Sprigman, Christopher. "Fashion Copyright, 'Corruption,' and the Unheard Consumer." Public Knowledge Blog. http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/1404. February 20, 2008.
This blog provides some very useful insight into how the fashion industry works and the corruption plauging the industry. The fashion industry's success can be attributed to the cyclical nature of consumption. Basically, copying helps to set trends, trends lead to consumption, more copying destroys that same trend due to overexposure, and the industry moves on to new trends. Therefore, copying does not harm the process; it is the process that creates profits in fashion. Why then would anyone want to destroy the process that generates money? Sprigman answers this question by accusing the Council for Fashion Designers of America of corruption and selfishness. The CFDA is the group that is promoting copyright laws for fashion design. However, the CFDA only represents a small fraction of the industry, the elite designers. The needs of the thousands of non-elite designers, manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and consumers are completely overlooked by the CFDA. These elite designers, who sell clothes for ridiculous prices, are the only ones who can afford to compete and prosper in a revised industry where every design is subject to infrigement suits. This is because these elite groups are the only ones who can afford lawyers. Just to increase profit a little for the small group of elite designers, the CFDA is going to raise prices and reduce consumer choices in an industry that has been incredibly successful for a very long time. These laws hurt consumers. However, consumer needs are ignored because of corrupt politics. These elite corporations can afford to pay Congressmen to sponsor the passing of bills they support. Therefore, intellectual property laws are badly warped due to elite desires and political corruption.
Although blogs are not necessarily the most reliable sources, the author of this blog is Chris Sprigman, the author of the Piracy Paradox. This blog is so interesting because it provides a completely different take on the fashion copyright war: a political angle. Rather than having an equal amount of people of either side of the debate, Sprigman argues that only a very few elite designers actually support these laws. The other supporters, such as those in Congress, are just a result of corruption. The argument here is the decision made regarding this issue should benefit the majority or the "public good." Since the CFDA is a small fraction of the fashion industry, passing these laws would harm the majority simply because this elite group is able to buy support. Therefore, this article is structured around attacking the CFDA and Congress and their reasons for supporting design protection. This will be very beneficial to my paper and argument since I can use these claims to counterargue declarations that fashion copyright will benefit the industry, consumers, and the fashion cycle.
Nworah, Uche. "Nigerian Politicians as Gangsters." The Nigerian Village Square. 18 Jan. 2005. 01 Apr. 2008 <http://www.nigeriavillagesquare1.com/Articles/Nworah/2005/01/nigerian-politicians-as-gangsters.html>
In the years following The Godfather’s release, the movie was tremendously popular in the African country of Nigeria. If one had not seen the motion picture they were said to not have known, “what time it is”. The reasons for The Godfather’s popularity in foreign regions and countries often differ from those of the United States. Nigeria in the 1970’s was plagued by much corruption and government instability. The movie and its characters often provided an escape for those struggling in the wake of very difficult times. Nigerians could imagine they had the power of the great Don Corleone and could send out Luca Brasi to rid of their enemies. However, the enemies in the case of the Nigerians were not rival mafia families, but government officials and gang members. It has been suggested that like actual mafia members, Nigerian government affiliates were influenced by The Godfather. Just as mafia members are notorious lawbreakers, it was commonplace for Nigerian government officials to be skillfully avoid tax payments and steal government money that was meant to be distributed to the public. Likewise, Nigerian politicians often resorted to their own form of Godfathers in the 1970’s. Just as Amergio Bonasera comes to Don Corleone to ask for revenge on his daughter’s life, politicians looked to military president General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida for favors. Those who came for help would swear their forever lasting allegiance and loyalty to the General and often State Senators would be coerced to forfeit Federal allocations in return for Babangida’s assistance.
The Godfather’s impact is not confined to the narrow borders of the United States or even countries with well established mafia influence such as Italy and Russia. The movie has had a universal appeal matched by few, as evidenced by its prevalence in the Nigerian culture in the 1970’s. Nigeria, a country with close to 0% Italian habitants and little known mob history, is still able to relate to the themes and morals of the movie because of their universality. The tenets of respect, loyalty, and faith are central to all organization involvement, whether it be a religion, a tribe, or organized crime family. In addition, The Godfather is so dynamic in that those from all different background and beliefs can relate or confide in the movie for incredibly varied reasons. While mafia members may look to the movie as a model for their way of life, Nigerians in the 1970’s used The Godfather to vicariously overcome the economic and political struggles of the time.