Hedrick, Lisa J. "Tearing Fashion Design Protection Apart at the Seams." Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 65, No. 1, pp. 215-273, 2008. http://ssrn.com/abstract=1127190
This article presents both side of the copyright debate more in terms of the pieces of legislation proposed for fashion copyright. It goes through the pros and cons of either side of the fashion copyright argument and then argues against the enactment of these laws. Fashion design falls within the negative space of copyright protection. Therefore, designers cannot prevent knockoffs of their original designs. This paper acknowledges that these knockoffs are harmful as they hurt the designer's profits and reputation due to the low quality of imitation products. Piracy causes almost $12 billion of loss in the fashion year annually. The paper is set up this way and the author then skillfully uses all these facts that seem to support fashion copyright to show why copyright laws are ineffective in stopping any of these problems. First of all, terms such as fashion design, apparel, and design are extremely ambiguous but are used within the Design Piracy Bills. This is simply because fashion is hard to define and consequently very difficult to protect. The author also explains that fashion also cannot effectively use patents, trademark, trade dress, or copyright (due to its utilitarian function) for protection purposes. In addition to the vagueness of fashion lingo, the Design Piracy Bills would simply cause congestion of the courts with senseless cases due to the extreme subjectivity that would be involved in fashion court cases. Even if the bills went through, there are so many loopholes that pirates can find within these bills to basically render any protection useless. Finally, Hedrick looks at the fashion laws in the European Union and shows that even with laws hardly any cases come to court regarding piracy. However, she points out the cultural differences in that America is much more litigious and these laws could force designers to pay large amounts of money for lawyers to protect clothing that has a short shelf life. In addition, there is no guarantee that courts will even be able to punish pirates. It is also very possible that the laws enacted in the US would be much stronger than those in the European Union, which could lead to monopolies that would stifle creativity. Although Hedrick is opposed to these laws, she does make some suggestions on how to improve fashion copyright dealings if these laws go through. Overall though, her basic argument is that effective protection by Congress for fashion design is impossible. So, no protection is better than minimal protection. Any benefits that might arise from design protection would diminish rapidly with the cost and time of court decisions on piracy.
This source is obviously beneficial to my argument since it supports my thesis. However, the importance of this source is due to the rational and legal method used by the author to argue against fashion copyright. The author basically looks at the problems with the fashion industry at present and then shows the correlating proposed laws. However, she then analyses these legal proposals to show that they are extremely ineffective at solving the issues surrounding the fashion industry. If anything, these "solutions" might actually make things worse. The argument basically concludes that the fashion industry is inherently incapable of useful intellectual property protection. Therefore, time and energy should not be wasted on implementing laws that will most likely not benefit the industry.