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The Courts

Submission + - Copyright and the trillion dollar fashion industry

Paul Fernhout writes: The CS Monitor has an article about how leading fashion designers lobby to copyright their work to curb the knockoff industry. From the article: 'ABS and a growing number of other companies can copy these designs, most with minor alterations — different ruffles on the Versace skirt, for instance, or a single dress instead of two pieces on Blanchett's outfit — because unlike music and movies, fashion apparel cannot be copyrighted. Some industry analysts, and some consumers, applaud this, calling imitation the life-blood of the fashion world. Designers call it bad copyright law, and say even if it's legal, copying someone else's designs is at least unethical. A new federal bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R) of Virginia in 2006 and backed by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, would allow individuals to copyright a design for three years. CFDA executive director Steven Kolb expects the bill to be reintroduced this month. But as battle lines are being drawn, many cultural observers say this is more than a struggle over the future of a trillion-dollar global industry. It's also a window into changing American ideas about ownership and ethical behavior.'

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