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SIGIA-L Mail Archives: [Sigia-l] Copying design...fashionably

[Sigia-l] Copying design...fashionably

From: Ziya Oz (
Date: Tue Sep 04 2007 - 00:25:39 EDT

³For me, this is not simply about copying,² said Anna Sui, one of more than
20 designers who have filed lawsuits against Forever 21, one of the
countryıs fastest-growing clothing chains, for selling what they claim are
copies of their apparel. ³The issue is also timing. These copies are hitting
the market before the original versions do.²

The designers seek to outlaw clothing that looks very similar to their
originals but is sold under someone elseıs label. They want to extend laws
that already ban counterfeit handbags and sunglasses with designer logos,
which reportedly account for as much as $12 billion of sales. A reliable
estimate of knockoffs cannot be determined because designers and retailers
disagree on which clothes are copies and which are merely ³inspired² by a
trend, a normal part of the fashion food chain.

At the factory in Jaipur the company contracts with 2,000 workers who
specialize in pattern making, design and tailoring, and are equipped with
computer programs that approximate the design of a garment from a Web image
without the need to pull apart the seams.

She sees her work meeting the needs of the vast majority of consumers who
cannot afford designer prices. ³Especially the younger girls do not have so
much money,² Ms. Anand said, ³but they want to wear fashionable clothes.²

³They want to look fabulous,² she said. ³Itıs their right to look fabulous.²


Design copying is an issue on the web, especially if yours is the one
usurped by someone who's done it willfully and is unwilling to take it down.
Some people, including here, argue that UIs should not be patentable and,
presumably, copyrightable. What about instantiated design copied? Does every
site (however impoverished it might be) have a "right to look fabulous"?

It depends.
If it didn't, you'd be out of a job.
IA Summit 2008: "Experiencing Information" 
April 10-14, 2008, Miami, Florida
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