Sterling Ambivalence (3/13/2006 5:24:54 PM): here's something interesting -- fashion is trying to copyright clothing design, so you can no longer buy inexpensive knockoffs...
S A (3/13/2006 5:26:57 PM): http://www.slate.com/id/2137954/
J (3/13/2006 5:28:48 PM): makes sense
J (3/13/2006 5:29:08 PM): but it's easy to get around
S A (3/13/2006 5:30:57 PM): actually they didn't have copyright on fashion at all, which is why you can get cheap knockoffs for high design. The Supreme Court (back in the 30s, mind you) saw that copyright would create too much of a monopoly on clothing... with high prices and mediocre quality (much like today's movie industry).
S A (3/13/2006 5:32:08 PM): Of course, industry would rather sell you mediocre quality for high prices, so its only natural for them to try to petition copyright for fashions. (And we can thank Congress and the state of Florida for giving the the idea,)
J (3/13/2006 5:33:15 PM): florida again
S A (3/13/2006 5:35:06 PM): Yep. As copyright is currently written, you can't copyright something that has a utilitarian purpose. That means you can copyright entertainment, but not something like clothing design or (I believe) shelter architecture.
S A (3/13/2006 5:36:22 PM): However, Florida wrote a law protecting the makers of (of all things) boat hulls. The makers of boat hulls didn't want cheap knockoff boat hulls eating into their profits.
J (3/13/2006 5:36:56 PM): that's unbelivable
S A (3/13/2006 5:38:12 PM): Some time ago, the Supreme Court found this law unconstitutional, for the Constitution gives intellectual property protection responsibility to the federal government.
S A (3/13/2006 5:39:37 PM): Of course, Congress sold out to the boatmakers and wrote a law specifically exempting boat hulls from the utilitarian clause of copyright statute...
S A (3/13/2006 5:40:05 PM): Now, the fashion industry wants the same exemption.
J (3/13/2006 5:43:13 PM): sure they can get it just make that check payable to the K St. Project and you'll get it
S A (3/13/2006 5:48:06 PM): though it leads me to wonder what would happen if copyright law is loosened on entertainment. Think of it this way: most of our entertainment today is derived from others made by others earlier than us. However, people are today prevented from doing likewise from stuff made just last century.
J (3/13/2006 5:50:29 PM): yup they expanded it like 15 years ago and it became crazy
S A (3/13/2006 5:53:38 PM): There's a number of things on YouTube that are cool but would probably be subject to a lawsuit if the entertainment companies saw it online. Plus stuff like fan fiction which sprouts up around popular entrtainment is proof of a vibrant community, but is always subject to the whims of entertainment lawyers...
J (3/13/2006 5:55:08 PM): I'm sure they will get sued one day
S A (3/13/2006 5:55:27 PM): even Bil Cosby is suing a guy for producing a silly silly sitcom with the premise that some guy loved the Cos so much that he cloned himself dozens of copies.
S A (3/13/2006 5:56:26 PM): http://www.waxy.org/archive/2006/03/03/litigati.shtml
J (3/13/2006 5:56:46 PM): yup that's it SUE! don't take it as a complemnet
S A (3/13/2006 5:58:17 PM): well, part of the plot of the show is that the clones aren't as high a quality as the original Cos. (Well, except for every 10th one, which apparently is the superhero Cos.)
S A (3/13/2006 6:02:17 PM): Well, I think it got harsher lately. Especially if I recall the story about how unsolicited ideas for reimagining the origins of Wonder Woman managed to influence the people who wrote the relaunched Wonder Woman in the early to mid 80s.
S A (3/13/2006 6:06:29 PM): Today, I pretty much know that most writers who write for TV shows will absolutely not read anything they did not solicit for themselves, lest they open themselves up to a copyright countersuit... At least that was what Greg Weisman told his fans when he posts online about Gargoyles.