PBS journalist Johanna Blakely posted an opinion piece the other day on how copyright protection with literally “cramp our style.” It’s a fascinating article, and one I COMPLETELY agree with. (And the crux of why I began Chic Steals in the first place!) My take on this:
The fashion industry must have knockoffs or else it won’t survive.
Nothing is truly new or original anymore, it’s all been done. To claim copyright to a design (i.e., allow big, powerful companies with lawyers and tons of $ to claim copyright to a design) will only cause the industry to stagnate and truly destroy any innovation whatsoever. It will prevent the formation of new businesses, the rise of new designers, and everything will be a mess of copyrights and infringement lawsuits and settlement payments to companies that are ALREADY rich.
Fashion is aspirational and there always need to be designers that distill the pieces from the fashion-forward mega-brands and bring them to the public at an affordable price.
Copying or “being inspired by” is completely necessary to the industry – and to consumers. An exact copy – logos and everything? Stitching and all? Same materials, same size, same design – created by rubbing off the original? Wrong. There’s a fine line between “inspiration” and “copy.” “Copiers” will never be as revered as those who devise the trends and are always pushing the boundaries: the forward-thinkers of fashion. But they’re equally as necessary to the dissemination of fashion to the public and the health of the industry as a whole.
It’s like I always say – if you’re going to copy, PAY HOMAGE and say “inspired by.” If you’re a company beyond a certain size and doing a certain volume a year, don’t rip off from the little guys. You’re supposed to be the innovators. Innovate. Don’t hide behind a mistaken and self-righteous “I did it first, so there! It’s mine!” And I’m looking at YOU, Ms. von Furstenberg. Bah.
Thanks, Jenn, for the link! You are always so on top of things:-)