Thursday, September 12, 2013

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

Will Phone Check be the New Coat Check?

We've talked a number of times about the ease of infringement at fashion shows.  With New York Fashion Week closing today, it's a good time to think about how NYFW and fashion weeks across the States could be changing.  Unlike in Europe, America has no federal protection for fashion designs.  The utility argument continues.  This brings up the question of how and what designers will do to protect their precious works of art.  

New technology as a threat
With technology improving every day, and camera phones being so commonplace, designers could be expected to ban these devices from their shows.  Instead of checking your coat, you'll have to check your phone at the door.  Press would be allowed in, but forced to sign strict agreements on distribution of the photos they take.  It sounds outrageous, but is not far-fetched.  Infringement lawsuits are getting filed left and right these days.  With the quickness and ease of social media, designs are always in harms way.  

Everyone knows attendees quickly take photos of their favorite styles, send them to manufacturers and have them on the racks at places like Forever 21 faster than the original designer can make another for their own collection.  We've heard this line so many times before.  

Still not having federal legislation to protect fashion designs under copyright--only prints and patterns have this security--designers are constantly looking for something to protect themselves.  Otherwise, trademark and design patents are pretty much the only options.  

Should cities offer protection?  What can they do?
Many say there is no real harm to the lower-priced copies.  The shoppers at one price point are not the shoppers at another.  This debate will continue.  Should fashion week host cities come up with their own solutions?  Would you surrender your phone at the door of a fashion show?

What are your thoughts?

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