Press Release

Protect Consumer Innovators from Copyright Overreach, Public Knowledge Tells Supreme Court

July 22, 2016 , ,

Yesterday, Public Knowledge joined nine other organizations in filing an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court case Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands. The case, which will likely be argued this fall, is on the question of whether stripe patterns in cheerleading uniforms is subject to copyright protection.

The following can be attributed to Charles Duan, attorney for Public Knowledge and counsel of record on the brief:

“In this case about copyright, we are extremely pleased to be joined by a diverse and enthusiastic group that includes 3D printing companies, fan works enthusiasts, library associations, and a group promoting open source electronics. This wide range of interests comes together to advance a single message: that individuals and consumers abound with creativity in all areas, and that copyright law must tread carefully to avoid tramping down that creativity.

“Although the case deals directly with cheerleading uniforms, our brief points out the many other industries and creative practices that stand to be affected: home sewing, fan costuming, 3D printing, fashion design, typography, and others.

“Recently in several different areas we have seen how copyright owners have sought to overreach into fields where they do not properly belong. We hope that the Supreme Court recognizes that consumer innovation is one of those fields, and that the Court will take steps to adequately protect that critical innovation.”

You may view the brief here. The full list of parties includes: Public Knowledge, the International Costumers Guild, Shapeways, Inc., the Open Source Hardware Association, Formlabs Inc., Printrbot Inc., the Organization for Transformative Works, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries.

For more information, please read our latest article, “The Star Power of Copyright.”