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More Fashion Rules

Sep 2, 2010 • Economic History • 98 Views    5 Comments

Are fashion copycats good or bad for the industry? N.Y. Senator Charles Schumer says, “Bad” and is proposing legislation that would provide a 3 year period during which, with certain exceptions, knock-offs would represent copyright infringement. Others, though, say that fashion copies are beneficial as a source of trends and innovation.

The issue of copyright protection for fashion is a part of a much bigger debate. Do you believe, for example, that Amazon should have an exclusive, government protected right to “one-click shopping“?

The Economic Lesson

When Alexander Hamilton was concerned with protecting infant industries in a very young United States, he and James Madison supported a patent system that served a specific economic purpose. By contrast, Thomas Jefferson, himself a inventor, said that Congress should not “meddle” with “matters of invention”.

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  • A.NDiaye11

    Knock offs of high end of designs are not helping buiness but, intstead, they are hurting it. Stealing, is not the answer to generating an income for yourself. Companies should be able to place “patents” and other forms of protection in order to protect their brand.

  • CarolineGiroux

    Although fashion is constantly changing and coming in trends I think it is important that designers be rewarded for their good ideas. I agree with Frances’s thought on patents for fashion. However, the issue that the majority of American’s cannot afford some of the high end designer clothing poses a serious problem.

    Caroline Giroux

  • akaiser

    I found it interesting that even though “America is the world fashion leader,” it is the “only industrialized country that does not provide protection for fashion design.” Thus, places like Forever 21 are able to sell high-end knock offs at low prices. And why would people want to spend a large sum of money on a piece of clothing that they can get for a bargain? Now that N.Y. Senator Charles Schumer has introduced the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, clothing stores that used to get their inspiration from attending fashion shows will now have to find their inspiration elsewhere. The question of whether or not these stores will make as high a revenue as they did before comes up. Because how will these stores survive if they never had to create a sketch from scratch? Another question is whether or not shoppers will be willing to spend extra money on clothing they once were able to purchase for next to nothing.

  • birdf11

    Being a member of the lacrosse world and seeing how items have been changed and enhanced over the last ten years, patents have become more and more prominent. Each company is starting to place patents on little inventions that make lacrosse sticks more durable and easy to use. If these companies did not place patents to regulate what other companies can and cannot copy, each company would copy the best styles and decrease the diversity between the inventions. Similar to lacrosse companies, fashion agencies must compete with each other to outdo the latest style and trend, which is a very hard feat without the ability to place a patent. Fashion copies do not help set trends; they help bring down the innovator. If a knock-off is created, it is most likely cheaper than the original item and people will stop purchasing the more expensive item. I believe that patents should be put into use in the fashion world to stop identical copies from being made, not to stop other companies from using the small similarities. If companies were able to put patents on the little things that go into making an article of clothing, only one company would be allowed to use zippers.

    -Frances Bird

  • sherg11

    In some cases, fashion can be considered a type of art. It can be placed into a category with other art such as music (which has very strict copyright rules, and consequently knock-offs of major fashion designers would be considered copyright infringement. However, there is another perspective, where fashion is not in the same category as things such as music and literature, which are strictly copyrighted. Fashion comes and goes in trends, and it spreads quickly throughout areas of the country. Because fashion changes so much, and because the prices of the main designers are out of reach for many Americans, it is necessary for more affordable companies to help spread the trends to the people. The way I see it, designers mostly just come out with the ideas so that other people will use them and help them to spread.
    I think that government intervention in this matter is unnecessary. But I think that matters such as Amazon’s “one-click shopping” are a whole different situation and should be considered as an internet copyright issue rather than fashion copyright.
    -Gabby S.

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