If you care about being able to buy indie fashions, then you will be horrified to learn about the Design Piracy Prohibition Act (HR 2196). On the face, it seems reasonable. The purported goal is to prevent designers from ripping off styles from others, but their methods are insane.
Under this legislation, however, designers will need to consult with a lawyer throughout the design process to ensure that every new design created could not subjectively be found at a later date to be “closely and substantially similar” to one protected in the Copyright registry…
Further, young, up-and-coming designers would be susceptible to legal intimidation from designing anything new at all, as they would likely not have the resources to fight a legal challenge in court…
While the bill purports to keep all fashion designs that have existed in the past free and open for all to use, the legislation would allow the ability to copyright non-original design elements in the public domain if arranged in an original way.
Moreover, since there is no test for originality, the registry will begin to be populated with designs that from the public domain. Thus, a designer who draws upon inspiration from the public domain, can easily find himself/herself stuck in costly litigation. – Fashion Incubator via Boing Boing
And guess who is one of the main people behind this bill which takes protection away from independent designers? Diane Von Furstenberg. You remember her, she’s the famous iconic designer who blatantly copied the design of a small designer and apparently thought no one would notice.
Kathleen Fasanella of Fashion Incubator has great suggestions for getting the word out and making sure indie voices are heard. So send emails, sign the petition, and hope that the people in charge see the light.