Fashion Law

September 25, 2012

In recent years music and film have seen many legal battles over copyright violations. From the sample battles in hip-hop to everyday folks using big studio movie clips in their own You Tube videos.  Those court cases have spurred a larger ideological battle over intellectual property. On the one hand, some artists argue that the copyright  protects the creators, insuring they are paid for their hard work. On the other hand, many creators claim that the strict copyright laws limit creativity.

The world of fashion has remained comparatively untouched by these disputes. In this Ted video, Johanna Blakely explores how that has impacted fashion and what it might have to teach other industries.

Now, those of you who are familiar with the logic behind copyright protection — which is that without ownership, there is no incentive to innovate — might be really surprised by both the critical success of the fashion industry and the economic success of this industry. What I’m going to argue today is that because there’s no copyright protection in the fashion industry, fashion designers have actually been able to elevate utilitarian design, things to cover our naked bodies, into something that we consider art. Because there’s no copyright protection in this industry, there’s a very open and creative ecology of creativity.