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Suk and Hemphill Plagiarism Chart

July 15, 2011

This chart contains a number of the main arguments that Jeannie Suk and Scott Hemphill plagiarized from fashion copyright crusader Susan Scafidi. This chart is necessarily incomplete, since I only noticed the mention of Suk’s testifying before Congress the day before it was scheduled to take place. Time permitting I may provide additional examples and citations. Please submit any suggestions to me at

References for the abbreviated cites are at the end of the cart. I hope this account of copying by Jeannie Suk, who testified before Congress against copying in fashion, finally puts an end to the misguided fashion copyright bill.

Scafidi

Suk and Hemphill

Harm: primarily to “emerging designers”; established firms are more secure legally and financially (e.g., Statement, 3)

Harm: “[a]s we explain,” primarily to “emerging designers”; established firms more secure legally and financially (Article 1153, 1177; WSJ; Suk, 5)

Solution: “tailored protection” for the fashion industry (Testimony; see also Statement, 1, 2, 9)

Solution: “tailored protection” for the fashion industry (Article, 1184-85; Suk, 10)

Theoretical basis: cultural analysis; argues that understanding “the culture of the copy” is necessary to go beyond limits of law and economics (See, e.g., Abstract, 1; CC; Statement, 4-6)

Theoretical basis: Claim to be the first to analyze copying through cultural analysis, allegedly their “new” method of crossing boundaries with law & economics (Article 1154-1155)

Cultural model examines “human impulses and values” (Abstract, 1)

Cultural model examines “human desires” (Article, 1155)

Fashion not just a means of marking elite status, but an expression of “symbolic thinking” (Statement, 3-4; Syracuse, 75)

Fashion is not just a means of marking elite status, but “has a symbolic function” (Article, 1158-59)

Divides cultural analysis of close copying and trends into two categories: mimesis (imitation) and metamorphosis (creative transformation) (Abstract, 1; CC)

Divides cultural analysis of close copying and trends into two categories: differentiation (“imitation”) and differentiation (the “creative impulse”) (Article, 1164, 1166)

Traditional art/craft distinction applied to fashion is incorrect; “fashion design is a creative medium that is not driven solely by utility or function” (Statement, 3)

Dismissal of fashion as art is invalid; fashion “is undeniably a creative good that has expressive feature” (Article, 1163)

Proposal: standard restricting “closely and substantially similar copies,” differentiating trends from “too literal copies” (Statement, 9; Abstract, 1)

Proposal: standard restricting “close” copies, differentiating trends from “closely” copied originals (Article, 1153, 1160)

Legal protection would promote innovation by providing an incentive to avoid close copying (e.g., Statement, 9-10)

Legal protection would promote innovation by providing an incentive to avoid close copying (Article, 1155, 1193-94)

Copying not new. What has changed is the proliferation of cheap copies due to new technology and “the new challenge of fast fashion” (See, e.g., Testimony; Statement, 5-6; http://about.counterfeitchic.com/)

“We explain what is new about fast fashion;” what has changed is scale of copying due to new technology (Article, 117-71)

The “dismantling” of import quotas has produced a shift in the locus of low-cost production (Statement, 6)

“Dismantled quotas” have caused a shift in the locus of low-cost production (Article, 1171)

“Knockoff artists … target creative designers’ most successful models,” skipping the costly process of developing new products (Statement, 7)

“Fashion copyists, by contrast, are selective … only the most profitable designs are copied,” which discourages incurring the expense of innovation (Article, 1175)

Proliferation of literal, line-for-line copies results in loss of orders and diminished market for original design (See, e.g., Testimony)

Proliferation of close copies results in loss of orders and reduced demand for original design (Article, 1176)

“Distortion” of design and law created by lack of copyright protection for fashion design (Statement, 3, 10)

“Distortion” of design and law created by lack of copyright protection for fashion design (Article, 1176-80)

Legislative alternative preferable to judicially interpreted conceptual separability standard in fashion copyright (Statement, 2)

Statutory alternative more efficient than judicially interpreted conceptual separability standard in fashion copyright (Article, 1185-86)

Self-regulation within the fashion industry is another potentially effective strategy (Abstract, 3)

Self-regulation within the fashion industry is another potentially effective strategy (Article, 1193)

“Narrowly tailored” legislative standard is consistent with industry-tailored standards generally favored by low-IP advocates (Testimony; Statement, 9)

Claim to have originated idea of a “narrowly tailored” standard that would be consistent with industry-tailored standards generally favored by low-IP advocates (Article, 1184-85)

Argues for a new IP approach based on recognizing optimal levels of copying and differentiating close copying from trends (See, e.g., Abstract, conclusion)

Argues for a new IP approach based on recognizing optimal levels of copying and differentiating close copying from remixes and trends (Article, conclusion)

IDPPPA benefits “emerging designers,” is “not about the $3000 dress but the $300 dress” (Panel)

Bill benefits “emerging designers,” “a designer’s dress that retails for $300 instead of $3000″ (Suk, 5)

IDPPPA “would increase affordable fashion choices” (Tribune)

Bill “would increase consumers’ choice of designs” “at lower price point” (Suk, 6-7, 10)

(Besides the above listed items, a number of ideas in Suk and Hemphill can also be found in Scafidi’s book chapter on Intellectual Property and Fashion Design

References: Scafidi

References: Suk & Hemphill

Abstract: Counterfeit Chic: The Culture of the Copy in an Outlaw Medium

Article: The Law, Economics and Culture of Fashion

CC: Counterfeit Chic (blog; linked)

Suk: IDPPPA testimony (July 15, 2011)

Panel: IDPPPA panel, Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School (2010)

WSJ: Schumer’s Project Runway

Syracuse: F.I.T.: Fashion as Information Technology

Statement & Testimony: HR 5055 hearing available here (July 27, 2006)

Tribune: Rodriguez & Scafidi, Knock it off! Quashing design pirates

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