Aug 10, 2006

While You're Watching Project Runway...

Think about how Congress is getting all up in the fashion business. Is Hollywood for ugly people dressing better? I doubt it, but they are doing what they do best - making even something as fun and carefree as fashion... wonky!

We've seen Oscar dress look-a-likes parade through talk shows immediately after awards day for years.
Wanna look like Charlize? Here's a close mock-up for only $150!
For decades, fashion design has existed outside the realm of copyright protection making innovation quite hassle-free. In other words, if you're feeling inspired by Project Runway, you can make Angela's crazy doggie skirt willy-nilly. She can't come after you.

Now there's a movement and a House bill (hearing cast here - funniest moment at 1:26:27) to add protections for copyright. This seems like a rat's nest to me because where in the heck will we ever draw the line between original and derivative designs in an industry built on inspiration from existing designs? Fashion (and all creative art, really) is about building on history, so I would hate to see these protections become law. In fact, I can't even fathom the litigation consequences for designers.
How is this supposed to work for a $335 billion-a-year industry (that's how much money Americans spend on clothing) that has been built on a copyright-free model for decades? - Laurie Racine
Public Knowledge has done an awesome job explaining and examining the issue with blog contributors Laurie Racine and Sarah Zenowicz. I won't try to recreate the wheel but I will point to a few "pro protection" links as well:

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