Fashion and Intellectual Property Rights

Monday, June 14, 2010

Saw an interesting video today--it's a TEDtalk vid Featuring Johanna Blakely of the Norman Lear Center. The vid discusses the lack of copyright protection in the fashion industry and whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.  It also discusses what the difference is between those things that are considered "copyright worthy" in the US and what is viewed as "un-copyright-able".

I found this video incredibly interesting.  I have to admit, I subscribe to a blog called You Thought We Wouldn't Notice, and it's fascinating to see how blatantly art is ripped off and used by others for their own ends.  My, but there's a lot of t-shirt art that's lifted illegally off of Deviant Art...  And I used to be really concerned about some big company coming by and ripping off my work, having it mechanically reproduced with some large machine in a sweatshop somewhere, and sold at prices that I couldn't beat.  I thought I could potentially be in real trouble financially if that happened.

And now that I've watched this video, I'm not sure I feel the same way.  I see now how industries with high Intellectual Property issues (like illustration, film, music, books) feel robbed of their livelihoods.  And now I can also see how the Fashion industry continues to fly in the face of those principles and thrive.

And more and more I am convinced that my fashion is actually anti-fashion...  That what I'm striving for is something that cannot be easily reproduced, manufactured, nor distributed.  I'm trying to create one-of-a-kind wearable art pieces that cannot be copied.  So I don't really have an issue with copyright protection after all...

My challenge is to follow through on what I'm trying to do.  To actually make unique, singular, non-industry "fashion" that is so intrinsically "me" it can't be knocked off.  And Johanna Blakely says that's what most great fashion designers are trying to do now.  So I think I need to brush up on my art skills, 'cuz no one can truly copy another artist's brush strokes, attention to detail (or lack therof), or methods of execution...

Hmmm...  Food for thought.

Until next time, here's the video, and Live Life with Relish!

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