Last week, I was invited to attend a wonderful event coordinated by the sponsors of Fashion Law Week in Washington, D.C. The event took place at the Alton Lane showroom in Dupont where they thoroughly spoiled us with cupcakes and adult beverages. We also heard some great news in the fashion law community from an intellectual property attorney in D.C. This brings me to today's post.
The fashion community is currently lobbying Congress to pass a bill to extend copyright protection to fashion designs for three years. Clothing designs don't currently receive any copyright protection because of their "utility." According to the US Copyright Office, clothing is meant to cover your body, not decorate it, (apparently they've never been to NYFW) which is why prints on fabric may be protected, but not the actual design of a top or skirt.
Currently, there is no liability for copying someone's designs. On the one hand, many in the fashion industry believe that without copying, we wouldn't have a lot of the wonderful designs we have today. These designs would also be inaccessible to those of us that can't pay thousands of dollars for a piece of clothing. However, it is difficult to validate the copying of someone's hard work and innovation. I think the three year limitation on copyright protection that this bill puts forward balances all of these concerns.
I'd love to hear your thoughts!