Legislative Hearing on the Innovative Design Protection & Piracy Prevention Act - Hearing Memorandum and Testimony

Hearing Memorandum:

July 13, 2011 Memorandum Regarding the Subcommittee hearing on H.R. ____, the "Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act": Friday, July 15, 2011, at 10:00 am in 2141 Rayburn HOB.

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Testimony/Statements/Comments before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet - Legislative Hearing on the Innovative Design Protection & Piracy Prevention Act:

Lazaro Hernandez, designer, Proenza Schouler:

Good morning Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Watt and other Members of the Subcommittee. I am pleased to be here today to testify in support of the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prohibition Act, or ID3PA, on behalf of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). CFDA is a leading trade organization representing the American fashion industry.  Our members are prominent household names and primarily up and coming talent. The vast majority - over 85% - are small businesses. These small businesses are creating jobs across the country as fashion has grown to a $340 billion industry in the U.S.  The CFDA also counts among its fashion constituents publishing, communications, retail, manufacturers and production whose success is contingent on the success of designers. ...

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Jeannie Suk, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School:

Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Watt, and Members of the Subcommittee, I am Jeannie Suk, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.  Thank you for this opportunity to testify about the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act ("IDPPPA").  My remarks draw on my ongoing research with Professor Scott Hemphill of Columbia Law School on law and innovation in the fashion industry.   Along with my testimony, I submit our Stanford Law Review article, The Law, Culture and Economics of Fashion.  We have also written on the Act's predecessors: two iterations of the Design Piracy Prohibition Act,  and the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act introduced in the Senate last Term.   I submit one these articles, published in the Wall Street Journal. ...

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Professor Christopher Sprigman, University of Virginia School of Law  / Professor Kal Raustiala, University of California at Los Angeles School of Law:

As law professors who have studied innovation and competition in the fashion industry, we write in opposition to the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (IDPPPA), which, if passed, would for the first time in American history extend copyright protections to fashion designs.

The IDPPPA limits the scope of potential liability to garments that are "substantially identical" to original garments protected under the Act. That is a narrower standard than has been proposed in previous bills. We nonetheless think that, on balance, the IDPPPA represents bad policy and may ultimately prove more harmful than helpful. ...

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Kurt Courtney, on behalf of the American Apparel & Footwear Association:

Mr. Chairman, in 2006, you introduced the Design Piracy Prohibition Act (DPPA), which sought to offer new copyright protection for original fashion designs.  As AAFA's legal team evaluated the bill, we wholeheartedly understood the narrow problem the legislation was trying to solve.  But we fundamentally disagreed with its overly broad definitions, which industry experts and legal counsel feared would have opened a Pandora's box of litigation that would have been detrimental to the industry. 

At that time, Mr. Chairman, we expressed these concerns to you and you challenged us to help develop a more targeted bill to protect original fashion designs and not increase the prevalence of lawsuits in our industry. 

So we went to work.  In conjunction with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), we worked with your office and New York Senator Chuck Schumer to develop the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act.  This legislation represents a targeted approach that will solve this narrow design piracy problem without exposing any innocent actor in the fashion industry to confusing rules and frivolous legal claims. ...

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