The Piracy Paradox Revisited
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law
Christopher Jon Sprigman
University of Virginia School of Law
May 13, 2009
Stanford Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 5, 2009
UCLA School of Law, Law-Econ Research Paper No. 09-11
Virginia Law and Economics Research Paper No. 2009-10
Fashion design presents a significant challenge to the current enthusiasm for expansive intellectual property rights. Despite an absence of protection under American copyright law, creativity and innovation in fashion design remain vibrant. Nonetheless there is substantial sentiment in favor of some form of copyright for fashion design, and a “Design Piracy Protection Act” was recently re-introduced in Congress. This brief essay, part of a forthcoming colloquy in the Stanford Law Review, analyzes and critiques a defense of limited copyright protection for fashion design advanced by Scott Hemphill and Jeannie Suk. We argue that even limited design protection is unnecessary and unwise, and may well undermine those designers it is intended to help. We nonetheless agree with Hemphill and Suk on many other points of analysis, including the importance of understanding competing impulses - dubbed “differentiation” and “flocking” - that spur apparel purchases, and on the more general point that fashion design cannot easily be subsumed under conventional copyright analysis.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: copyright law, fashion design, copyright protectionAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 14, 2009 ; Last revised: September 28, 2009
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