What’s In A Copyright? Lawyers.

Why isn’t the design of my dress, or bra, or blouse copyrighted? Is there a reason we have copy protection on music but not clothing? Why are there no lawsuits over jeans?

We live in a society which is populated by double standards and double takes. Take copyrights. Puhleeeeze.

The recording industry and the movie industry have legions of lawyers willing to sue the pants off grandmothers who don’t have computers because of copyright infringement.

But nobody from Nieman-Marcus sues Target for selling obvious knockoffs of expense clothing. Why the double standard?

According to WikiPedia, a Copyright is defined as:

…a set of exclusive rights granted by governments to regulate the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. At its most general, it is literally “the right to copy” an original creation. In most cases, these rights are of limited duration.

Tell that to Mickey Mouse, whose lease on copyright life will go on forever. Even if my name is Ford, I can’t build an automobile and call it Ford, due to trademark laws. I can’t do a mouse cartoon and call it Mickey, either, that due to copyright laws.

WikiPedia goes on to say:

Copyright law covers only the particular form or manner in which ideas or information have been manifested, the “form of material expression”. It is not designed or intended to cover the actual idea, concepts, facts, styles, or techniques which may be embodied in or represented by the copyright work.”

Tell that to the author of “The Da Vinci Code.”

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The record and movie industry love to sue those who make copies of their wares, and rightly so. But no such effort is undertaken in the fashion industry, where styles, parts of styles, are copied more than butts on a Xerox copier during the annual office party.

In fact, it has long been considered an open and accepted policy among fashion designers to copy pieces of the designs of others.

Why are there no lawsuits to stop the knockoffs?

Why doesn’t Levi’s have legions of lawyers on hand to bash the likes of Guess, Wrangler, Lee, and Calvin-Klein? Hey, jeans is jeans, right?

It’s one thing to stop teenagers from “copying” copyrighted music from the internet and storing such on their PCs, Macs, and iPods. It’s something else again to stop a designer from copying a color scheme, a fabric, a cut.

Songs you buy online and store on your iPod are also copy protected (to some degree), so how would you copy protect an original blouse design?

If the design I find at Target is somewhat original and not substantially similar in appearance to the original original design at Neiman-Marcus for five times the money, is that considered infringement? Who decides?

It’s a double standard. Those who can enforce, do. Those who can’t afford lawyers, don’t.