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Design Piracy Prohibition Act: oh noes

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http://www.boingboing.net/2009/06/06/new-fashion-copyrigh.html

New fashion copyright bill will let big companies own public domain designs and bury young, indie designers in legal costs

Posted by Cory Doctorow, June 6, 2009 12:22 AM | permalink

Miss Jess sez, "The Design Piracy Prohibition Act is very, very scary to all of us in the apparel industry. There are millions of jobs at stake if this legislation passes, and this act is simply being pushed by a handful of wealthy celebrity designers who continually pirate the 'little guys' designs anyway. Basically, this act will kill my business along with thousands upon THOUSANDS of other small, medium and large design and manufacturing businesses around the US and the world if it is passed. It's a big deal!

Under this legislation, however, designers will need to consult with a lawyer throughout the design process to ensure that every new design created could not subjectively be found at a later date to be "closely and substantially similar" to one protected in the Copyright registry... Further, young, up-and-coming designers would be susceptible to legal intimidation from designing anything new at all, as they would likely not have the resources to fight a legal challenge in court...

While the bill purports to keep all fashion designs that have existed in the past free and open for all to use, the legislation would allow the ability to copyright non-original design elements in the public domain if arranged in an original way.

Moreover, since there is no test for originality, the registry will begin to be populated with designs that from the public domain. Thus, a designer who draws upon inspiration from the public domain, can easily find himself/herself stuck in costly litigation.

This law was written by a law professor that has never practiced in court. It will mean a massive consolidation and shut down of smaller brands, not only from the copyright end but because on manufacturing networking sites the conversation is as follows.
From an informal survey of my peers, it is more likely most of us will be retiring. I'm the youngest of my peers, I'm too young to retire so I have to find something else. Iow, what's left of the domestic brain trust, the most skilled and experienced contractors and service providers will be getting out. It's just too much grief. The last nail in the coffin. If this law passes, it may take a couple of years but there will be no manufacturing in the US at all beyond what people sew for themselves.
Write your respective dudes. More detailed info on fashion incubator.

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It's just too nutty to be taken seriously, but I thought so about the IPRED law in the EU too, which basically lets corporations investigate and prosecute individuals for sharing music.

And I hope that everyone remembers that this is not capitalism, as it is only made possible with legislation passed by the so-called 'liberal' political nomenclature who obviously look at their own interests first and foremost, just like the companies they're 'working' with.

think_its_not_illegal_yet_KLEIN.jpg

But I guess soon our thoughts and feelings will have to be original too.

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The crappy thing is fashion is also open to interpretation, so depending on the judge or lawyers involved, its still all dependent on ones perception of a garment resembling another. And the mainstream companies with more money Im sure can be more, ahem, "persuasive" then the smaller ones

Now a complete knockoff is blatantly obvious, but other more subtle details can lead to years of legal hassles

What one person thinks is similar the other will not, and obviously the smaller guys dont have the cash to fund or counter attack massive lawsuits, so they get fucked

I agree that its not law yet, but if we react after it has become law it will be almost too late. Nothing wrong with signing some petitions ect and letting people know how we feel IMO.

If there is enough of a backlash in the beggining, they may abandon the idea altogether before it reaches stages were we should be worried

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This bill is spearheaded almost singlehandedly by the the CFDA. Every designer who has put clothing on Michelle Obama (Jason Wu, Thakoon, Maria Conejo, etc.) has testified before Congressional subcommittee supporting the bill. The interesting thing is that big companies AND small companies oppose this.

-The AAFA, a large clothing trade group opposes it for fears of massive legal costs due to frivolous suits, a lack of clarity over what "original" is, and issues with int'l business due to Customs seizures.

-Manufacturers fear being held liable for making/manufacturing knock off designs (called secondary liability). They also list about 3-4 more fears, but it's a bit much to get into.

And to go a little further on the originality issues

-There's no clarity as to what a "staple" design is that can't be the basis of a suit. In their arguments, the CFDA says staples like the white button-down can't be claimed. Nowhere in the bill is this clear.

-There's no clarity as to what is "original." Nor do they address the fact that almost all clothing is based on previous designs since the human body hasn't changed in a while.

I just finished a research project on this bill so if you've got questions, I think I could aptly answer them.

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I don't have anything to contribute but thanks for brining this to my attention. Did anybody sign the petition or send the emails?

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I just sent out an email to my congressional representatives, this is some pretty worrying stuff.

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