Some are calling it the “piracy paradox.” This is the belief that copying is not necessarily the piracy evil that intellectual property rightists believe it is. Copying a design has a tendency to generate new interest and markets for the design long after the original becomes old, faded and boring. In essence, freedom to copy designs could be good for business. This is said to be especially true in the fashion design world where the seasons cycle through much faster. As a result, intellectual property as it relates to fashion has not enjoyed the level of protection as music, arts and technology.
But now there is a new effort underway to protect designs from being copied and sold on the open market where any Average Joe or Jane can get a Red Carpet look for less. Whether it’s a purse, sundress or sunglasses, an original design of it will enjoy protected status for three years. However, in order to claim intellectual property rights over a design, the designer must illustrate that the original is a unique, “non-trivial” and “non-utilitarian” difference from all previous designs. So it won’t be an easy task for designers who claim their designs are being pirated. The proposed legislation would still give the design copying industry plenty of leeway to go forth and duplicate for the mass market. It’s just that credit will need to be given where credit is due.
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