Much like Jason in “Friday the 13th,” the idea of having a federal statute to protect fashion designs never dies. I’ve posted before about why I think that kind of measure is unnecessary and would be a bad idea, but Professor Jeannie Suk had an op-ed in the NY Times on Sunday arguing once again for this proposal.
One way to think about this is to look at the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act, which was enacted in 1990. Prior to that time, architecture (like fashion) was generally unprotected and the incentives for architects came from what they got paid for executing a commission. If people wanted to sell merchandise depicting a building, they could do so freely. Now that isn’t true, though in practice most buildings have a copyright value of zero.
Here’s are some questions. Is architecture better as a result of these new copyright incentives? Or was this just a measure that redistributed wealth from average folks to a few well-known architects? The latter isn’t a compelling rationale and, in my view, that’s all that would happen if Congress enacts fashion design protection.
(BTW, the Super Bowl is coming to my hometown, hence I thought that the photo of Mrs. Brady was appropriate.)