Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Fashion Police

A very DC fashion shoot.  

Senator Charles Schumer recently introduced the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (S.3728), supported by the CFDA and the AAFA, which was passed unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

The bill would give copyright protection to clothing designs. This is big news for The Council of Fashion Designers of America, a group that has been fighting the effects of the knockoff industry.

Of course, the political junkie in me doubts the legislation will get passed before the 111th Congress adjourns. The bill still needs to pass the Senate, weave its way through the House Judiciary Committee, and be placed on the House calendar. This of course, assumes the two versions are identical. Failing that, the House version (H.R.2196) would go back to the Senate for approval... it's all part of the political system.

The bill is a reflection of the complicated debated over designer's intellectual property rights. The legislation extends copyright protection to fashion designs (including clothing, handbags, duffel bags, tote bags, belts, and eyeglass frames). Interestingly, the protection of the design extends only 3 years. It is also not considered infringement if a similar design is made without knowledge of the protected design.

So how does one determine if a design is copied? The bill lists two standards:
1. The design is substantially identical in overall visual appearance to, and as to the original elements of, a protected design.
2. The design is not the result of independent creation. 

It will be interesting to see if this legislation becomes law and whether it will actually decrease the hurdles designers currently face when attempting to protect their designs.

Image via Flickr

1 comment:

Beth Dunn said...

I'm glad I read about this, did not know this was happening