United States. Cong. House. Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property Committee on the Judiciary. Testimony of Congressman William Delahunt, Hearing on Design Law- Are special provisions needed to protect unique industries. [Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives; 14 February 2008].
This is the actual testimony of Congressman William Delahunt arguing in favor of the Design Piracy Pohibition Act, which is a bill that has been pending for quite some time in Congress. If passed, this bill will give all unique pieces of clothing three years of protection. In his testimony, Delahunt states that fashion counterfeiting costs US businesses a minimum of 12 billion dollars every year. He also says that because the fashion industry is expanding in the United States, more and more teenagers are pursuing fashion careers. However, with the growing piracy problem, these aspiring individuals will not be able to make their mark in the fashion industry because soon counterfeit and piracy will take over the industry. Moreover, he quotes Newsweek contributor Dana Thomas who stated, "Most people think that buying an imitiation handbag or wallet is harmless, a victimless crime. But the counterfeiting rackets are run by crime syndicates that also deal in narcotics, weapons, child prostitution, human trafficking, and terrorism." Therefore, he argues that if Congress passes the Design Piracy Prohibition Act, not only will it be highly beneficial for the fashion industry, but it will also help discourage crim syndicates and other illegal activities.
Although this source is against my thesis, which is against copyright on fashion, it is a very invaluable primary source that will allow me to acknowledge the other side of the debate in my paper. In doing so, it will make my argument against copyright even stronger because I will then state reasons why approving such a bill will still be unfavorable in the end. Furthermore, Delahunt makes several excellent statements about the fashion industry and the troubled economy at present that I will be able to address in my paper.
U.S. Congress. House. Design Piracy Prohibition Act. 110th Cong., 1st sess., H.R. 2033. (25 April 2007).
This is one piece of legislation proposed to protect fashion designs from piracy. This Design Piracy Prohibition Act would basically give fashion designs protection for three years after the application for registration is submitted. Within this act, the terms fashion design, design, and apparel are defined so as to create a definition of what can actually be protected under this bill. The reason these are defined within this bill is the ambiguous nature of these words. Without a clear definition, there would be way too many interpretations of the clauses of the Design Piracy Prohibition Act. The bill also states the terms for submitting a design for copyright protection. Basically, any rights to protection are lost if the design is not submitted within three months after the design is made public. The bill also briefly lists the monetary penalties for any pirates if found guilty of copyright infringement.
This bill is an important source for any paper on fashion copyright since it provides an example of the types of legislation that would supply design protection. Even though this bill has not gone through, many of the Design Piracy Bills follow this basic structure for fashion copyright. Therefore, this source provides an example of how effective bills can be in providing protection. In addition, many sources reference this bill and its contents. So, it is useful to have the actual bill and its wording to look back upon and analyze as a primary source. The bill basically amends title 17 in the United States Code to provide for fashion design protection. By looking at how proponents of fashion copyright will protect fashion designs, I can decide, within my paper, whether these laws are beneficial or effective enough to even bother enacting. Thomas, the site where this bill is located, also provides a list of sponsors for this bill. There are only fourteen sponsors, which creates suspicion as to how effective or plausible this bill may actually be. Information like this surrounding pieces of legislation make bills useful sources.