WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of House lawmakers reintroduced a modified version of a bill on Thursday that would provide three years of copyright protection for fashion designs.
The bill has been championed by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, but it is opposed by the American Apparel & Footwear Association and some apparel companies.
The Design Piracy Prohibition Act, introduced by Reps. Bill Delahunt (D., Mass.), Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) and Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.), would amend current law to allow companies and designers to register their fashion designs for three years of copyright protection. Apparel, handbags, footwear, belts and eyeglass frames would be covered. The measure would also establish penalties for companies knocking off designs.
“We believe the [bill] addresses the very real problem of fashion piracy,” said Steven Kolb, executive director of the CFDA. “Pirates steal American fashion designs, make low-quality copies in Asian factories with cheap labor and import them back into the U.S. to compete with the original designs.”
Kolb said the legislation is “badly needed” to give designers some protection and act as a deterrent against companies that knock off their designs.
But Kevin Burke, president and chief executive officer of the AAFA, said: “We’re not opposed to protecting products, but it’s the process here we are opposed to. The process is cumbersome. The essential driver of fashion is inspiration. This bill outlaws inspiration. Everything a designer comes up with will have to be looked at by legal offices in companies to see whether or not it passes muster.”
Burke, who sent an opposition letter to lawmakers earlier this week, said the bill would “create legal ambiguity” by utilizing the standard for infringement of “closely and substantially similar.” He said the bill would open the floodgates to frivolous lawsuits, stifle creativity and innovation and impose costly new burdens on companies trying to verify whether a design they might want to use had been approved for copyright protection.
The bill faces an uphill battle in Congress because of industry opposition and the fact that fashion is an industry quick to jump on trends and find inspiration from styles of the past.
The new bill differs from last year’s measure, which stalled in Congress. Among the changes are: a new standard for infringement, defined as “closely and substantially similar”; new language that would make it clear reproducing a trend does not infringe on the protection granted in the bill; a provision that exonerates designers who independently create a design that meets the standard of infringement but does so “without any knowledge of the protected design”; a searchable database maintained by the U.S. Copyright Office of all designs filed, and penalties for false representation of $5,000, which cannot exceed $10,000.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)