Picker, Randal C. "Of Pirates and Puffy Shirts: A Comment on the Piracy Paradox: Innovation and Intellectual Property in Fashion Design." Virginia Law Review, Forthcoming; University of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 328. http://ssrn.com/abstract=959727
This article takes the side of those individuals supporting the enactment of fashion copyright. This argument is made using past attempts at employing fashion copyright laws to protect designs and the results of these attempts. One major example used to support this claim of positive effects resulting from design protection is the Fashion Originators' Guild of America. This guild basically organized registration and monitoring for apparel with a threat of boycott of any retailer who sold knockoffs. The claim here is that this increased intellectual property protection resulted in greater innovation efforts. Although the Federal Trade Commission took down this organization, the article argues that the fact that it formed demonstrates that high end designers do want greater protection. This argument is made against other claims that the members of the industry do not even want increased protection. The argument then continues into the present time and the benefits these laws would endow on the fashion industry. With fashion design protection, high end designers can make credible promises to their consumers, which is impossible with the current amount of knockoffs in the market. With the ability to make credible commitments, high end designers could raise their prices and make more money off their original designs. Therefore, there is clearly a benefit to high end designers that accompanies increased protection. Also, the author argues that imitation in the industry is only one sided with the high end designers having to deal with the rapid imitation of their original designs. With copyright, these designers could promise their consumers that this rapid copying of the apparel they are buying would not occur. Basically, the author here argues that the rampant copying in the fashion industry is detrimental to the high end designers and their customers. Therefore, copyright protection is necessary to protect their rights and keep low end designers from exploiting the low protection regime of the fashion industry.
Although this source complicates my thesis by working against my claims that fashion copyright laws should not be enacted, sources like these are absolutely necessary to develop a strong paper. These claims will provide something for me to argue against and prove incorrect in my argument. Without addressing opposing opinions, the argument and paper would be weak. This article clearly utilizes an analysis of the high end or elite designers to support the claim for increased fashion design protection. However, it avoids looking at the effect of copyright laws on the rest of the fashion industry. However, it is still a useful source as it provides the perspective of a high end designer, the biggest victim of piracy or imitation.