Today, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear arguments in the case of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands. The case asks whether copyright may protect designs in useful articles, such as stripe patterns on cheerleader uniforms. Public Knowledge recently filed an amicus brief emphasizing the case’s potential impact on hobbyists and consumers. The International Costumers’ Guild and the Royal Manticoran Navy, two popular costuming organizations, also joined the brief.
Meredith Rose returns to the podcast to address the enormous response to her blog post, "Cosplay Goes to the Supreme Court," and gives PKitK host Meredith Whipple more details about Star Athletica and Varsity Brands taking their case to the Supreme Court.
Yes, you read that right: the Supreme Court of the United States may get to decide the legal status of all those Jedi robes you’ve got squirreled away. The Supreme Court is considering a case that will set the standard for when clothing and costume designs can be covered by copyright—and when people who mimic them (such as costumers) can be sued for potentially enormous damages.
While New York Fashion Week marches on, let’s take a moment
to look at where the future of the fashion industry should and shouldn’t go.
Should: Into the world of 3D printing.
Shouldn’t: Into the world of harsher copyright protection.
Over the weekend, the
3D printing group Shapeways kicked off
Fashion Week with the unveiling of a collaboratively designed 3D printed gown.
The metallic creation, modeled by Dita Von Teese and designed by Francis Bitoni
and Michael Schmidt (of Lady Gaga’s famous bubble dress), exhibited printing
technology that suggests a fashion forward future of extraordinary creativity from
within the industry.
That is, if Congress doesn’t pass a law applying copyright
protection to clothing designs.
Once again, the Senate is considering a bill that would allow fashion designers to sue people for knocking off their designs. The "Innovative Design Protection Act," S.3523, is being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill, like its predecessors, would create a three-year term of protection for clothing, handbags, eyeglass frames, and other types of apparel, preventing anyone else from using the same design as the original designer. For a look at some of the arguments around earlier versions, see Katy's post here.
This would be a marked departure from the state of the law now.