Copyright Law A Poor Fit for Fashion, Industry Analyst Tells Congress
Copyright Law A Poor Fit for Fashion, Industry Analyst Tells Congress
Copyright Law A Poor Fit for Fashion, Industry Analyst Tells Congress

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    For Immediate Release
    July 27, 2006

    Contact: Art Brodsky 202-518-0020 (c) 301-908-7715

    Contact for The Doneger Group:
    Stacy Berns/Melissa Jaffin, Berns Communications Group 212-994-4660

    Copyright Law A Poor Fit for Fashion, Industry Analyst Tells Congress

    It would be a mistake for Congress to make fashion designs subject
    to copyright law, a leading fashion industry analyst told a House
    subcommittee this morning.

    David Wolfe, creative director for The Doneger Group of New York,
    a firm which analyzes global marketing trends and strategies in the
    fashion industry, testified before the House Subcommittee on Courts,
    the Internet and Intellectual Property on a bill (HR 5055) which would
    bring clothing and accessories, including belts and eyeglass frames, under
    copyright law. Wolfe's testimony was coordinated by Public Knowledge,
    a Washington public interest group that works to preserve the public's
    rights on intellectual property issues.

    In his written statement to the subcommittee, Wolfe said that: “Over
    the past century, the fashion industry in America has thrived because of,
    and not in spite of, a lack of copyright protection for fashion designs.
    The fashion industry is a well-balanced system, which succeeds by
    smoothly, quickly, and profitably integrating a complicated blend of
    original ideas, individual creativity and copying. Fashion designers
    draw on a wide array of influences from society, history and one another,
    making it virtually impossible to determine the originality of a given
    design. Copyright for fashion design is antithetical to this process.”

    Wolfe noted that copyright is based on protecting originality. But in
    the fashion industry, “finding and defining originality in fashion is
    an extremely difficult if not impossible task,” Wolfe said, adding:
    “Because it is so difficult to determine what is 'original' about a
    particular fashion design, it would be equally difficult to enforce a
    copyright fairly.”

    The result, he said, would be a “morass of litigation that will hinder
    rather than encourage creativity in fashion design.” Wolfe said:
    “Rather than efficiently creating new fashion designs for the market,
    designers will be trapped in the perpetual chaos of trying to defend the
    copyright on existing designs while planning and producing designs for
    the future. The lifespan of a legal dispute is longer than the attention
    span of the fashion industry. By the time a design is determined to be
    or not be infringing, the marketplace will have moved on and new trends
    will have emerged.”

    The full testimony is available here:

    Public Knowledge is a public-interest advocacy and education organization
    that seeks to promote a balanced approach to intellectual property law
    and technology policy that reflects the “cultural bargain” intended
    by the framers of the constitution. More information available at:

    About The Doneger Group:
    Founded in 1946 with headquarters in New York City, The Doneger Group
    is the leading market source of global market trends and customized
    merchandising strategies to the retail and fashion community. Its premier
    network of merchandising market analysts and Creative Services Team work
    closely together to research, edit and evaluate the marketplace to help
    companies make better business decisions in buying and merchandising.

    Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at or 405-249-9435.