Design Piracy Prohibition Act

by Walter Olson on June 5, 2009

A bill to extend intellectual-property concepts — and litigation based on those concepts — into the world of fashion and design is pending in Congress. Kathleen Fasanella, whose Fashion Incubator site has done much to advance the CPSIA fight, warns the law will be enough to sink many small apparel and fabric firms that can’t afford lawyers to fight big firms’ infringement claims — and that it could spell an end to her own advisory/website business as well. “If CPSIA was an amputation, the Design Piracy Prohibition Act is a beheading.” A view in favor of the legislation: Counterfeit Chic. The Council of Fashion Designers of America, representing many big-name fashion design houses, has pushed for the bill, while “the largest industry group, the venerable American Apparel and Footwear Association” is opposed, predicting it will lead to “an environment of ubiquitous lawsuits between legitimate companies”.

Update: Welcome ArtFire and Etsy readers. And an update with a link to a recent critical analysis of the proposal is here.

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More on fashion knock-off litigation
06.24.09 at 7:46 am

{ 9 comments }

1 Bill Poser 06.05.09 at 5:23 pm

This strikes me as a terrible idea for several reasons: (a) deciding what is a copy will be even more subjective and difficult than in the case of copyrights and patents; (b) as I understand it, the big money in fashion is in short term trends – if no-name firms copy the leaders after a time, it won’t hurt much as the leaders will already have made their money; (c) the purpose of IP law, as stated in the Constitution, is to promote the advance of the arts and sciences, not to enrich the trendy. Do new fashions in clothing have enough value for society to warrant such legal protection? I doubt it; (d) the USPTO is already overburdened. Gratuitously adding work is not a good idea.

2 Melanie 06.05.09 at 5:30 pm

This just REEKS of being another CPSIA…with a lot of “unintended consequences”…It will be perverted, and will only help the very big name designers, and companies with a lot of money and time that they can invest by “copyrighting” their designs, and then suing anyone they think is infringing…and just like CPSIA, you’ll be assumed to be guilty, until you hire a lawyer, go to court, and try to prove you haven’t violated this law. It will severely impact consumer choice and price in the marketplace. It needs to be stopped now.
You know, if I were a conspiracy theorist, I would swear our current government is deliberately trying to kill ALL small business by passing all of these laws that are unreasonable and too expensive for most businesses to comply with. When you add up all of the recent laws, and pending legislation, from CPSIA, to the food bills, to the animal tagging and now this…it spells the end to all small business and American creativity, ingenuity, and that entrepreneurial spirit that made this country great.

3 Sara B. 06.06.09 at 9:16 pm

BINGO, Melanie!

4 Megan 06.07.09 at 7:00 am

You know what, I am a conspiracy theorist and I think that’s EXACTLY what they’re doing.

Sometimes I really just want to leave this country so I can be free to run my own damn business!

5 Chris 06.07.09 at 9:55 am

It’s killing our entreprenurial spirit, also it’s a blow against grass roots capitalism, the chance to better yourself and work harder to do so. It’s much easier to let the government be the parent and do everything for us, but that’s a weakening of society. It’s like they’re destroying creativity for control.

6 ps 06.08.09 at 4:00 am

Yet again big business gets laws designed to protect big business. End the lunacy now before everything you own ends up belonging to the lawyers.

7 amanda 06.08.09 at 2:02 pm

Disgusting! I say “GET OVER YOURSELVES!” It sounds like more greedy rich people trying to make more money in an economy where their business is hurting.
There are so many things wrong with this and I can only hope above all hope that O’bama and congress have better things to do with their time right now.

8 Liz 06.08.09 at 3:03 pm

Unfortunately most government agencies look at small businesses as a rock in their shoe, and yet look at how many of us are out there – putting food on our tables from our local farm stands, buying our gas from our neighbor Roger down the street, paying our outrageous (and soon to be more so) taxes…
This will be so much of a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” – what a waste of time and money!
I would love your teddy bear ‘say no to the CPSIA’ widget to post on my blog – please contact me and let me know if this is possible. thanks, Liz

9 Walter Olson 06.08.09 at 3:11 pm

On the CPSIA widget, I believe it can be used with credit to Daniela Shelton, “Hasenpfeffer”:

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5403127

Should you have doubts about this, do contact her directly at her Etsy page.

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