Fashion-Incubator: a good idea while it lasted

[amended] Welcome visitors from Boing Boing! See the back story.

Sounds dramatic doesn’t it? Bye-bye Fashion-Incubator. It was fun while it lasted. Truth be told, I have to change my business model and get into something else. Am I happy? No, not one bit. I’m a bit resentful, nearly 30 years of work in the toilet. The reason for the change is it is likely the Design Piracy Prohibition Act is going to become law. If it does, F-I is history. So whether you believe it yet or not, I won’t be around to say “I told you so” -as though I’d get any pleasure out of it anyway. Consumers and enthusiasts will also be paying the price. Consumers will spend lots more money on clothes and enthusiasts won’t have any patterns since those designs need to be registered too and there won’t be domestic fabric if all the manufacturers go under.

It is apparent people are not taking the matter of the Design Piracy Prohibition Act seriously; the detrimental effects I mentioned before when I started the petition. If this law passes, I have to remove Fashion-Incubator from the internet; there won’t be any need for it and I cannot afford a law suit if my advice enables someone to commit what will be a “crime”. None of this is new, I first brought it to your attention two years ago. If CPSIA was an amputation, the Design Piracy Prohibition Act is a beheading.

Not all large businesses support this law; the largest industry group, the venerable American Apparel and Footwear Association is likewise opposed. They’ve created an automated widget where you can automatically email your legislators. Kevin Burke (CEO of the AAFA) says the bill’s passage is likely because legislators haven’t heard opposition from individual businesses.

First, read Kevin’s memo he sent to AAFA members. It includes the names and phone numbers of the most important people to contact, talking points and what to do. As you should have seen with the CPSIA fiasco, it’s impossible to change a law once it’s passed. It is within your hands to prevent your own pending bankruptcy.

Send emails. Sign the petition. That’s two more things you can do right now. I have over 5,000 daily visitors and I only got 1,300 signatures on my petition? You know, I could see it if this were just about me but it’s not. It’s about saving yourself. I suggest you also hold your suppliers and collaborators accountable. I will have all my site sponsors and advertisers get involved. If we die, they do too. I suggest emailing this to your suppliers with the handy “email to a friend” button at the close of the entry.

[Amended 6/5/09 9:00AM, comment from Heather]

I just spoke to Eric Garduno on the House Judiciary Committee.  He seemed interested in talking to me and said it is helpful to have the comments written.  His e-mail is . I told him of our group and the large opposition and he said to please mail in your comments!

If that isn’t enough to convince you, here are some comments from small designers like you:

Elizabeth: Independent designers are everywhere and this is just a reaction by big fashion to undermine their rising popularity

Jana: Protect all of us, not just the elite!

JM: This Act is clearly in favor of multi million dollar brands, please don’t use legislation to try to squash your competition! It’s hard enough for small designers to finance production let alone have a lawyer on retainer.

Jessica: This will kill my small business and put people out of work across the U.S. Is this is a good idea, especially in this economic downturn? The CFDA is an exclusive club of celebrity designers who [produce offshore and] do not care one bit for the average American’s job or family. The president of the CFDA herself, Diane von Furstenberg, has been caught red-handed committing design piracy. This act will do NOTHING to stop a handful of ultra-wealthy celebrity designers from stealing the “little guys” ideas – but it WILL stop us “little guys” from making an honest living for our families.

As a custom clothier, this law would not allow my clientele, who cannot find clothing that fits, to have clothing custom made for them! Costs of clothing will be out of reach for everyday people.

Charis: This is insane. How will people afford the major name brand styles? It would be impossible!

Debbie: It would be death to the clothing industry and a field day for lawyers!

Pamela: I’m fortunate, I can sew. But if this law passes, I might have to make my own patterns, too. And if it’s more difficult to get affordable designs (including patterns), even more fabric stores will close –so where will I get fabric to sew with? This is a bad law.

Charli: Once again, Big Business killing the Small.

Esther: If this bill is passed it will only be beneficial to the bootlegging big wigs who proposed it!

Lisa: As an independent knitwear designer, I’ve already had 4 of my designs ‘stolen’ and I have no way to prove it. Also, a number of times, I have seen designs that look just like mine when I KNOW I created something myself and there’s no way someone else could have seen it! The design process is too serendipitous to be ‘quantifiable’ Please don’t pass this bill.

Read Kevin’s memo. Send emails. Sign the petition. If this law passes, I will have to remove this site from the internet. I can’t afford the liability. And just so you know, I detest, loathe, publishing entries like this. My site traffic drops quite a bit because no one wants to read bad news. At this point, I have nothing to lose. So my site traffic drops for a week, that’s better than forever.

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  1. Annette says:

    Kathleen, you raise the issue of all the non-DE enterprises that will be affected by this– fabric stores, fabric suppliers, pattern companies, and so on. What has their response been to this? I’m wondering how they see it affecting them and what actions they’ve taken/statements they’ve made.

    Thank you for doing this. I’m new and not very savvy to it all but I signed the petition and will review the who to call and talking points links.

  2. Brenda says:


    You told me a few weeks ago that I couldn’t give up, we still had time to fight this. In your opinion, can we still do that? What will it take?


  3. Valerie Burner says:

    I think that people like the comfort of burying their heads in the sand until the storm is over, rather than facing the reality of the situation. It seems to me that most DEs don’t understand the consequences, or they feel the law won’t pass since it slept for several years. There are many DEs who are all for the law. I guess they think they are big enough that it will be an advantage to them.

    Thank you for posting this information. The covert passing of the CPSIA showed me exactly how little DC listens to the real people anyway. It’s not an issue of Right or Left- it’s an issue of Right and Wrong, and how far this country has fallen from its “We, The People” roots. Now it’s more like “We, The People, Against Them”. What we need is more “People” and louder voices.

    I signed the petition, I sent it to my entire family and list of friends, and I Twittered it several times. I will go back and keep Twittering it. I didn’t go back to school and spend a ton of money on a degree in FD just to be told that I can no longer “do this”.

    Keep this discussion going, Kathleen. We need you to keep us informed, and tell us what we can do to help you in this fight.

  4. Heather says:

    Hi Kathleen
    Thank you for this information. I am contacting all of my colleagues, friends and my family, and asking them to pass it on. I also plan on calling the House Judiciary Committee (many times). Keep up the good work.

  5. Esther says:

    Just as a note, I don’t recall saying the above quote, though I am definitely opposed to the legislation. I haven’t done much because I see the law passing because of who is in Congress right now (and I am fairly certain the current POTUS will sign it). How fatalist is that? I am already working on an exit strategy from the biz. I can’t even get full-time work now, what will happen after this passes? I wrote to my legislators 2 years ago when this thing was in committee then. After my activism with CPSIA it is clear my representatives simply don’t care. They think they know better or “I’m not on that committee.” They lost my vote months ago after the way I was treated when I expressed my concerns. I hate to sound so negative but I am at a loss of what I can do. And really they only thing I can think of is to vote out who is there.

  6. kathleen says:

    Kathleen, you raise the issue of all the non-DE enterprises that will be affected by this– fabric stores, fabric suppliers, pattern companies, and so on. What has their response been to this? I’m wondering how they see it affecting them and what actions they’ve taken/statements they’ve made.

    Annette, I have no idea what their reaction is/will be. I haven’t contacted them. I wouldn’t know how to do it. Our industries are not integrated. I am no one to them, assuming I even knew who to talk to. You on the other hand, are much more powerful than I am. You are their customer. You can tell them, ask them. You can talk up the issue on sewing blogs, on PR, sewing magazines, where ever. I have no doubt people will think this is overly dramatic but then they said that too about CPSIA. I wish I’d been wrong about that but I wasn’t.

    You told me a few weeks ago that I couldn’t give up, we still had time to fight this. In your opinion, can we still do that? What will it take?

    Yes we can still fight this. It is in the Judiciary Committee. They’re the group that tosses things around in a small group, discussing whether they think a bill is meritorious or damaging and whether it should be considered for a vote before Congress. Based on their assessment (internal vote) is whether they decide to recommend that the bill be presented to the House. Now, the obvious thing to do is to kill this thing while it’s still in committee. Why wait till it goes to the House for a vote? Kill it now so they never get it. We can kill it if we write the Judiciary committee. Just do everything that Kevin wrote in his memo. Really. If we can get enough mail to the Judiciary, we won’t have to worry about a fight before Congress. Seriously, this is stupid. We should be worrying about feeding the elderly and educating children, not protecting socialite designers!

    Esther: It was another Esther but your comment is on the petition page :).

  7. Gidget says:

    Sending this out to everyone I know as well. Thank you for doing this post, no matter how harsh the awakening is!

  8. Eilish says:

    Please do not panic! Yes, this is a real piece of legislation … NO, it is not yet law.

    HR 2196: Design Piracy Prohibition Act, has been introduced into House committees. If you want to see this bill die (which most bills do die in committee), then contact your Congressman and tell them to vote it down. You can keep track of its progress at the link below, but there is no need to panic … yet.

    Here is the current status on the bill:
    Occurred: Introduced Apr 30, 2009
    Occurred: Referred to Committee View Committee Assignments
    Not Yet Occurred: Reported by Committee …
    Not Yet Occurred: Voted on in House …
    Not Yet Occurred: Voted on in Senate …
    Not Yet Occurred: Signed by President

  9. patsijean says:

    I just sent a message from the link you provided, adding my own thoughts about how many people will be effected, both professional and private; such as myself, a home sewer. I can see many people losing jobs because of this and I added several paragraghs explaining that to my Representatives and Senators.

  10. Kiran Bindra says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    Thank you for shining a bright to this issue that affects all of us in the industry. I hope everyone reading this post realizes that not only it is important to sign the petition but to educate all our colleagues in the industry. My experience has been that most people have already made up their minds toward the passage of this bill without reading the fine print!!!

    I just got back from the Atlanta Fashion Incubator event where I spoke ardently about the looming threat of the passage of this bill and the devastating effects it will bring to our industry. I really appreciate you taking the time to educate me so I could speak effectively and educate our community.

    Kiran Bindra

  11. John Otsuki says:

    Our company is in the buisness of developing new methods to improve the process and impact of textile manufacturing. A big part of this is adding competitive advantage to domestic, small-lot production over imports.

    I am interested in how this will be handled in the case where product manufactured in China is sold. Will retailers be responsible in the case of copyright infringement? Will imports be largely unenforced (likely). Does thie represent a further off-shoring of work due to cost of litigation?

    Rights management is always a difficult subject. And the more ambiguous the law, the less effective it is other than creating jobs for lawyers.

    Has anyone contacted some of the other Right Management groups in industries such as Music, Software and Graphic Arts to see if there are effective ways to present the potential negative impacts of the law to congress?

    As a new-comer to this market, I wish I had more to offer. Clearly it is in our best interest if this law does not pass. We’d like to help.

  12. Terra says:

    I’m not in the industry, I’ve been trained, I know how to grade etc. but am now a SAHM. I just signed the petition and sent the email. Will be sending it out to my family also. I have a question. I googled the Design Piracy Act and it seems that many small designers are actually behind it. They say Japan and Europe have similar laws. What is the thinking behind this – because I’m sure that these countries don’t implement it in the way the US will and it seems that even though small designers are the ones being ripped off the most, they would be the first ones to be unable to afford these new measures.

  13. Elizabeth T says:


    I signed the petition, but I think it will be best if the title on the petition is corrected from “Piracy Probation” to “Piracy Prohibition.” Also, there’s a sentence that says something like “monopolists can only dream” of doing fashion, when what was meant was “only monopolists can dream” of it. Otherwise it looks great. I don’t know who can change the text – if anyone, now that it has so many signatories – but that would help.

  14. Heather says:

    Hi Kathleen
    I just spoke to Eric Garduno on the House Judiciary Committee. He seemed interested in talking to me and said it is helpful to have the comments written. His e-mail is
    I told him of our group and the large opposition and he said to please mail in your comments!

  15. Fresia says:

    Has anyone seen much about this in the press? i want to send this to some editors I know in DC. once people read more about this in layman’s terms, they can see how ridiculous the bill is.

  16. Susie says:

    I signed and I hope every other DE & Non-DE will sign it too. Kathleen, when will we know the result if the bill is indeed passed?

    Terra: I was also surprised to see a lot of small designers are behind this law. Not sure why tho. I do have a thought – do they not understand the legal meaning behind this act? I remember reading a small indie designer comment re this (forgot where sorry) saying you do not need to trademark anything but just have proof of it – and that is completely wrong. ‘

    And thank you Kathleen for all the valuable information you provided!

  17. Mike C says:

    I wrote our congressman for information on his position as well as some comments about how passage of this law may impact us.

  18. Robert says:

    In partial answer to “I have over 5,000 daily visitors and I only got 300 signatures on my petition?”

    Some of us are neither US citizens nor residents and thus feel a reluctance to interfere directly with your legislative process. Doing so would probably taint any opposition, I suspect.

    Working in a different industry entirely also doesn’t help. You’ve provided a different perspective even though many articles are not of direct interest.

  19. Lorraine says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    Thank you for keeping us all informed. Humberto and I signed the petition and we passed on the information to the apparel companies and contractors we work with.

  20. Oriole says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    Just thought you may not have got as many people signing the petition as we all want because it was hard to find after a week or two. I had told lots of people but they couldn’t find it on your site. A link in the side bar would have been perfect.

  21. Miss Jess H. says:

    I submitted this entry to BoingBoing yesterday and they featured it early this morning! Let’s hope this helps spread to word to a larger audience! I’ve also been posting this all over my side of the internet, every social networking site I belong to, artist/portfolio site, etc…. We just need to keep pushing.

  22. FABCUTTA says:

    UNFREAKIN’ BELIEVABLE! I’m new your site and just blowed away by what I’ve read. As a home sewer and someone trying to make a living creating things, I can’t believe that our law makers would spend anytime on the ridiculousness. As someone just remarked, children are hungry because most of their parents don’t have jobs. People are losing their homes and retirement savings, do they really want a law that protects people who don’t need it. People whom I might add made their money doing what we are trying to do, MAKE THINGS! I say this needs to be on the news everyday. Regular folks don’t know and won’t be happy that our elected officals are spending time on this. DEATH TO THIS BILL!!!

  23. Camille says:

    This subject from the beginning has rendered me speechless (from a ‘direct’ petition context way), but what comes to mind is an observation of mankind and how little we are to think that we are so large as to originate and own every iota of creative thinking, construct, manifestation, without its having been influenced, inspired, or mimicked by something else. At the very least, if we were to believe in Akashic records type energy, all of us who are thoroughly involved in what we love often tap into that unknown thing. If it supports us (on many levels) we are so lucky, if it supports others (on many levels) maybe they too are lucky, and we lucky multi-fold. Isn’t that what makes the world go round. How finite can a bill truly be to fit all things and circumstances to ultimately wield itself so cumbersome and obnoxious a thing that it will implode leaving us all naked. (This bill is like tracing back on who begat who though to original sin…) My vent may not bring anything to the table. Maybe I should have remained speechless. Except for this:

    Kathleen, FI is an educational & professional asset and should remain on the web for this at the very least / and at the very utmost. In cases like these; Your voice is the foghorn, the town crier who alerts and informs. There are many things that I have learned, re-learned, and sometimes been reinforced by, from your wealth of experience and diligence in this field of apparel design. You keep us on the very tips of our toes.

  24. kathleen says:

    FI is an educational & professional asset and should remain on the web for this at the very least / and at the very utmost…. There are many things that I have learned, re-learned, and sometimes been reinforced by, from your wealth of experience and diligence in this field of apparel design. You keep us on the very tips of our toes.

    The problem is, I have to make a living. I don’t say this resentfully but it is a matter of simple observation that I’m not compensated. I can’t make a living being a professional education asset. I don’t draw a salary. I make my living on book sales. Since I started writing about cpsia, book sales are down 30%. If I had a brain in my head, I would never mention cpsia because I lose. Insult to injury I’m heavily criticised by people who don’t like the reality AND who don’t buy my book so I lose two ways. Yeah me. So, as a professional educational asset, the community wins but I don’t. When I write about the piracy act, sales all but stop. Obviously if I only cared about my income, I’d keep my trap shut. Still, something is going to have to give very soon.

    If I go under -and I will be first, the canary in the coal mine- at least it will be with my integrity intact. I suppose people will have to mine someone else who will put all this out there for nothing like I do but you already know there isn’t anyone else.

    At this point, I’m considering suspending operations for three days a week. F-I takes up 80% of my time and provides 20% of my revenue.

  25. penelopeelse says:

    I emailed my tuppence-worth…

    Dear Mr Giordano

    Please do not allow this bill to be passed. It may make some moral sense, but you must know we live in reality, not theory. Many a law has proved disastrous because no-one has thought through the various ways people will react against it, creep around it or exploit it.

    The lawmakers need instead to think of what they want to achieve (more innovation, more business, more income) and create the environment for that to flourish such that the thing they worry about ceases to be significant – not seek to protect by clamping down.

    If this bill is passed, you will be creating an environment of litigious paranoia and expense that will kill everything in fashion bar the lawyers.

    Best wishes


  26. Cindy says:

    I am not a designer or in the fashion industry. I dont even sew much. This place is a wealth of information and does make me a better consumer I believe. Petition signed.

    Thank you for this wonderful site.

  27. Tonya says:

    I’ve signed the petition and emailed my legislators about it.

    We need a major online campaign to stop this. Does anyone have a contact at who could publisize this? That is the #1 place to find a large body of DE’s. Also the craft mafia’s.

    I just went to OpenCongress and it references the bill as “hot” and there are 3 recent posts from Try Handmade, The Swelle Life, and some other online site. It looks like the buzz is building.

  28. Tonya says:

    More ideas. I’m going to email the plus-size community contacts that I have because they are a major underserved market that benefits from small, indie designers. They have a vested interest in seeing them protected against this bill.

    I encourage anyone who can think of other consumer groups that benefit from the little guys being around to start contacting them as well.

    To Kathleen – you are needed, wanted, and valued by the DE community. Please don’t go! Tell us/me more about how we can help keep you going.

  29. Laurie M says:

    I wrote out a letter and mailed it to my representative. I’ll be passing this along to my ASG chapter, as I am the webmaster. I am just a home hobby sewist.

  30. Nina says:

    Okay, guys, I hate to do this, but…this may not be that bad.

    Here are the good parts:

    § 1309. Infringement
    (e) Infringing Article Defined.
    . . .
    (3) FASHION DESIGN- In the case of a fashion design, a design shall not be deemed to have been copied from a protected design if it is original and not closely and substantially similar in overall visual appearance to a protected design, if it merely reflects a trend, or if it is the result of independent creation. . . .

    § 1310. Application for registration
    (a) Time Limit for Application for Registration.
    . . .
    (2) FASHION DESIGN- In the case of a fashion design, protection under this chapter shall be lost if application for registration of the design is not made within 6 months after the date on which the design is first made public by the designer or owner in the United States or a foreign country.

    IMHO, it will be hard to get a copyright approved:
    you can’t copy things that are “not original”; and
    you can’t copyright things that are “commonplace,” ie. “standard, common, prevalent, or ordinary.”

    Most applications would be denied right there.

  31. Gidget says:

    Nina, the problem is can I, and any contractors I deal with, remember what’s in their closet much less what might be made available via a govt. designated search engine of designs.

    To remain legal will require resources of at least a ‘legal aided human design search’. Are any of us willing (more often, able) to hire a LAHD dog (best case scenario) to do this for us while we prototype new designs? And the scariest is, to at least keep the look of being legal, how many are going to just ‘reflect the trend’. Kind of kills creative thinking or at least sits on it! Rather smells from this end.

  32. Susanne says:


    I was just reading comments about this issue at PR and the thread has apparently been shut down by the moderator. What a pity. The comments were just getting interesting and anyone who was offended by political discussions would not make it past the first page of the thread. Thank you for bringing it to our attention in a manner other than “we’re saving the artists of fashion from rip offs!”

    I’ll take a look at the bill and your petition as soon as I free up. Although, after the stink I made about the bailouts, I think my Congressperson is round filing my emails, but I will send a note off to the head of the Judiciary Committee.

    I have some experience with patents – my husband owns 33 that I administer for him. He is also a world class photographer – and I am a veteran of copyright, trademark and patent legal battles, even one in which we represented ourselves when the National Parks Service “lifted” in their own words “photographs” out of one of our copyrighted books.

    My early experience, circa 1980’s with the process was that the Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) was sincere in their issuance of patents, etc., but something happened during the mid-1990’s – many articles I read blamed it on the dot com and the boom of new art – and patents started being more or less rubber stamped by the patent office, as long as they were well-written. The most famous of these was the 5 year old child who was issued a patent on the process of swinging on a swing. Another was the chemistry of boiling an egg. These are real cases. The role of the PTO became more or less that of a tax collector.

    There are various fees collected through the patent, trademark and copyright filing process, then maintenance fees paid to keep them active over time. The Director of the PTO laid down a policy to leave the issue of validity to the Courts. I remember him being quoted in an LA Times article about the litigation surrounding the process of purchasing online as saying that there are shisters out there and his best advice is to hire a lawyer.

    The shisters are those who farm patents, file them on existing products with the purpose of leveraging license fees out of legitimate commercial enterprises. We successfully defended ourselves against one of these, but I know of 18 companies that are paying. I can see a new department of fashion design registration creating a hey day for this sort of activity.

    So here’s my impression from the bits I’ve read here – and I thank you, Kathleen, for bringing this to our attention – and please anyone let me know if I’m wrong about my interpretation that is expanded upon by my experience with the the IP world.

    1. Laws already exist that protect designers insofar as they have something to protect.
    2. A process of registration already exists for specific designs – copyright.
    3. A process of registration already exists for labels – trademarks.
    4. A process of registration already exists if new materials or for use of materials, or construction techniques that are new and novel – patents.
    5. A new level of registration specific to fashion would create a new division of the Department of Commerce. — Well, that might create government job opportunities for graduates of fashion school.
    6. 99.9% of fashion design is an interpretation of something that has been developed in the past, so very little of what is registered will be novel, but it will generate revenues for the Department of Commerce – Maybe a reason the law will pass.
    7. The registration process may bring about a new level of shisters, who register designs with the purpose of extorting from mid-level designers. The high profile design houses will fight. The start up and small volume houses will capitulate. Patent litigation in the US costs somewhere around $500,000, if you are lucky. The mid-level design houses will not be able to afford the fight, but the mid level design houses have too much to lose – their livelihood – not to pay.

    It will hurt the fashion industry, but may give the government a new revenue source from just about every garment made. It may pass, but it won’t be good.

    Having not read the bill as of yet, I do not know if it has any provisions that chill the sort of abuse that has been happening in IP legal business, but I think that I agree with you, and only thought about its importance after you called it to our attention.

  33. Kathleen says:

    I have tried three different links to sign the petition, but all say that the website cannot be found. I will try later, but thought you should know of the problem.

  34. Kathleen says:

    This is other Kathleen. I called the petition company and they’re experiencing technical difficulties (the whole site is down, not just our petition). The receptionist couldn’t be more specific but says the problem could be resolved within a couple of hours. Or maybe a couple of days. Like I said, she couldn’t say.

  35. PrutsPrinses says:

    Please let us know when we can sign the petition again!
    I love your blog, I’m not a designer just a girl who thinks more about sewing than she actually does :D But I think everything here is so interesting, I like the insight in the fashion industry and I want to help you indie designers to stay alive!

  36. Malissa says:

    I’ve mailed all my yahoo! Groups, posted on thread banger and burda style I’ve had several people contact me saying they can’t sign the petition. I tell them that’s ok as long as your able to do the other things.

  37. Carlin says:

    Hey there,

    I covered this about a month ago after I saw an article on your site. I feel for you! Threadbanger will be affected as well. I believe all of the DIY and indie designer community should collaborate to get this overturned. You are not losing your career! NO WAY! Here’s what we wrote and what our community thinks:

    Let’s keep all this info circulating!

  38. Jen says:

    Thank you so much for all the info in this post! I have been reading about this for a while but didn’t realize until a few weeks ago how ugly it had gotten. I kept thinking this was about shutting down pure copy-houses like Forever 21. But it’s about so many more things it seems, not the least of which is destroying competition in yet another corner of the marketplace.

  39. Alison says:

    I’m in the UK & have only just been reading this today, so I’m not quite to grips with it. (Also, agree with Robert above, not all your site visitors are from the US and would therefore be reluctant to sign a petition on US legislation).

    Do the US equivalent of our high street retailers not have some clout on this? As surely they’re directly affected. For instance UK stores like TopShop are very designer ‘inspired’ – I can’t see them allowing themselves to be held to ransom by a designer if the UK passed a similar law.

    Interesting to know how it would affect imports. I’m assuming non US companies won’t have to comply with this if selling in the US?

    It seems to be utterly nonsensical, insane and unworkable. I sincerely hope it goes the way of the shredder.

  40. Kiki says:

    Will there be a dedicated section of the forum (even a dedicated thread?) to discuss our grassroots efforts at education on this issue? I can start one, but thought I’d check to see if you had planned to do it a certain way Kathleen.

  41. Glenda says:

    I tuly believe that clothing lines are not all individual ideas but the improvement of some ideas, not always the original idea. Many with great potential never get the training as the Big deisigners do and go to the homebased dressmakers business, where even when usuing a commercial patter it becomes the wearers design when fitted and the costumer who adds the adjustment or another unique idea making it original. I have seen many of what I consider MINE walking down the stret but I only make one of a kind so if you start making in mass production it really is not YOURs.

  42. nicole says:

    What would be another great idea, would be to send the first lady Michelle Obama an email regarding this issue. In Jessica’s comment to the congressman above (The president of CFDA herself DVF has been caught red handed) she listed a link to the story that was written.The story mentions that DVF and other favorite designers of the First Lady made their way to capital hill to speak on this issue.

    So my point is, let the First Lady know what her favorite clothing designers are doing. Let her know that these same designers who are trying to pass this law, are the same people guilty of copycatting. Any, and everything is worth the try.

    To contact the First Lady Michelle Obama, visit the White House Website, there is a link that will let you leave Mrs. Obama an email message. If possible foward Mrs. Obama the link so that she may read the story herself.

  43. Kathy says:

    I appreciate very much what you’re doing here, and have signed the petition. We will certainly see yet another US industry driven overseas if this bill passes, since it has no power over designers and pattern makers outside the US.

    One other little thing. As an editor, I can’t help but notice a spelling error of importance in your petition. I would like gently to suggest that before submitting it to the House committee, you might want to correct the spelling of Prohibition. There is no “a”.

    Way to get the word out!! Very glad to be a part of it.

  44. Kathleen says:

    Hi Kathy, I’m so glad you left that comment! The petition site has been down for maybe two weeks now. I’d given up on it so I didn’t know it was up again. I knew the site was live tho because I’d asked the admin to correct a spelling mistake and they flubbed it substituting an “a”. So, I knew you’d seen the site recently. THANKS!

  45. Jess says:

    I just received an interesting phone call from my House Rep. – Congressman Brad Ellsworth (IN) – I wrote him a very heartfelt and passionate letter opposing the DPPA, and he actually read my letter, and cared enough to have his personal assistant call me back about it. He says that it has not passed the House Judiciary Committee yet, so he has no way to affect the outcome at this point – however, he understands my position as a small business/design business here in Indiana, and wants me to know that if the bill does pass to the House, he will keep my position in mind when he votes. SO. That’s heartening that someone IS listening! I guess we just need to keep writing letters and making phone calls – people ARE listening! They also left me their phone number to call back if I have any additional questions or concerns. Hope? Yes.

  46. Susanne says:


    Can you post your letter so the rest of us can use it as a form to be individually personalized. If it got you a response, maybe it will work for others.

  47. leila shams says:

    Hi there, I worked in the corporate fashion world for years and believe the current system is already working. Basically big companies are scared spitless of being sued by anybody, from Louis Vuitton to a tiny indie brand, even Forever 21 is scared now. You might think they don’t care about knocking off the little guy, but the threat of a lawsuit coupled with bad publicity has them terrified. So most companies are now making sure their inspiration is not obvious and are copyrighting their original prints. Of course this copyrighting business is very time consuming and expensive, small brands will not want to do it. Trust me, it’s a nuisance for big companies too. But even without a copyright, under the current law if you create a print or artwork or lace layout that is exactly like someone else’s you can get sued. I have only seen a lawsuit succeed when both the body and the print, logo, or pattern is exactly the same. And I think this is fair. If you’ve seen the Foley and Corinna stuff knocked off by Forever 21 you know what I mean. Big companies generally don’t care to sue a small brand unless they’re knocking off the big brand’s identity. I see this legislation more as the high end runway people (CFDA) protecting themselves from the Forever 21s and H&Ms of the world. And I think the current notion, that it has to be an exact replica of the artwork coupled with the styling, where there is 0% doubt that the design has been stolen, is the only fair way to go. I really really don’t think they should pass this law, it’s causes agita for designers on both ends of the spectrum.

  48. Karin says:

    If I’m not wrong, Coco Chanel herself embraced ready to wear copies of her clothes. She regarded them as the best commercials for her designs, and realised that the people who bought her clothes would buy them anyway since the quality and fit was so much better then in the copies, and that the people who bought the copies still couldn’t affort the original. So for her it was a win-situation.
    Quite clever, wasn’t it? Things are rarely as simple as them seem at first glance, I wish the american politicians will realise that.
    And it would be a sad, sad bi-effect if fashion incubator disappeared, it would break my heart.
    Good luck with the campaign!

  49. kathleen says:

    Miranda (and anyone else following this discussion) I wasn’t ignoring you but was waiting for the opportunity to be able to post an announcement. Expect news very soon.

  50. Paul V says:

    Using a popular phrase, ‘this is only the tip of the iceberg’. Recently there have been laws proposed in Congress that would make it illegal for anyone to resell something they bought because it would violate the original copyright or trademark holders rights. In addition, Hollywood moguls are trying to prosecute a British blogger that had links in his blog that could take anyone to sites where they could watch a movie for free. Not download it necessarily, but just watch it.

    When Americans talk about corruption in foreign countries, they just have to look to Washington, DC to see the worst corruption of a legislative body anywhere in the world. In the Defense Authorization Act of 2011, Congress made it legal for the military to arrest American citizens and detain them without charges or trial indefinitely based solely upon suspicions of promoting or defending anyone accused of an act defined as terrorism. So if someone where accused and you defended them the military could arrest you and detain you anywhere they chose, including detention in a foreign country. What congressman or senator could propose such an article of a bill knowing full well that it violates the Constitution and known common law. Worse, how could a sitting president sign such a bill into law? Taking the oath to uphold the Constitution has become a joke in Washington. This extends to the internet, to the way you communicate, and to Facebook where people put all the data about their lives and their pictures, which becomes part of the NSA database for facial recognition. Some will say there are honest people in Washington, but you don’t hear many speaking out against the corruption. If they don’t speak out, then they are part of the problem too.

    When you talk about design copyrights you should consider what Monsanto has done with native varieties of rice from S.E. Asia. Monsanto has patented varieties that have existed for hundreds of years in an attempt to prevent the free distribution of seed and they are getting away with it. It all started with the patent of Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready soybeans. The seed can only be sold by Monsanto but the DNA doesn’t remain in one field. The pollen gets spread by bees and other insects into adjoining fields contaminating non patented seed. Monsanto can then claim the other varieties as patented because the patented DNA can be found in the other seed. There was a lawsuit filed that went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court sided with Monsanto. Three of the justices and well as the US Attorney General all had ties to Monsanto. Eventually, all varieties of soybeans will be contaminated and Monsanto will have absolute control over the market. This is where we are heading. The few and the most influential will have control over everything we do. Brave New World is here.

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