Does fashion copyright cut creativity? Or does fashion deserve copyright protection?
First things first, while it is evident fashion designers are the 'poor relations' of the creative world, with writers artists and independent filmmakers all having their own rights to their work, designers remain vulnerable to knock-off artists who steal ideas from the catwalk then mass produce them. This process in which the latest trends are emulated and then sold for a fraction of the price has recently come under scrutiny (above: left- Chloe S/S09 and Gripp).
In the us The Design Piracy Prohibition Act (pending before US congress) would provide a min. 3 years of protection, leaving what has already been designed in the public domain (creating a shitload of loopholes!!!!!!!)
While the notion of copyrighting fashion sounds fair to me it's totally bogus.
It has been noted that with fashion copyright our class system will have longer lasting uniforms. Instead of the upper class wearing innovative designs, the middle class wearing the mass produced stuff and the lower class wearing generic clothes, once a copyright is enforced the upper class will wear unchanging innovative designs, the middle class will wear unchanging mass produced stuff and the lower class will wear unchanging generic clothes.
How similar would two designs have to be in order for infringement to occur? And how would this be decided? Who would decide this? Will our judges become arbitrators of fashion?
The bottom line is if copyright laws were enforced then this would allow the established labels to trample over smaller designers as they have the resources and finances too do so.
If this law is passed it would debilitate designers creativity, who feed off one another in order to create consumer trends each season.