Mencken, Jennifer. A Design for the Copyright of Fashion." Diss. Boston College of Law, 1997.
"A Design for the Copyriight of Fashion" was written by Jennifer Mencken in 1997. The essay, though short, covers some very important topics in regards to fashion copyright and protection of designs. The introduction considers that becuase the fashion industry is one of the largests and has no boundaries, economically or socially, it is hard to contain.
Mencken's essay discusses the reasoning behind not protecting designs and talks about the process from thought and conviction to pen and paper, and eventually, to the showroom and the streets. She briefly cites the ability for some fashion designs to be protected under Common Law, however, that angle is now since moot. Though the article was published in 1997, almost ten years ago, most of the information remains pertinent. Mencken discusses patents versus copyright and trademarks verus monopolies on fashion.
She continues to argue for the "Implementation of Fashion Design Copyright." She identifies that there is a "conceptual separability of fashion's artisict elements from the functionality of clothing." She cites the Copyright Act of 1976, allowing the line to be cast that fashion design is almost similar to writing, in respects, to protection. Conceptual separability versus the creative process is a major discussion in the paper.
She closes with a discussion on the scope of copyright and the "requirements for implementation." She says, " In creating a copyright system which recognizes the expressions of designers, many old fears, such as burdening the consumer and creating a marketplace monopoly, resurface. With tens of thousands of designers churning out work, it is easy to foresee chaos. How far does the copyright extend? For how long? What would constitute infringement?"
She closes with a discussion on the effect of copyright in fashion on the industry. She concludes that copyright on fashion should be a decision of the designers rather than the people who purchase their creations.
This article is particularly important to my thesis and argument for my paper as it attacks and answers questions about how copyright in fashion can and will affect the industry. This article is also important as it plays devil's advocate and expresses the concern with copyright and fashion and how the lack of copyright can be seen to have not affected the economic aspects of the industry.
Cox, Christine and Jennifer Jenkins. Between the Seams, a Fertile Commons: An Overview of the Relationship Between Fashion and Intellectual
Property. USC Annenberg School for Communication. 29 January 2005.
This essay, created by Christine Cox and Jennifer Jenkins for The Normal Lear Center on Entertainment and USC Annnenberg was published in January of 2005. They start with a few juxtapositions of steals vs. splurges in magazine and continue to the real argument. "Why not fashion?" The authors pose a great argument, "With a system that tries its best to forbid sampling
and remixing at every turn, how can such an extensive and fertile
commons be allowed to exist?" The essay continues to cite courses in the Copyright field in different mediums and relate them to fashion and the place of protection in fashion design.
The essay continues to talk about Trademark and Trade Dress and how that differs from the fight at hand, copyright protection and the lack of legal protection for fashion design. Like almost every other important article in this field, the authors say that it is an amazing feat for as much copying that goes on within the design world, the industry continues to create and create. The counterpoint to protecting Fashion design rights with copyright is that, "In the fashion industry,
the absence of rights actually may feed the creative process. Fashion
designers are free to borrow, imitate, revive, recombine, transform and
share design elements without paying royalties or worrying about
infringing intellectual property rights."
The article closes with a simple question, "Is fashion the exception or should it be the rule?" The question is left somewhat open ended, having all the information necessary to make an educated decision. The essay claims that "there are few elements of clothing design that are novel." How can you protect something that is not intellectually or creatively unique?
This piece is well written, well supported, and leaves the reader with a few important questions to answer. It is really important in regards to supporting my theis because it is a relatively new piece, including a lot of recent information and identifies major arguments that I am dealing wth in my paper. Again, this paper talks about the cycle of knockoffs and designers and that there lies an equal advantage and disadvantage. This piece will help me to support the argument that it isn't whether fashion design should or should not be copyrighted, rather, how and for how long.
Palank, Jacqueline. "Congress Considers Fashion's Copyrighs." The Washingon Times.
28 July 2006. http://www.washingtontimes.com
This article, written by Jacquelin Palank starts with the interesting juxtaposition of lawmakers fighting against piracy in the fashion industry while knockoffs are being sold only blocks away.The article focuses most intensely on the fact that the introduction of more advanced technology into the fashion design industry makes knockoffs and piracy so omnipresent that it has begun to hinder the progess of creative design. Beause of the huge numbers financially produced by the fashion industry, most people are reluctant to support or deny copyright protection to fashion desing, finding it to be almost a moot point. The multi-billion dollar industry is supported by counterfeited designs in many different countries, however, the most staggering proportion of goods that are pirated come from China. "About two-thirds of the value of all counterfeit goods, which include apparel and handbags, seized between Oct.1, 2003, and Sept, 30, 2005, by U.S. Customs and Border Protection were from China."
Palank continues to iscuss how the fiscal side of the fashion industry makes most lawmakers reluctant to grant protection rights as well as fight for those protection rights to be granted at all. "A fashion trend analyst said the industry thrives "because of, and not in spite of, a lack of copyright protection." Because of the somewhat "ok'd" sharing of designs and ideas and the ability for designers to forecast what will be the style for next season, it is difficult to pinpoint acts of piracy. Palank briefly discusses EU laws on copyright and piracy and cites designers who influence stores such as Zara and H&M to create "looks for less."
This article is very important in terms of support for my thesis as it discusses the effect of advanced technology on the fashion design industry. As Palank briefly touches upon substanital similarty and the buyer's market, as well as the fiscal developments in the fashion design industry, the article works as support for arguments in my thesis.
Raustiala, Kal. "Fashion Victims." The New Republic Online. 15 March 2005.
7 November 2006. http://www.tnr.com
This article by Raustiala supports the notion that copying does indeed drive the Fashion design cycle. Without copying, there would not be the quick turnover to create new fashions, new designs, new prints. Raustiala, a well regarded speaker in regards to copyright says that regarding the fashion industry and it's what-would-be copyright protection, "Fashion's paradoxical relationship to piracy could be written off as a minor aberration (though the apparel industry in the U.S. alone is a $100 billion
enterprise)." Raustiala talks about how some wish to wear fashions of exorbitant prices because the wearer knows no one else has what they are wearing. Whether it be bags, shoes, dresses, or jewels, all mediums of fashion or pirated and copied with hope of creating a stir and cash influx on different financial eschelons.
Raustialia cites a sensitive argument in regards to the steady growth of protected articles under copyright law, saying, "they place far too much into private hands and unduly shrink the public domain--that is, the set of songs, inventions, books, and so forth that are freely
available for all to copy." Without a selection of things to identify as part of the public domain, anything created or produced is automatically game for copyright infringement. As the public domain shrinks, the examples of piracy only grow. Technology has aided piracy, allowing a design to be copied so quickly as to give very little time for the original design to be shown. The current situation in fashion copyright has equally strong upsides and downsides, Raustiala says, "the current situation works too well for too many players."
This article is very important to my thesis and argument. It adequately describes both sides of the argument as well defending and opposing the "fashion victims." Raustiala speaks about the process of creativity and how it is augmented by knockoffs, it speeds the process. His article helps to support my thesis in that with or without copyright protection in the fashion industry, the place of copying and intellectual and creative piracy affects the industry in both positive and negative ways.
Coach Leatherware Company, Inc., v. ANNTAYLOR, Inc., Laura Leather Goods LTD., A & R Handbag, Inc., and Ron's Elegance Center, Inc.
No. 90 Civ. 3458 (KTD). United Sates District Court for the Southern District of New York. 8 November 1990.
The case of Coach Leatherware Company, Inc. versus ANNTAYLOR, Inc. and three other plaintiffs was settled in the District Court of New York. Filed in November of 1990 and then appealed at a later time, the case was one of the first publicized cases regarding copyright and piracy. Though the case was considered to be an argument of knockoffs and "confusion in the marketplace," the case is now more important than at its time of filing. The court document claims that Coach "commenced this action for trademark infringement and statutory and common law unfair competition" which now would be grounds for a suit on copyright infringment as the items that were claimed to have been infringed upon are not currently covered by trademark protection. The case cites many other cases of different fashion infringement suits as well as the copyright acts and the Lanham act.
The case describes the articles that were copied or "knocked-off" in detail. Although two aspects were discussed that were trademarked and protected, the name tags that say "Coach" and a series of brass fastenings also trademarked to Coach, many other things that company was suing for were not protected by trademark. Coach claims that "It's not a Coach Bag without a Coach tag." Coach wanted reimbursement for copies of bag shape, handle shape, colors, and style. Because the case was heard withiout evidence as both sides
agreed to introduce the case without exhibits, the defendants were both sure and unsure of their place as copyright offenders. Copyright law was not widely argued at this time for this case, however, it is obvious after reading the case that copyright law protection for fashion and design would have been supportive of argument.
This case is an excellent piece of supportive evidence for my thesis. The case, which defends piracy in fashion design, cites other important cases as well as U.S. Copyright office material and the Copyright Act of 1976, as wel as the Lanham Act. By including these resources, the case is pliable and easy to understand. It is also very applicable to my argument in that it ultimately agrees that the line is blurry between what can be considered public domain and shared versus artistic creativity and genuiness of design.
Wilson continues to discuss European laws on fashion copyright. The European Union has become more involved in fashion copyright protection and has extended a hand to designers from its member countries. Wilson also revisits the 1930's through the 1960's when stealing of patterns and designs was as omnipresent as fashion itself. Wilson closes his article with the argument of all things that should be protected, fashion should be protected by copyright law now becuase of the "disposable income" that most members of society now have. Thus, the importance of councils like the Council of Fashion Designers are necessary inorder to keep balance in a industry where piracy is as well accepted as season by season clothing style change. It is no longer desire, its necessity.
This article is very important to my thesis because it talks about fashion designers taking piracy and the lack of protection for fashion design to th D.C. to have their voices heard. Wilson cites interesting examples including fashion magazines that feature "steal v. splurge" pieces to help its readers obtain highfashion looks for affordable prices, however, willingly or unwillingly supporting the place of piracy in fashion. Wilson talks about the effects of copying and piracy on the "luxury" of the industry and in regards to my thesis, there would be an effect of sorts if fashion was not protected by copyright and vice versa.
Raustiala, Kal and Christopher Sprigman. The Piracy Paradox: Innovation and Intellectual Property in Fashion Design. Research Paper No. 06-04. UCLA School of Law. January 2006. http://ssrn.com/abstract=878401.
This long paper was written by Karl Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman. Ninety pages in its entirety, it is a thesis on IP law and Fashion Design. This paper is perhaps the most important piece on IP and Fashion Design to come out recently. The essay opens with a strong paragraph, the authors write the following.
for strong intellectual property (IP) protections note that scientific and technological
innovations, as well as music, books, and other literary and artistic works, are often
difficult to create but easy to copy. Absent IP rights, they argue, copyists will free-ride
on the efforts of creators, discouraging future investments in new inventions and
creations. In short, copying stifles innovation."
This idea that "copying stifles innovation," is not new and not only limited to Fashion Design. The same proverb applies neatly to writing, music, art, dance, film, anything that stirs the creative. The authors continue and say though trademarks are well protected, copying of designs are everywhere. The fact that the fashion design industry continues to put out new designs and accessories at an incredibly fast pace and seem unaffected by the copying defies what the authors call "standard IP theory." " The standard theory of IP rights predicts that extensive copying will destroy the incentive for new innovation. Yet, fashion firms continue to innovate at a rapid clip, precisely the opposite behavior of that predicted by the standard theory."
The sources cited in the paper are both common and uncommon, clearly related to fashion design and copyright while others take a more general role in explaining the place of public domain and free thoughts. The paper also shoes some pictures of examples of what would be copyright infringement and how it differs from trademarks. The authors continue to explain thoroughly the place of IP in fashion design and instances where copyright protection would have been beneficial. The paper also plays its own devil's advocate, denyin it of copyright protection, claiming, if the fashion design industry is so profitable now, why protect it? The continue and talk about the fashion cycle, the thought process to the pen, the pen to the paper, the paper to the catwalk, and then to closets around the world.
They come to a close, discussing how can fashion not be ubiquitious when all magazines do is analyze what is the hottest boot this season or the way to wear layers without looking like you are in hiding. "Indeed, IP law fails to protect the
core of fashion, the design. Despite this lack of protection, the fashion industry continues
to create new designs on a regular basis. The lack of copyright protection for fashion
designs has not deterred investment in the industry. Nor has it reduced innovation in
designs, which are plentiful each season. Fashion plainly provides an interesting and
important challenge to IP orthodoxy."
This paper is incredibly important to anyone researching copryight in any medium. Incredibly well written and supported clearly with pertinent sources, the paper helps to explain why the lack of IP protection in certain areas exists and how, if ever, fashion could be protected by IP law. The paper is very important as support for my thesis. It talks about the fashion-knockoff cycle and the inability to draw the line between piracy and authenticity. This paper is heavy on defining different processes in the fashion world and helps to clarify the important role processes play in the one-day inclusion of fashion design into copyright legislature.
Statement of the United States Copyright Office to the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, Committee on the
Judiciary: Protection for Fashion Design. H.R. 5055. 27 July 2006.
The statement of the US Copyright Office on Protection for Fashion Design, a possible ammendment to Title 17 to include fashion design in copyright, is imperative to the study of Fashion Design and copyright. Released in late July of 2006 and passed by the House of Representatives, the statement talks about how the pending consideration of fashion design into copyright law has been lasting for years. The limbo-like place of fashion design in intellectual property was given no end in sight as the office decided that at this point in time, not enough information had been presented to implicate the need for protection.
The office compared the necessity of copyright protection in fashion to that of the design of vessel hulls. The Vessel Hull Design Protection Act is considered "sui generis" or being something entirely of its own. It is included in Chapter 13 of Title 17, which encompasses most of the copyright law. Thus, "While the form of protection offered in chapter 13 is in many respects similar to the protection offered by copyright law, it is nevertheless a sui generis regime distinct from copyright law." The proposed legislation of H.R. 5055, or the act to amend Title 17, is said to warrant protection, however, the type and the amount are all pending more information. The statement runs through quick answers to many posed questions and breaks down what would be the law if passed and how it would change fashion now. At the end of the statement, the question, "should fashiond esign legislation be enacted?" is posed. The statement answers the question saying, "the Office does not yet have sufficient information to make any judgment whether fashion design legislation is desirable." The statement ends with the positive interest in hearing more testimonies and reasons that could effect the balance of copyright and help to make the case for fashion protection stronger.
This pieces is invaluable to my thesis. As it pertains completely to my topic, the statement from the U.S. Copyright Office allows me to shape my argument with its support. I have found the lay out of the statement as well as the summaries of previous statements and the positive suppport of proponets and their thougts on the situation to make this piece incredibly supportive of my argument. It is supportive by demonstrating the multiple angles of the situation and although it has not be passed yet, the nature of the bill allows a supporter to be comforted by the legal acknowledgement of the need for protection in the fashion industry.