U.S. lawmakers are considering legislation to protect fashion brands from knockoffs, but some believe the proposed rules would hurt both the industry and consumers, RetailWire reports. Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-NY), the bill's sponsor, says the U.S. fashion industry is being hurt by knockoffs. He also says the U.S. is at a disadvantage compared with Europe, where laws protect registered designs for up to 25 years. "Unfortunately our local industry is at a severe disadvantage because greater protections are afforded to designs made overseas than in New York or the United States," Schumer says. "Unregulated, high end knockoffs are hurting the integrity of this industry."
But others disagree with the senator. "The industry is actually working very well today, and there is no compelling reason to change," Kal Raustiala, a law professor at the University of California, says. "The point of copyright laws is to ensure that copying doesn't kill creativity. In fashion, we have long seen copying coexist with creativity. Indeed, copying often fosters creativity." Some fashion designers in recent years have been pushing for more protection after seeing their designs quickly replicated by H&M, Zara, Forever 21 and others. The proposed law, which has bipartisan support, would protect unique designs for three years.
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