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The Real Deal: Anthony Lupo and Michelle Marsh Discuss Clothing and Copyright

In this episode of Fashion Counsel, Partners Anthony Lupo and Michelle Marsh discuss copyright laws and their applications (and road blocks) to the retail sector.

Exclusivity and uniqueness are the cornerstones of the fashion industry. From Louboutin’s iconic red-soled pump to Burberry’s famed trench, brands pride themselves on creating exceptional albeit timeless pieces. So what prevents a rival company from simply replicating success? Which begs the age old (and hotly debated) question – can clothing be copyrighted? The answer is anything but black and white.

The issue of clothing and copyright laws has recently come under the microscope when the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments over the graphic designs of cheerleader uniforms that have been called into question. The US Copyright Act does not currently provide protection for “functional” aspects of clothing, but as the law has been spun into a patchwork of protections to do with design patents, trade dress, and copyrights over the years, this case could bring greater clarity to copyright protection for the aesthetic elements of clothing and costume design.


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