A new bill Schumer introduced would subject fashion to copyright for the first time. The bill would protect only “unique” designs — those that are truly new and distinguishable. And only “substantially identical” copies would be illegal.
…But in the real world, the law will almost surely expand in a way that harms many designers and consumers. Expensive disputes will ensue over what is unique and who got there first. Lawyers (and those designers who could afford them) will be among the biggest beneficiaries. We like lawyers, but we don’t think this is good policy.
Which brings up an interesting question: why would Congress change intellectual property law in a way unlikely to help designers very much, but almost certain to hurt consumers? There are, after all, hundreds of millions of people who buy clothes, compared to a relative few who design them.
Fashion can’t be copyrighted, we’ll see how much longer it lasts… here’s what you can’t copyright now -
1. Ideas, Methods, or Systems
2. Commonly Known Information
3. Choreographic Works
4. Names, Titles, Short Phrases, or Expressions