Today the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would give copyright protection to clothing designs. The Council of Fashion Designers of America, intent on fighting the knockoff industry with such legislation, has been pushing for a bill like this for a long time. The Design Piracy Protection Act failed to go anywhere in Congress a couple of years ago, facing opposition from the American Apparel and Footwear Association. But Senator Charles Schumer recently introduce a revised version of that bill, supported by the CFDA and the AAFA, called the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, which is what the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed today.
The AAFA’s Kurt Courtney said that while the entire industry is not behind the proposed law — including the California Fashion Association, which plans to fight the bill every step of the way — everyone who’s backing this act seems happy with it.
“I think people are a lot more in agreement than they think,” he said. “This bill really draws the line between inspiration and copying. We all understand the importance of inspiration in design. Most inspiration comes from the public domain. The bill seeks to protect that original artwork, it’s not about the utilitarian and the useful. This is specifically targeted at the most artistic fashion you can think of.”
It’s unclear if the Senate will vote on the bill before the December recess. But if passed, the bill could have a very sad effect on the knockoff industry in this country — and the people who can’t afford to buy the designer clothes they copy.
Proposed Design Piracy Law Moves Forward [ApparelNews.net]