than cause it. That's because the top players in the space use those laws to reduce, not enhance, competition. This is no exception.

Of course, Schumer's been unable to shove through this disaster-in-waiting the past few times he's tried, so hopefully it goes nowhere again, but if you want to see regulatory capture in action, here you go. In the meantime, if this should actually go through, we eagerly await the first major supporter of the bill getting caught copying someone else's design.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 11:47am

    Seen this movie, know how it ends

    Frankly, I'm annoyed enough at the 'fashion industry' that I hope they do adopt such measures.

    Were the good guys' collars in "Inception" Edwardian or Art Deco? Who owns the rights to that? Was that a work for hire?

    Is that skirt tulip or pencil!? 'Cause I totally own tulip...

    DIAF.

     

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  2.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 11:57am

    Re: Seen this movie, know how it ends

    "Is that skirt tulip or pencil!? 'Cause I totally own tulip..."

    I've never been more thrilled at not having any idea what someone was talking about....

     

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  3.  
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    John Doe, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    Business is done int he courts..

    I am very disappointed with the state of business these days. Most business is taking place in the courts and with bills like these, that trend will only get worse.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Hate to say this, but...

    I hold the copyright on clothes. Either pay-up or get naked, NOW!

     

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  5.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Where's the incentive?

    It seems that more and more of our society is tied up in being a lawyer than actually working on new projects. I would guess that nowadays, the incentive is in this using government as a crutch than anything else.

     

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  6.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Where's the incentive?

    I'm not worried. Eventually there will come a sudden and dramatic change. It may take awhile...but the longer it takes, the more the pressure builds, the bigger the eventual pop.

    I can wait.

     

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  7.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    I kinda hope this bill passes, because maybe once everyone sees what a disaster it turns out to be, we can get other copyright reforms implemented.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: Where's the incentive?

    That is what worries me. The more the pressure builds up, the messier the eventual release will be, and the more things will end up damaged when it happens.

     

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  9.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Where's the incentive?

    The question, of course, being whether Lord Helmet will spare you or not....

    Which is why all of this fashion copyright is meaningless. Eventually, you'll all be wearing the white/black jumpsuits with the round white testicle helmets. It is so written....

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    More power to Europe's fashion industry, then. They will actually innovate.

     

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  11.  
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    Joe Lazy, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:27pm

    Seeing the wrong angle

    Has it ever occurred to these knuckleheads that one of the many reasons why our country has succeeded in the past is because we had to actually work hard to do so? Do they even consider all of the creativity, imagination, and just plain effort that will get stifled because of an inane law like that?

    We're getting soft and lazy, and the only cure is competition that can be as genuine and open as this legalistic society can allow.

     

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  12.  
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    sehlat (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    Frederic Bastiat warned is in 1850

    It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.
    I gather nobody's been listening.

     

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  13.  
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    Mr. LemurBoy (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Where's the incentive?

    I, for one, welcome our testicle-helmed overlords

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

    but ... but ... but, without copyright who would invent clothes? Everyone would be naked and cold.

     

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  15.  
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    DH's Love Child (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Where's the incentive?

    I will join my father in the new Dark world order!

     

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  16.  
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    Bob, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:54pm

    thrives?

    I hate to break it to you dreamers, but the fashion industry is not thriving in the United States. The name of the game is controlling the production and that means tight relationships with the sweatshops in China. There's no such thing as an independent designer or a small producer. If you don't have a sweatshop executing on your designs and delivering them to the store when they're fresh, you're worthless. The big chains will take your designs and fax them to China without your permission. And all you can do is cry because there's no protection what so ever.

    Now compare the young, independent fashion designer to the young, independent musician or novelist. Yes, the musician and novelist will end up giving away a substantial fraction of their income to the conglomerates, but they'll have a legal structure to demand a fraction of the income. Is it fair? Maybe, maybe not, but it's something. The musician and novelist doesn't need to figure out how to produce and market a product like the independent designer, they can work on their craft.

    There are hundreds of thousands of novels and CD published each year. Only a few make money, but no one is duplicating the work of the independents. How many fashion designers are there?

     

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  17.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    Re: thrives?

    "How many fashion designers are there?"

    Er, more than a few. The following is a list of American fashion designers, a list that is by no means exhaustive. This is just those that made Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:American_fashion_designers

     

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  18.  
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    Modplan (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    Re: thrives?

    I hate to break it to you dreamers

    It's funny because you're post is made of fantasy.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    Re: thrives?

    Perhaps you would be taken seriously if you offered even one shred of evidence to back up your claims.

    Unfortunately, you failed to do so, probably because you do not actually have any.

    Oops.

     

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  20.  
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    Chris, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:50pm

    Leaves out an important issue.

    There is another side of this story; fashion designers to not get paid very well. While the industry benefits, the designers do not. It is inapposite to consider the benefits to the industry when the issue is the benefits to the designer. Perhaps a thoughtful inquiry into whether designers' work merits copyright is more appropriate. This article fails to do that.

     

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  21.  
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    nonanonymous, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:24pm

    Re: thrives?

    Nice piece of satire

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Leaves out an important issue.

    Sure you can back that statement up with some actual numbers and facts, surely.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Hate to say this, but...

    I'm naked, pay up or i'll stay this way. It ain't pretty...

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 4:03pm

    Re: Leaves out an important issue.

    No, the main thing to consider is if fashion copyrights promote the progress of the useful arts.


    Please do remember that copyright is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

     

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  25.  
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    abc gum, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 6:10pm

    Access Underwear

    How soon till a group called "Access Underwear" askes for $45 from everyone who wears said garments.

    This all makes perfect sense because you never know if someone, somewhere has made a copy of your underwear.

     

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  26.  
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    Crissa, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:26pm

    But...

    ...I agree there's o protection, but...

    ...How would a small designer ever actually collect? The big companies will now just steal the designs, fight in court, and the designer still gets squat.

     

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  27.  
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    BCKrogoth, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:12pm

    Re:

    I was thinking the same thing. Many Internets to you, sir.

     

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  28.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:57pm

    Re: But...

    ...How would a small designer ever actually collect? The big companies will now just steal the designs, fight in court, and the designer still gets squat.

    The mistake you're making is assuming they need to collect from other designers. Not so. Use the fact that a bigger designer copied your design to get some publicity for your own design -- and use that to market your newer designs, and you start to get more attention.

    And then you make money the way anyone should: by selling actual products.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 4:31am

    Re: Re: Hate to say this, but...

    I'm blind! Call the lawyers!

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 5:14am

    Seriously, Congress needs to relax and takes a 6 month vacation. We have enough laws. It seems they think they need to make more for the sake of something to do.

     

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  31.  
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    Vivi, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 6:00am

    Copyright Fashion Bill

    There are so many positives yet so many negatives about this bill.

    www.vivivintage.com

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    kathleen, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 7:12am

    Re: thrives?

    The name of the game is controlling the production and that means tight relationships with the sweatshops in China. There's no such thing as an independent designer or a small producer. If you don't have a sweatshop executing on your designs and delivering them to the store when they're fresh, you're worthless.
    I'm aghast someone would say such a thing in public; the least of which is your use of term "sweatshop". It is offensive. It's bandied about with little thought or veracity. You imply that someone merely needs an offshore connection and off they go. Vacillating between outrage and sarcasm, I can't decide if I should beg you to teach me all you know because I obviously don't know nearly as much even after my 3 decades in the trade or whether I should just ignore you. And no independent designers? Really? Gee, I must be more delusional than I thought working with independents as I do. I have to admit I'm having a cognitive dissonance attack in that I'm having a hard time reconciling the non-existence of designers with daily deposits in my checking account. Maybe it's fairies. Yeah, that's it. Fairies.
    Now compare the young, independent fashion designer to the young, independent musician or novelist. Yes, the musician and novelist will end up giving away a substantial fraction of their income ...The musician and novelist doesn't need to figure out how to produce and market a product like the independent designer, they can work on their craft.
    Designers are better defined as entrepreneurs rather than artists. Furthermore, there is little difference btwn them and a widget inventor; they produce PRODUCTS for sale in the marketplace. I can tell you something very surely, those who view themselves as artists and cloak themselves amid the trappings of it are doomed to fail. Besides, do you all have any idea how tiny the percentage of designers is such that you describe? 7% of the market at most. MOST "designers" produce sewn products like baby diapers or chair covers. Sewn products are 55% of the market. Independent designers are better defined as manufacturers. Legally and for all practicable purposes, that is exactly what they are.
    How many fashion designers are there?
    I wouldn't know, at least thousands. I have 5,000 to 8,000 visiting my site every day. As far as this law is concerned, the jury is still out but it is so narrow and difficult to prove anything that it will be effectively marginalized. Once the hullabaloo dies down, everything will be back to normal. Thank goodness. The earlier law would have put 90% of designers and the service providers who depend on them for their livelihoods, out of business.

     

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  33.  
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    kellythedog (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 9:38am

    Home sewing 's killing fashion

    So In Canada i could see an additional tax on sewing machine sales, and a levy "you might be a criminal tax" on thread.

     

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  34.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Where's the incentive?

    Not if Blackstar Warrior has anything to say about it!

     

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  35.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's the incentive?

    Is there a way to subscribe other than replying? I forgot to subscribe to the thread, though I just checked save as default, so maybe that will fix it for the future.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Jeff Rife, Aug 11th, 2010 @ 8:28am

    Re:

    No one important will think this bill is a disaster.

    Before anyone disagrees, remember that "important" equals "people who donate lots of money to incumbent politicians".

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:44am

    I keep reading comments about the evils of a government establish "right", with Exhibit 1 being various articles making broad, unsubstantiaed, anectodatal claims that the "industry" is working just fine in the absence of such "rights".

    To bring balance to any discussion over a matter such as this, it would be helpful to understand the rationale underlying why various persons and companies are in favor of such legislation. With that information in hand competiting positions can be ascretained and the merits/demerits of such positions examined. This is something that I have as yet to see. Saying something is bad is certainly not proof that it is. Saying something is good is certainly not proof that it is.

    Perhaps this site would like to consider separate articles form proponents and opponents that can then be used to formulate competing arguments useful in helping people under stand the issues involved in this matter.

     

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

  38.  
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    RAmzy dabbous, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 9:27am

    hello

    Fuck u

     

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  39.  
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    fodder99 (profile), Jun 30th, 2012 @ 10:24am

    I dont understand why people get so worked up about fashion.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Fashion Technology, Jan 2nd, 2013 @ 2:35am

    Fashion Technology

    I can understand designs and copyrights in the fashion industry. Just curious to know what patents they file. Is it with regards to methods of developing designs and creating them and any devices used in the process?

     

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


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