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Illegalize Design Piracy in Fashion

Design Piracy Prohibition Act

— November 12, 2007 — Fashion
With the unstoppable production of designer knock-offs everywhere, the U.S. Senate has recently made a move to help designers protect their designs.

The bill pending in the Senate not only protects the logo but the overall designs of garments and accessories as well. Under the federal Copyright Act of 1976, only the artwork(brand label, logo, original print and embroidery) is protected but the blueprints of the designs are not. With this loophole in the law, many in the fashion industry are trying to have the law changed.

As the bill adds design piracy in fashion to counterfeiting as copyright violation, it has stirred different reactions from fashion personalities. Diane Von Furstenberg, president of the New York-based Council of Fashion Designers, is one of the fashion leaders pushing for the Design Piracy Prohibition Act as it would extend the design protection beyond artwork for three years.

Although the bill is great news for high-end designers, it is bad news for the fashion retailers that regularly copy designs from the runways. Bebe, Forever 21, H&M and Zara are some of the top retailers to be threatened by this drastic turn in fashion's trickle-down process.

The bill sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Hillary Clinton, among others, is expected to come up for a vote early next year.

Check out some of the samples of design piracy:
1. Chloe design versus the Topshop knock-off that was pulled out of the shelves following Chloe's allegations
2. MTV versus Macy's copycat graphic design
3. Christian Louboutin's peeptoe pumps
4. Miu Miu shoes that drew inspiration from the patent leather Louboutin shoes