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08-06-2009
  1
mie
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Design Piracy Prohibition Act: the CFDA, knockoffs (the end?), effects on consumers
Anyone else heard about this?


According to the CFDA:

Quote:


Design Piracy describes the increasingly prevalent practice of enterprises that seek to profit from the invention of others by producing copies of original designs under a different label. These duplicate versions then have the potential to flood the market and devalue the original by their ubiquity, poor quality, or speed at which they reach the consumer. Technological advances to the means of textile and garment production, as well as increases in the number of distribution channels and the availability of cheap labor in emerging economies have created serious challenges to the growth of fashion design in America.

The Design Piracy Prohibition Act grew from these concerns, and was initiated with two main objectives: to protect both the established and the up-and-coming designers whose development, growth and success helps to support the $350 billion U.S. fashion industry; and to preserve intellectual property.
The following excerpts are from fashion-incubator.com. The full posts, if you want to read more, are here:

Proposed law to destroy 90% of design businesses

Fashion copyright: the death of us all


Quote:
You know what’s weird? I don’t understand why it is that in an era of reduced innovation, that there’s an increasing obsession with IP. What for? Everything looks the same. Traditionally, you prevented knock offs through engineering innovation and quality. Garments with tricky details are hard to copy, too expensive. It’s hard to pattern them and sew them. It’s not worth the effort for such a specialized market of unknown demand. There’s designers like Julian. Nobody knocks him off. And he posts the patterns to his garments on the internet! He’ll even teach you how to copy him -free! Talk about open source. Yet nobody does it. Nobody copies the true innovators. It’s too expensive, the market is dicey. Designers like Julian will be out or continue to design as a formal protest (knowing him), risking lawsuits. In the olden days, you protected yourself through innovation. People are copied owing to inferior product quality or an ageing concept, not the opposite. It was a good idea but poorly executed. Remember when I wrote about Beth Mitchell and everyone jumped to her defense after it appeared Michael Kors copied her, improving the product? In the end, we discovered she copied Bobbie Breslau and even used a copyrighted home sewing pattern to do it! And that reminds me of something else. Young designers -the so called innovators this legislation proposes to protect- are more likely to copy their predecessors than to have their own designs usurped. It is rarely the big bad pirate manufacturer copying a start up but the opposite. Throughout history, the concept of “copy till you catch up” has served as a nurturing, exploratory stage of a designer’s career. You’re too young to have matured as an artist. How can you find your own vibe unless you’ve experimented with examples developed by the masters? This legislation would subvert the growth and development of young talent, not protect it.
Effects on consumers:

Quote:
What will the retail landscape look like? I can only imagine retail clothing stores will be a tenth of their former size. As a consumer yourself, what range of clothing choices and colors will you have? And dare I mention fit? As it is, shopping for fit entails endless travails and misery. If this legislation passes, you’re sunk. If it’s hard to find clothes that fit you now, in colors and styles that flatter you, how can you possibly expect that with dramatically diminished competition in the market you’ll find it in the future? Do you think you’ll be able to lobby registered manufacturers to make clothing you like? Ha! So much for protecting innovation from new blood. I can only imagine most of us will retire. It’s too much of a hassle as it is. It’s not worth the added “investment” to bring a design to market. The barrier of costs this legislation represents will stifle innovation more effectively than any other possible alternative. We won’t have to worry about protecting innovation if there isn’t any.
Quote:
Not only is apparel fit impacting consumers but clothes are about to get much more expensive. Because of the costs -which includes longer lead times owing to legal requirements- I sincerely doubt anything will be manufactured domestically; it’ll be all off shore. And then imagine the supply problems. What if the manufacturer who’s registered the common “hoodie” loses their goods due to an act of God or misses a deadline? If you want a work out jacket, you’d better hit the thrift store. One side effect will be that used clothing prices will dramatically increase. One possible outcome is that people will start sewing more of their own clothes since one-offs, not for hire, wouldn’t be affected but forget about sewing up that cute outfit for a neighbor. You could get sued. Maybe lose your house. I guess you could describe one positive outcome being that fewer used garments (or new ones) will be headed for the landfill. Is it worth the trade off? Rather than benefiting consumers, this will create an apparel monopoly for the select few who have the wherewithal to be first in line at the copyright office. In this era of “brands” and The End of Fashion (Agins) coupled with the disproportionate growth of trademarking and marketing, many apparel “manufacturers” aren’t manufacturers at all. They’re BRANDS, with a compendium of products that reflect their image in the marketplace. You can breathe easier knowing the world will become a much safer place for homogenized offerings from brands because no one else will have the resources to manufacture.
Quote:
Contrary to popular belief, small businesses employ more workers than large ones and in spite of the hits apparel has taken in recent years, did you know there are still more people employed in apparel and textile manufacturing than in any other kind of manufacturing? Overnight, at least 90% of those jobs will be gone. Textile suppliers? Gone. Sales reps? Gone. Retail employees? Gone. Sewing machine manufacturers? Gone. Suppliers? Gone. Software companies? Gone. Fashion magazines? Gone. PR companies? Gone. Who will need them? It’ll be a protected market a monopolist can only dream of. This legislation will be beyond compare in its devastation and reach. It will serve to centralize the whole fashion strata into one tiny segment. One benefit, fashion bloggers with their pink pony blogs will have to get a life. Home sewers aren’t off the hook. Your fabrics feed from us. I hope you like muslin. Pocket twill can be a fun fabric too. Better stock up now.

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08-06-2009
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There is no good way to address this.

On one hand many of my friends are getting killed because their are Pakistani companies take what is an $800 or $1200 item, knock it off and flood the internet with in some cases $69 rip-offs. These leeches are even bold enough to use THEIR copyrighted images in their websites...

Sadly, image copyright violation enforcement has been the most effective tool today.

Their response? Hidden or private websites. They now wholesale their privacy and you have to apply to get to the buying website. I am currently a "mole" and have been documenting and creating PDFs for another round of lawsuits against the scum.

On the other hand, there is so much copying, something needs to be done... So where is the balance? I have been around the industry to know that so much is copied and borrowed.

My mom is a vintage textile dealer (mainly 17th century, give or take 75 years) and at shows like Brimfield, etc., you will see buyers for the designers buying garments either for new designs, or for ideas about fabrics and patterns.

It is a very tough balance

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08-06-2009
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Stitch:the Hand
 
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but what about corporate designers doing it to other designers? oh,they never want to admit or stand up against that

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08-06-2009
  4
scenester
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott View Post
but what about corporate designers doing it to other designers? oh,they never want to admit or stand up against that
Actually Diane Von Furstenburg was recently pointed out doing this. She dropped the item and blamed her staff.

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09-06-2009
  5
scenester
 
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I urge you to write your legislators. This widget will automatically email your representatives. In addition, please sign the independent designer's petition. Independents are opposed to this. Socialite designers like DVF are not independents. You're not an independent if you generate multi-millions in sales and have the power to muzzle the US press.

US firms have been copying foreign designers for over 100 years. This law will not protect them so it doesn't seem fair that US designers expect consideration they will not give themselves. Fair is fair. Nathalie Atkinson, who broke the story about DVF stealing Mercy's design, has a follow up story (I'm quoted). She wrote about two more independent Canadian designers in the Financial Post who had their designs stolen by Gap and Free People. The ugly truth is, the US press is not writing about the DVF story, I guess because of all the money she spends on advertising. So much for being an "independent".

None of the independent designers I know have the money to advertise, pay $200+ to register each design, thousands of dollars to pay an attorney to search the design database, or the money to sue someone like Gap or DVF if they do get knocked off. If DVF has the financial pull to keep the US fashion press muzzled, who do you think is going to win in a lawsuit? It's whoever has the most money. If DVF couldn't successfully sue Forever 21, what chance do my designers have? NONE! The problem is, DVF's law would keep them from entering the business in the first place. That's a great way to kill your competition, just keep them out to begin with. With less competition, consumers are really screwed. They'll have to pay the $800 for the DVF design, rather than $250 for what it cost to buy the ORIGINAL Mercy design.

And sizes? Ha! Socialite designers like DVF don't cut anything larger than a size 12. The average US resident wears a size 14, what are they going to wear? Besides, the unemployment rate is now nearly 10%, how can afford to wear expensive designer fashions? I can't.

Worst of all, this will not protect US jobs during the worst recession in decades. The socialite designers who want this law passed, produce their lines off shore. Independent designers produce their lines in the US, hiring US workers. If this law passes, a lot of people will be put out of work, the exact opposite of what DVF claims.

You know, in the beginning, I thought this was a great law. I thought "any little bit helps" but it doesn't. It more than doubles their production costs and in this tough economy, they are struggling enough as it is. I am a pattern maker, I run the most popular website on the internet for independent fashion designers. I've been working with independents for nearly 15 years so I think I'd know their business. If their design isn't registered, I can't do their work. I can't afford to get sued. If people like me can't make their patterns or sew their products, it's not going to get done. I guess the independent designers of the world can look forward to a new career at Wal-mart or at best, as sales people at DVF. That'll leave a mark.

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09-06-2009
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The other part that is really not covered here is the piracy that takes place in far off countries. Have you ever been a Canadian or US company and tried to sue a Chinese or Pakistani company? Even if you have things REGISTERED, it is a hard, long and expensive process.

But I do agree with the above poster. The current bill stifles creativity and provides an unfair advantage to the multi-national conglomerates.

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09-06-2009
  7
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I'm reminded of the "Outfit Lookalikes" thread. As has been mentioned, high-end designers do it themselves, sometimes by coincidence, because when it comes to minimalism or common patterns, it's bound to happen. Other times their probably is some sneaky staff member up to no good. But really, HOW are they going to determine if something breaches a copyright or not? Is Miuccia Prada going to copyright the sweetheart neckline? Really, I can't see this passing because it's too messy and poorly thought-out.

Quote:
These duplicate versions then have the potential to flood the market and devalue the original by their ubiquity, poor quality, or speed at which they reach the consumer.
Completely false, in my opinion. Everyone appreciates the original and a knock-off never bears the same luxurious connotation of wearing an actual pair of Louboutins or a Chanel 2.55. Those are still everyone's ultimate goals (maybe insert your own brands there, I just picked some iconic items).

P.S., that Diane von Furstenburg story and the lack of reporting is fascinating. Independent indeed. This law will discriminate against the upcoming, especially if a more established design conglomerate feels the heat of competition.

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09-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milada View Post

Completely false, in my opinion. Everyone appreciates the original and a knock-off never bears the same luxurious connotation of wearing an actual pair of Louboutins or a Chanel 2.55. Those are still everyone's ultimate goals (maybe insert your own brands there, I just picked some iconic items).
I will disagree with you here. This type of thing is VERY hard to measure but the classification comes down into two categories... Those that want the status of the label, and those that want the look. Quality does come into being, but that is also not to say that a cheaper item does not have the same quality. Price sometimes is merely a huge factor of label and not of superior quality.

When you look at Louis Vuitton, one of the reasons the signature LV logoed leather came about was the designs were being copied, imitated and that was a way for Louis Vuitton to create and promote their image, as well as make a statement about their quality.

There will always be in this segment, those who never will, or simply cannot afford the item in question, but to argue that knock-offs do not impact companies, then I think that is off just slightly. Part of fashion, especially when it comes to the "stars" and the "to-be-scene" crowd is all about appearance, and having flocks of knock-offs flooding the streets dillutes this image as well as lessens the brand and desireablity.

Fashion is hard to measure, but knock offs do steal a fair amount of sales. If it was not a big deal, why do companies like Chanel and others spend MILLIONS prowling eBay and other venues to shut down these knock-offs?

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09-06-2009
  9
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My argument was that knock-offs don't value the prestige of the original, not that they don't impact companies.

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