Copyrighting fashion: Who gains?

Producing and selling knockoffs of designer fashions is a widespread practice in the fashion industry. 

Those Alexander McQueen heels? You can buy facsimiles from Steve Madden.

That Anna Sui dress? Forever 21 sells loads of cheap imitations.

American law does not prohibit copying fashion designs — but that might change.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced a bill earlier this month that would subject fashion to copyright for the first time.

The bill would protect only “unique” designs — those that are truly new and distinguishable — and only “substantially identical” copies would be illegal.

The impetus for the bill comes almost entirely from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).

To read why New York Times guest bloggers Kal Raustiala and Chris Sprigman think this is a bad policy, click here.

Should fashion be protected by copyright laws? Give your two cents in the comment section below.


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