Copyright or Copywrong?

A short video on copyright just came over my Twitter feed today which got me thinking about the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (good god) or as it’s also known the Fashion Copyright Law. The video is below but first, a quick review of the status of the IDPPPA: In December 2010, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill that would give copyright protection to clothing design. I read last month that it had finally arrived to the Senate for a vote but I don’t know if the vote has happened yet. I’m guessing not. While the CFDA and other institutions, agencies, and people of the fashion establishment are fighting hard to get this bill passed, there are a number of organizations, economists, lawyers, designers, and manufacturers who are opposed to it. They include Johanna Blakely whose TED talk, I believe, we posted on our Facebook wall. Blakely also wrote an article for The New Design Observer  called “The Costs of Ownership: Why Copyright Protection Will Hurt the Fashion Industry.” Also see TechDirt’s post “Yet Again, Evidence Of The Need For Fashion Copyright Is Totally And Completely Missing” and the countless articles about the booming luxury market (at a time when the copyright protections for fashion are very limited, mostly to logo trademarks). Here’s a recent one. Also, see Kal Raustiala and  Christopher Sprigman’s (a.k.a. the Freakonomics guys) testimony against the IDPPPA. Finally – though she doesn’t write about fashion copyright specifically, check out Martha Woodmansee’s fabulous work on the history and politics of copyright. Her book, The Author, Art, and the Market is brilliant.

The script can be found here:


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