Role of Copyright in Fashion Law
By Nemi Bhavsar
Fashion is an enormous industry from design to production to retail and everything in between. Fashion is never going away whether it be digital stores or instagram, there's always going to be fashion, people are gonna buy clothes and there will always be cases where someone is copying a good idea.If we don't have copyright protections then it opens up to complete theft of our ideas, of our creativity, of our business model.Your creativity, your designs are coming from within you and they deserve protection.Intellectual property is the basis for protecting your concept and your idea, regardless of whether you're in fashion or in any other industry. Intellectual property is the body of law that protects the creative process. It is simply an intangible property. Intellectual property impacts every aspect of what a fashion company does, beginning with way of products get designed, because nothing gets designed in a vacuum.
Intellectual property law basically is a mix of copyright, trademark and patents. Let's talk about the role of copyright in fashion law.
The court stated that the copyright wouldn't protect the cut of the apparel but would protect the designs.Fashion design which is an original artistic work and hence not capable of being registered as design under the Designs Act, 2000 will get copyright protection in the form of copyright in original artistic work under the Copyright Act, 1957.
A copyright is nothing more, nothing less than the right to copy. It literally means the right to copy but has come to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work. Copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.
It is the way to protect your intellectual property and if someone is copying you or distributing or modifying an original piece of work, you can pursue legal action against them and if someone takes work and modifies it but original creativity is quite discernible and quite prevalent, this can also be a grounds for you to go after and protect your copyright.It is designed to encourage more artistic creation and expression by giving creators control over what they create.The moment you put pen to paper to draw or put your unique ideas into your work, you have a copyright in that.
There have been complaints from the fashion designers about their work being copied and the design piracy is taking place. There has been an ongoing debate for the protection in the fashion industry for copyright protection against piracy. As piracy is been done in a huge number the fashion designers should take a step forward to use copyright protection where their designs can still be exclusive and no one can copy or sell the designs without the respective permission.Copyright doesn't protect, for example, the cut of a blouse because it has two arms and buttons.
For example, Sabyasachi's lehenga dress is itself not protectable, but the design of that lehenga is protectable.
If anyone copy your designs without your permission or to borrow extremely heavily from it in ways that are quite discernible that they would be infringing on your copyright, its also important to keep a record of the research and development of the piece your work whether it's the iterations, drafts, mood board inspiration, tech packs, the more data and the more actual information you have that support the original creation of this original piece of content, the better your chances are of protecting and solidifying your copyright.
Well copyright doesn't need to be registered, it is implicitly implied once you create and share a piece and if you are creating the original work, you will automatically receive copyright protection but in case, if something happens, now you have the copyright protection law.
In India, design registration is valid for 10 years and +5 years additional protection (application for renewal).
The design act can give protection only to the registered designs. The fashion designers who have not registered their respective designs would not be able to take advantage of this act.They cannot file a suit for the recovery of damages for unauthorized copying of their designs and an injunction against the repetition thereof.