Press Release

Copyright Law A Poor Fit for Fashion, Industry Analyst Tells Congress

July 31, 2006 ,

For Immediate Release
July 27, 2006

Contact: Art Brodsky 202-518-0020 (c) 301-908-7715

Contact for The Doneger Group:
Stacy Berns/Melissa Jaffin, Berns Communications Group 212-994-4660

Copyright Law A Poor Fit for Fashion, Industry Analyst Tells Congress

It would be a mistake for Congress to make fashion designs subject
to copyright law, a leading fashion industry analyst told a House
subcommittee this morning.

David Wolfe, creative director for The Doneger Group of New York,
a firm which analyzes global marketing trends and strategies in the
fashion industry, testified before the House Subcommittee on Courts,
the Internet and Intellectual Property on a bill (HR 5055) which would
bring clothing and accessories, including belts and eyeglass frames, under
copyright law. Wolfe's testimony was coordinated by Public Knowledge,
a Washington public interest group that works to preserve the public's
rights on intellectual property issues.

In his written statement to the subcommittee, Wolfe said that: “Over
the past century, the fashion industry in America has thrived because of,
and not in spite of, a lack of copyright protection for fashion designs.
The fashion industry is a well-balanced system, which succeeds by
smoothly, quickly, and profitably integrating a complicated blend of
original ideas, individual creativity and copying. Fashion designers
draw on a wide array of influences from society, history and one another,
making it virtually impossible to determine the originality of a given
design. Copyright for fashion design is antithetical to this process.”

Wolfe noted that copyright is based on protecting originality. But in
the fashion industry, “finding and defining originality in fashion is
an extremely difficult if not impossible task,” Wolfe said, adding:
“Because it is so difficult to determine what is 'original' about a
particular fashion design, it would be equally difficult to enforce a
copyright fairly.”

The result, he said, would be a “morass of litigation that will hinder
rather than encourage creativity in fashion design.” Wolfe said:
“Rather than efficiently creating new fashion designs for the market,
designers will be trapped in the perpetual chaos of trying to defend the
copyright on existing designs while planning and producing designs for
the future. The lifespan of a legal dispute is longer than the attention
span of the fashion industry. By the time a design is determined to be
or not be infringing, the marketplace will have moved on and new trends
will have emerged.”

The full testimony is available here:

Public Knowledge is a public-interest advocacy and education organization
that seeks to promote a balanced approach to intellectual property law
and technology policy that reflects the “cultural bargain” intended
by the framers of the constitution. More information available at:

About The Doneger Group:
Founded in 1946 with headquarters in New York City, The Doneger Group
is the leading market source of global market trends and customized
merchandising strategies to the retail and fashion community. Its premier
network of merchandising market analysts and Creative Services Team work
closely together to research, edit and evaluate the marketplace to help
companies make better business decisions in buying and merchandising.