“Creativity is the art of concealing your source.” – Coco Chanel
Fashion is a thriving industry in which copying plays a major role in driving new styles and for which copyright protection is unheard of. Copies, trends, and imitations quickly saturate the market, driving designers to new styles and consumers to new purchases each season.
A story on the radio show Marketplace yesterday inadvertently highlighted an important point that is all too often left out of discussions about intellectual property: some types of ideas are simply beyond the scope of copyright or patent. Even commercial ideas. And that is ok.
Moments after seeing Kate Middleton emerge from the limousine on her wedding day last Friday, fashion designers all over the world pulled out their sketchbooks and got to work copying the dress. The usual celebrity dress copy-artists came out of the woodwork: a version of the gown by A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz is already finished and will be in stores by June 30; New York fashion house Faviana also has a version that will head to production soon; and the Chinese Muyi Wedding Dress Company already has a $320 version for sale in Suzhou.
The world of 3D printing was in a tizzy last week discussing a DMCA takedown notice received by the website Thingiverse, a website that allows users to share and discuss their 3D printed designs. It was something of a milestone because it was the first DMCA notice received by the site.