Johanna Blakley

Media | Entertainment | Fashion

A Grand Mistake: Fashion Designs Will Probably Get Copyright Protection

*Sigh.* I think just about every savvy person in the fashion industry realizes that making fashion designs eligible for copyright protection is a big mistake — not just for the fashion business but for the art of fashion design as well. But Chuck Schumer has just introduced a Senate Bill that may very well accomplish that very goal.

In my recent TED.com talk, I explained why the lack of copyright protection in the fashion industry was actually a driver of innovation: designers have a freewheeling ability to sample from any of their peers’ designs, without talking to lawyers about the legal ramifications. This freewheeling and unfettered creative process has allowed fashion designers to create wildly innovative designs season after season. The fact that designers are allowed to copy from one another allows trends to develop, and trends are essential to the bottom line of this $300 billion a year business (and that’s just in the U.S).

I outline some of the main arguments against this legislation in a piece today on Design Observer. Check it out and let me know what you think . . .

1 Comment»

[…] the relative turnovers of the fashion industry and the entertainment industry (although I see from her latest blog post that that hasn’t stopped certain US politicians from feeling they have to do something […]


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