Friday, April 17, 2009
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Earlier in the semester, we read and discussed arguments over whether fashion is copyrightable. While fashion currently is not (and should not be, in my opinion), logos and the like upon clothing can be trademarked, and in turn can be enforced through copyright law. This is clear on Gucci, Fendi, Dior and Louis Vuitton products, among others, and explains why they can pursue legal action upon illegal street vendors on Canal Street -- who tend to alter the trademarked logos intentionally.
A friend of mine is starting a fashion line very soon, but logistically, his plans are still in the works. I was talking to him recently and, amid this discussion, he mentioned that he's "all set" and is going to head to the copyright office within the next few weeks to copyright the design for his shirts. I asked him what he meant by that, and he clarified that he wanted to place a copyright on his t-shirt logo. I informed him that he actually cannot copyright any kind of design or logo, but if it is a logo that he'd like intellectual property over, he could seek to attain a trademark for it. I then had to explain the nuances of each of the different types of intellectual property, until he understood why he couldn't just copyright the logo that he made. On the one hand, it was good since it showed me that I really understood what we learned in class this semester. On the other hand, it also demonstrated that people -- just the public in general -- really needs to be educated on matters of intellectual property, beyond just fashion but mainly when it comes to music and issues of "piracy." If people only knew more about all of this...I think there would be plenty more of us leaning towards the copyleft.
Just as Lessig practices what he preaches by providing free downloads of his books, I appreciate when I go to concerts and musicians - who are realistic about how people acquire music today - promote downloads of their music, and only ask that you purchase a t-shirt or CD if you (a) have the money and (b) if you'd like to. Before I started college and internships and 2nd jobs and had zero time during the school year, I used to go to concerts ALL the time. Even then, I found musicians who promoted free downloads to not only be realistic and well, nice, but I saw them as smart. I for one would not know about so many bands, had I not downloaded their music first. And for the ones I liked, I'd go out and spend my own money on their CD(s). People really just want to sample music beyond the standard iTunes 30 seconds. More artists are acknowledging this -- I just wish that large record companies would too.
Over the last 6 months, I interned for a large beauty company that's over 100 years old and makes billions of dollars in revenue. While I didn't work in the legal department, I know that, like every other large corporation, this company had intellectual property lawyers. I found this interesting for a few reasons. First of all, I think it's great that this company can patent its state-of-the-art skincare technologies (i.e. in the age-defying field) since they are really special and provide a competitive edge for just 20 years. However I wonder what other IP rights a makeup company would like to pursue. Would it try to retain IP rights over its packaging? Color combinations for makeup? What about logos? I was never able to ask, but it's interesting, since IP certainly could serve dual purposes here. In the case of beauty technologies, though, I think it's great that companies can patent their innovative finds.
I cannot for the life of me find this commercial on YouTube, though I can find every other Macy's commercial from the past few months there. Anyway, as Macy's gears up for the holiday season, every channel has been inundated with all kinds of Macy's holiday commercials. Beyond the holidays was Macy's celebration of its 150th Anniversary. Of these ads, the one that I found most interesting/significant was one that discussed how Macy's acquired its Red Star trademark. It's a very simple and kind of funny story, but one that ultimately describes how a simple symbol is now Macy's intellectual property. Macy's founder had a tattoo of the red star, liked it, and voila - it became Macy's trademark. Not only was it on its founder perpetually, but now Macy's as an institution can hold it hostage for as long as it wants to as well!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I just came across this and thought it was really interesting, very well done. I bet it would work in some way. seriously, check it out: guilt tripping pirates.
I figure it would have to work to some extent. Maybe I'd still use the code, but go out and buy it eventually. It reminds of me the In Rainbows CD by Radiohead, using the message: hey, we're the good guys. you guys can have it for free, but if you appreciate us and our work, pitch in.
not a terrible idea.