This article's overall argument is that although counterfeiting is a criminal activity, the act of counterfeiting is not always damaging to brands and can actually work to a brand's advantage. The author lists numerous ways in which this is accomplished, such as that it can increase a brand's awareness and desirability in the public's eye. A new way of looking at how counterfeited products help the original is by analyzing who is purchasing the counterfeits. The article argues that the people who buy the fake products are not financially able to buy the original, and that if they were, they would be the first in line to purchase the original. In this way, the increased brand exposure only helps to entice those who are able to buy the original. The counterfeit proves as no competition for the original. Another new piece of argumentation is that it closes off competition. The author notes that high priced branded goods encourage competition at slightly lower prices. Then, the "fake" products are priced as significantly lower prices. Thus, the competition is squeezed out because it is prices out of the top market by the original brand and is unable to compete with the very low prices of counterfeited products.
I chose this article to use for my final project because it clearly explains that way in which counterfeited products eliminate the real competition for the original higher priced products. This adds a new dimension to my argument because previous articles did not deal with the actual competition of the original producers of fashion goods in the way that this author does.
This article recognizes that fashion design does not currently receive protection under U.S. Copyright law. H.R. 2033, the "Design Piracy Prohibition Act" would amend Chapter 13 of the U.S. Copyright Act, which now protects the designs of vessel hulls. This article analyzes the amendments that H.R. 2033 would make to Chapter 13 of the Copyright Act, including granting fashion designs a three-year term of protection, based on registration with the U.S. Copyright Office. Lastly, it summarizes arguments both in favor of and against giving protection to fashion designs. In the article, the author points to the fact that those against protection of fashion designs fail to recognize fashion as an artistic form of creativity. They simply view fashion and clothing as utilitarian. In addition, those in favor of protection highlight how easily runway photographs can be accessed from the Internet, making it easy to be copied. They also say that young designers specifically have difficulty in establishing themselves because of how easily designs are copied, and they point to the protection granted to fashion designs in other areas of the world.
This article is important for my topic because it complicates my argument that pirates actually benefit the original designers. In this article the arguments made against my thesis are clearly stipulated, which I will include in my paper in order to acknowledge the opposing argument. This article is also important because of the way that it analyzes the impending "Design Piracy Prohibition Act" and its implications for future fashion designs.
This article explores the relationship between creativity and the community at large. The authors use as their example of a creative industry the fashion industry, and shows the ways that creativity should not be considered only as a matter of individual creativity. Instead, it should involve a "conversation" between individuals and larger communities of people and traditions. In this way, fashion takes many of its stylistic elements from the past. The article gives examples of taking elements from the Polynesian islands, urban street corners, stock-car races, and bowling alleys, and then transforming them into new trends. The evolution of fashion is described, beginning with haute couture in Paris, Milan, and New York that was the fountainhead of new styles, to the introduction of women in the work world, which resulted in a waning of the cultural appeal of high fashion. Then, celebrities and movie stars took the place of elite fashion shows, making fashion a more year-round passion than before. Lastly, the article recognizes the problem of "originality," and denotes the lineage of high fashion. It states that fashion shows the ways in which creativity involves building upon the past and sharing inspiration. Because of this, creativity requires freedom, in the authors opinion. The most innovative work comes from the artful recombination of existing work.
This article is important for my topic because it examines the issue at large from a less monetary way of looking at things. The article does not discuss whether or not the designers will be hurt financially, but argues that in order for the creativity of designers to flourish, they must have the freedom to borrow inspiration from the community, others, and the past.
This is a bill pending in the United States Senate that would broaden the already existing Copyright Act of 1976, extending copyright protection to fashion designs for a period of three years. Under this act, the rather ambiguous terms relating to fashion are clarified. For example, the bill extends protection to "the appearance as a whole of an article of apparel, including its ornamentation." Furthermore, the bill identifies what constitutes the term "apparel," including, "men's, women's, or children's clothing, including undergarments, outerwear, gloves, footwear, and headgear." If a designer wishes to receive the three-year protection, he or she would be required to register with the U.S. Copyright Office within three months of going public with the design. In addition, the bill lists the monetary penalties for any individual who is guilty of copyright infringement under these terms.
I almost did not include this bill in my project, but I found it very noteworthy how many of my sources referred to this bill. Thus, I found it important to actually read and have in front of me the primary source of many of their arguments. I also think it is interesting to see how designers would be protected under law. I am planning on arguing whether or not designers should have protection under law for their designs, so it is helpful to see an example of how proponents of fashion copyright hope to protect fashion designs.
This Congressional testimony came from Narciso Rodriguez, who speaks on behalf of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, a not-for-profit trade association of America's fashion and accessory designers. First, he speaks about how frequently fashion designs are being copied. Then, he relates his journey from being the only son of Cuban immigrants, growing up in Newark, NJ, and finally becoming a fashion designer. This journey, he tells, took training, hard work, and financial capital. Then, he attempts to argue that fashion designs are not utilitarian in nature, but that they are works of art, citing specific designers and giving examples of their work. He then covers certain specifics of the HR 2033. For example, no previous designs would be protected by the bill; thus, past designs can be used for inspiration. Also, he states that the market will not be drained of reasonably priced items. Furthermore, the consumers of pirated products are not to be punished. As a whole, the speaker urges that the protection bill for fashion designs be passed.
This is important for my topic because it complicates my thesis. If, as many of my sources argue, pirates really do benefit the producer of the original, I wonder why so many producers are asking for protection of their products. This testimony gives voice to one of these producers, a man who is responsible for original fashion designs and feels as though pirates and copiers are hurting him financially.
This article questions why the fashion industry has failed to secure U.S. copyright protection for its designs, despite the rampant view that piracy is an extremely fatal and potentially destructive threat to the drive to engage in creative pursuits. It tracks the film, music, software, and publishing industries, illustrating that such industries have used this argument for demanding increased legal protection. On the other hand, fashion firms and designers have not. The author gives several reasons for his argument. First, the article states that even original producers are sometimes copiers themselves. Different designers at different times set the trends for a season, and all engage in copying at some point. Also, because of the fashion industry's quick design cycle, a firm's position as either copier or originator is constantly and very swiftly changing. Furthermore, the article notes that the fashion industry is dependent on whether or not the consumer is aware of the newest trends. Thus, widespread copying results in some coherence. There is always a range of new designs produced each season, and the counterfeited products make clear to the consumers was is "trendy" at the time.
This article is important for my overall topic because it gives claim to the argument that lack of protection rights for top designers are actually increasing the sales for these designers' products. Without counterfeiting, the American public will not be aware of what is "trendy," which would result in greater distribution of sales, but less concentrated sales for a particular design. Also, it gives substance to the argument that all designers borrow from one another at some point, for the industry is constantly evolving.
This article argues against the thinking enforced by the incentive thesis, which argues for strict enforcement of intellectual property rights against piracy, or imitation. According to this theory, if the original producers are not protected, they will lose the incentive to produce new items. The article states that counterfeiting in fact does not always diminish the original producers' innovation incentives. The author gives two reasons to back up his argument. First, the introduction of copies will increase the amount of money that the elite are willing to pay for the original fashion product. In addition, the fact that a product is being copied will increase the desirability of the product to the non-elite consumers. Because of this increase in perceived desirability, such consumers will believe that the status benefits acquired from owning the product make the product worthy of a purchase. Thus, not only will the elite increase their purchasing of the item, but the non-elite consumers will also more often buy the fashion good. Both increase the producer's revenues on sales of the original, despite the counterfeiting.
This article is important for my topic because it argues against the need for protection against counterfeit products. Here, the consumer is not only the one being aided by the pirates, but the producer, too, is gaining more benefits, in the form of an increase in the revenue of sales on a fashion good, with the appearance of counterfeited products. I think it is important to note that the author specifies the counterfeiting is "imperfect," which increases the desirability of the product, both for the elite and non-elite consumers.
This article relates the common belief that software piracy is harmful both to the firms and to the consumers. Because of lower profits, with more people buying the copied products, the firms are financially hurt. Because of higher prices employed since their revenue of sales is cut, the buying customers are hurt if they do not purchase the copied products. The model that this article shows, however, suggests that even with significant piracy, firm profits will raise and prices will be lowered for the consumers. In addition, the article calls piracy an efficient "gift-giving" method. In other words, the product is made available to the public to increase its circulation, but it is only given to those who desire the product. The software does not end up being discarded by someone who has no use for it. The author compares piracy to mailing free copies to all computer owners in an attempt by a firm to make his product more well-known. Not only would many of the copies be discarded by those who do not want them in the first place, but the firm also would have had to pay for the copies to be made then distributed. With piracy, the firm receives free advertisement.
Although this article deals directly with software and piracy, I found that its argument was relevant to my own. Just as pirates serve as free advertisement for the software firms, the pirates in the fashion industry help to circulate news of which are the most current and popular trends. The top designers do not have to pay for copies of their designs to be made known to the public in this way, and they are sure that those concerned about fashion are buying the copies.
This article is the testimony of Steve Maimon, co-owner of Stony Apparel. In the testimony, Maimon speaks out against the Design Piracy Prohibition Act. According to Maimon, the fashion industry has developed into a successful industry without the help of any copyright laws; thus, in his opinion, there is no need to enact protection now. He states that the laws will reduce creativity and hurt the consumers. In addition, firms like his own will be hurt since retailers will return any products claimed to be infringing, even if they are falsely claimed. Even as the fashion industry is one that daily deals with risks, with the enactment of this protection bill, even more risks will be present for manufactures and retailers, in the form of numerous new lawsuits. Furthermore, Maimon foresees an increase in prices of products since designers will need to hire lawyers to help fight against lawsuits. In Maimon's view, only lawyers will benefit from the protection of fashion designs.
I think this article is important because it shows an opposing testimony to the one I have already cited. Whereas Rodriguez was arguing for the protection acts, Maimon is clearly fighting to eliminate the possibility of the protection for designs. As a primary source, the concerns and fears are legitimate. I also think that because he does not only cite the negative consequences that the bill would have for retailers as himself, his argument is more effective. Instead, he notes that the bill would be detrimental for consumers, designers, and retailers. In addition, he is speaking from experience, as one who directly would be affected by the passing of the bill, which make his claims more passionate and heart-felt.
This article provides for the reader the pros and cons of the fashion copyright argument, eventually arguing against the endorsement of such laws. The author initially admits that piracy causes $12 billion of loss in the fashion industry annually, and even in Japan and in the European Union fashion designs fall within the scope of current intellectual property protections. However, despite the wishes and demands of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the author warns that enactment of fashion copyright laws should be approached with caution. Furthermore, she goes on to say that "meaningful protection" is impossible to maintain. Because of the difficulty that exists in defining the terms of fashion, fashion design will be difficult to protect. In addition, such an enactment will cause conflicts and more controversy in Congress. Not only will there be a plethora of fashion copyright cases, but other industries, which are not currently protected, will likely bombard Congress asking for similar protection. According to this article, any benefits that could result from design protection would, in the end, be eliminated due to the time and costliness of court decision on piracy.
This source proved beneficial for my purposes because of the different angle Hendrick went at looking at the problems with piracy and fashion design. Unlike my other sources, she used a very legalistic method of finding evidence against the benefits of enacting the fashion copyright laws. By analyzing these laws, she contends that they are extremely ineffective at solving the issues surrounding the copyright and fashion industry. Another negative aspect is illuminated for me: the time and costliness of court decisions that would inevitably result.