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Old 08-10-2011, 03:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Are all RL fashion designers copybotters?!

Just stumbled about this interesting talk, which deals with fashion and copying (which again is a daily PITA for us SL designers):

Johanna Blakley: Lessons from fashion's free culture | Video on TED.com

Quote from the transcript:
Quote:
I heard this amazing story about Miuccia Prada. She's an Italian fashion designer. She goes to this vintage store in Paris with a friend of hers. She's rooting around. She finds this one jacket by Balenciaga. She loves it. She's turning it inside out. She's looking at the seams. She's looking at the construction. Her friend says, "Buy it already." She said, "I'll buy it, but I'm also going to replicate it." Now, the academics in this audience may think, "Well, that sounds like plagiarism." But to a fashionista what it really is is a sign Prada's genius, that she can root through the history of fashion and pick the one jacket that doesn't need to be changed by one iota, and to be current and to be now.
You might also be asking whether it's possible that this is illegal for her to do this. Well, it turns out that it's actually not illegal. In the fashion industry there's very little intellectual property protection. They have trademark protection, but no copyright protection, and no patent protection to speak of. All they have really is trademark protection. And so it means that anybody could copy any garment on any person in this room and sell it as their own design. The only thing that they can't copy is the actual trademark label within that piece of apparel. […continue…]
Discuss.
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Old 08-10-2011, 03:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 08-10-2011, 03:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Nothing is new, not really. There are only so many ways to wrap a piece of cloth around a person. At most, it is ringing minute changes on stuff. I've lived long enough to see the same fashions go in and out 3 or 4 times already.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Haven't we had this discussion before?

Fashion Incubator Ľ Intellectual Property Kathleen Fasanella's IP related posts.

Johanna Blakely's statements are misleading. She seems to think the fashion industry is more unique in the way it works than other industries. Garments are classified as "useful articles," which does mean that the design of a garment itself cannot be copyrighted. There is copyright protection so far as things like fabric prints. Somebody else can make a similar print with a similar look, but they can't simply rip of exactly the same print.
Creative parts of a useful object can be copyright themselves if they can exist independently of the usefulness of the item. Like I said, fabric prints are one example. Another example would be if you had a chair with a carving on the back. You couldn't copyright the chair itself, but you could copyright the carving.

And there is patent protection for clothing items. However, there are very few clothing items that qualify for patent protection because by definition patent protection only applies to something that is new. You can find plenty of patents for things like corsets and shoes if you do a Google patent search-- they're just all old and expired. Recreating historical corsets from old patents is quite popular among corsetiers-- partly out of historical interest, partly for insight how corsets were made during the time when they were regularly worn by most women (and many men, for that matter.) Patents are about methods and technologies. You can't patent something unless it's substantially different than what has existed before. There are only so many ways to cover a human form in fabric, especially if you want the garment to be wearable and remotely practical. Most of them have already been done. There was a particular uproar after one person tried to patent a design for a modesty panel (a panel that goes in the back of a corset underneath the lacing.) She insisted that this was completely her own idea that she'd developed herself, and there's no reason to doubt that she believed that. However, there were other people who had seen a corset in a museum with a modesty panel of the same basic design. Eventually, a patent was located for that modesty panel design-- a patent that had been filed in 1882.
Going back to the chair example, if somebody developed a new method or technology so far as chair design, something functional and substantially different than anything that had been done before, that could qualify for patent protection. But again, there are only so many different ways to make a chair, and lots and lots of different chairs have already been made.

Look at the things she's complaining should be copyrightable because they're "not utilitarian" and "too silly." Platform heels. There is nothing truly original about platform heels. People have been wearing platform shoes and high heels of various sorts for a very, very long time. Impractical shoes aren't exactly new. But if they go on the bottom of your feet and there's any chance at all that you might be able to walk a few steps, it's considered shoes

Listen to the comparisons she's making. She's saying that unlike sculptors and photographers and filmmakers and musicians, fashion designers can sample from all their peers designs. Problem is that on the level we're talking about, so can those other groups. A fashion designer can sample and say "oh, okay, I"m going to put a diagonal zipper in this garment like this other designer did" but a photographer can also say "okay, I'm going to take a picture of a bucket under a tree just like this other photographer did" too. Copyright only protects from direct copying.
Copyright only covers the very specific creation. It doesn't protect ideas or concepts or anything else generalized.

U.S. Copyright Office - Copyright Law: Chapter 1
Quote:
(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.
So while somebody can copyright a photograph, or a song, or a story, they can't copyright the subject matter of the photo, or the feel of the melody, or the plot of the story. A writer can't simply copy a story somebody else has written, but they certainly can use those same ideas to write their own story.

The comparison to SL draws a misleading parallel. Copying in SL doesn't mean making something that looks similar, it means taking the other person's work. A copybot makes an exact duplicate of pixels and information patterns created by one person, so that another person can take that first person's work and use it as their own. That is, obviously, quite impossible to do with a RL garment. The RL fashion industry copying equivalent would be if one person saw something somebody else made, liked it, and decided to make something similar of their own. Not ripping off their textures or their build, but putting hours of their own time, own effort, and own skill into creating a similar item.
If somebody sees a pair of sculpted shoes, and then spends twelve hours modeling a similar pair in blender, they have not ripped off the other person's work-- they've done their own work. It might not be a good idea to try to sell something that looked exactly the same because there would be accusations of copying, but that doesn't change the fact that when somebody puts their own work into something, that's their own work. And even if it looks the same, chances are it's not. While the shoe might look like the other shoe, what are the chances that somebody who models their own version is going to put each and every vertex in exactly the same place? Same look, same idea, and of course ideas are not copyrightable, but not the same item.
Digital copying just can't be compared. Something that's been copybotted has been literally copied in such a way that the only work that went into making the item is the original creator's work-- it is the item that the original creator made. That's not true for RL clothing.
If I look at some Gucci design and then alter a Butterick pattern or do some frankenpatterning to get the same design (or draft a pattern myself,) and choose a similar fabric, no matter how much my garment looks like the Gucci garment, my finished garment will have been made by me.
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If a designer sees a hat another designer made and decides to make their own like it, that's one thing.

If said designer sees this hat and uses a software exploit to rip the item and sell it as their own, that's another issue altogether.
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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When a RL designer "copies" something at least they are using their own skills to make a version of it, regardless of how similar. Copybotters however simply rip off someone else's work...which takes no skill beyond pushing a button lol
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by z0mbina View Post
When a RL designer "copies" something at least they are using their own skills to make a version of it, regardless of how similar. Copybotters however simply rip off someone else's work...which takes no skill beyond pushing a button lol
Though I guess that they probably would make their copies by simply pushing a button in RL as well, if there were such a replicator-like apparatus like in the SF movies
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by eighthdwarf Checchinato View Post
Though I guess that they probably would make their copies by simply pushing a button in RL as well, if there were such a replicator-like apparatus like in the SF movies
haha yeah most likely..didn't they have one of those in Star Trek?
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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When a RL designer "copies" something at least they are using their own skills to make a version of it, regardless of how similar. Copybotters however simply rip off someone else's work...which takes no skill beyond pushing a button lol
What's more when a RL designer makes something they have to use real materials that cost real money. Once they have made their one copy they have to hand it over to manufacturing to make some to sell. This costs more money. Then, once those copies are rolling off the assembly line, they need to pay to ship them to a warehouse and pay to store them in the warehouse then pay to ship them to stores (and they will have had to convince those stores to carry their item).

In SL that whole process is quite nearly free from cost and require no real knowledge or training in creating that is required in real life.

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Old 08-11-2011, 10:46 AM   #11 (permalink)
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It's complicated tho.

WHEN'S A COPY NOT A COPY..? - The Daily Record

It seems some get away with 'copying' and some do not.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:52 AM   #12 (permalink)
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haha yeah most likely..didn't they have one of those in Star Trek?
Er.. they certainly had more than one..

And yet, somehow Garak still had customers..
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:58 AM   #13 (permalink)
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What's more when a RL designer makes something they have to use real materials that cost real money. Once they have made their one copy they have to hand it over to manufacturing to make some to sell. This costs more money. Then, once those copies are rolling off the assembly line, they need to pay to ship them to a warehouse and pay to store them in the warehouse then pay to ship them to stores (and they will have had to convince those stores to carry their item).

In SL that whole process is quite nearly free from cost and require no real knowledge or training in creating that is required in real life.

Tess
That process is also nearly free for the original creator in SL.
The only thing they put in is their time just like in RL. That is what the copybotter saves just like in RL.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:04 AM   #14 (permalink)
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That process is also nearly free for the original creator in SL.
The only thing they put in is their time just like in RL. That is what the copybotter saves just like in RL.
I am not sure what you mean by "that process". To make even one good article of clothing, real or virtual, especially if it needs to appeal to enough folks to make it worth the cost of trying to sell, takes training, skill and materials. All those things take time and money.

Consider this "Project - Elizabethan Doublet" thread for example.

Project - Elizabethan Doublet

Copybotting has the potential to destroy any market it infects.

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Old 08-11-2011, 11:06 AM   #15 (permalink)
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This is what I mean:

RL: The material, the shipping, the processing. All that needs to be done by both the creator and the 'copybotter'.

SL: The uploading, the marketing, the computer use, the electricity bill. All that needs to be done by both the creator and the copybotter.

You argumented the whole process is free in SL. But it also is for the original creator.
The only thing the original creator puts in EXTRA is their time and skill. This goes for both SL and RL.

This doesn't mean just anyone should copy but I was just pointing out that your argument about it being different in SL is that in fact it is not so different at all.

Even though I do not agree with copybotting I think SL creators should be a little more creative with their designs and find ways to make them unique and way more difficult to copy.
Putting up the same dress in 10 different color variations is NOT being creative for example. Make a script that changes the color and a copybotter needs also the skill to do that (small example but many copybotters can't even do that and will choose a more easy target).

Last edited by SimonLeo; 08-11-2011 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:14 AM   #16 (permalink)
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This is what I mean:

RL: The material, the shipping, the processing. All that needs to be done by both the creator and the 'copybotter'.

SL: The uploading, the marketing, the computer use, the electricity bill. All that needs to be done by both the creator and the copybotter.

You argumented the whole process is free in SL. But it also is for the original creator.
The only thing the original creator puts in EXTRA is their time and skill. This goes for both SL and RL.

This doesn't mean just anyone should copy but I was just pointing out that your argument about it being different in SL is that in fact it is not so different at all.
I think you are undervaluing the effort and cost necessary to create a good virtual item in Second Life.

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Old 08-11-2011, 11:20 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I think you are undervaluing the effort and cost necessary to create a good virtual item in Second Life.

Tess
Absolutely not. That is what the original creator puts in and the copybotter does not.

But all the other 'costs' are the same for both original creator and copybotter.
If the copybotter for example wants to sell the 'work' they did, they will have to market it, just like the original creator. If they don't have a well known shop (like the original creator probably has) they can't do that as good.
If they don't know how to sell their copy it is still useless to copy it.

If the original creator would have added some extra 'roadblocks' like maybe an added AO or anything else that makes it more difficult to copy they would have to worry a lot less about these copybotters.
People will buy the low quality copybotted (and badly marketed) stuff or the higher priced product with the extra's.

In short: I do not condone copybotting but I think creators need to be more creative to discourage it.
Instead of continuously making threads about how bad this copybotting is, put your energy into finding ways to make it a lot more difficult.

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Old 08-11-2011, 11:21 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Tess Whitcroft View Post
I think you are undervaluing the effort and cost necessary to create a good virtual item in Second Life.

Tess
what defines a "Good" virtual item?

A masterly crafted mesh weapon with multiple settings and bullet types that has taken several weeks and multiple people helping to make possible?

or a simple prim gun that fires balls that took 5 minutes to figure out by themselves?
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:32 AM   #19 (permalink)
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what defines a "Good" virtual item?

A masterly crafted mesh weapon with multiple settings and bullet types that has taken several weeks and multiple people helping to make possible?

or a simple prim gun that fires balls that took 5 minutes to figure out by themselves?
Also consider this before answering that question:
The second one might actually sell better and be more profitable.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:34 AM   #20 (permalink)
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what defines a "Good" virtual item?
Any item that people are willing to pay for.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:50 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally posted by SimonLeo:

The only thing the original creator puts in EXTRA is their time and skill. This goes for both SL and RL.
Yeeaah ok. Time and skill, skill is not invention or innovation. Skills are learned routines that can be practiced with repetition. Put a couple of people in separate rooms with a difficult puzzle. One solves it the other does not. So you give the other person more time. Unless they have that spark of ability that will allow themselves to create new approaches to the solution, it does not matter how much time they are given. They will die in that room with an unsolved puzzle. So your missing a critical element there which is "Creativity". Creativity, determination and time with skills playing sort of a supporting role. And None of these things are cheap or mundane indeed they are the ingredients of success which in and of themselves are mere tools or qualities. Then comes the challenge of using them all in a way that will achieve your goals.

And in regard to SL if that were "all it took" then why do so many people choose to copy rather than create their own?
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:05 PM   #22 (permalink)
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It's complicated tho.

WHEN'S A COPY NOT A COPY..? - The Daily Record

It seems some get away with 'copying' and some do not.
I haven't done any significant research into UK intellectual property law, so I'm not sure how it relates. There are some international IP conventions, but even those aren't necessarily enforced everywhere, and it certainly gets more complicated when it goes international.

And that article contains absolutely zero pictures, which makes any meaningful commentary moot. If I can't see the items in question at all, there's no way to tell if there were copyrightable features that were copied -- like particular fabric prints -- or if it was all a load of bull.
It also contains a bunch of examples using trademark law, which is only marginally related. Trademark isn't about creativity and theft, it's about brand recognition and market confusion. A trademark violation doesn't mean "they copied my idea" it means "they're likely to mislead customers into believing that my company made that item." The UK seems to us a "moron in a hurry" principle as a standard for many intellectual property issues, although from the wikipedia article, I'm unclear as to whether the standard is that only a moron in a hurry would fail to distinguish between the items, or that even a moron in a hurry could tell the difference. It actually says both, which doesn't make sense. A moron in a hurry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It doesn't look like any of the examples they used made any copyright claims in court. They made trademark claims in court, but everything mentioned in relation to copyright was settled out of court without admission to any wrongdoing. In other words, they appeased the company making the claim to avoid a legal battle, but there was no legal decision and no legal precedent set. The only law that seems to come into any of the cases there claiming copyright infringement seems to be the threat of legal action. It's a pretty frequent practice for large companies to "defend" rights that they don't legitimately have by threatening legal action against people who can't afford a legal battle against a huge corporation. Disney in particular is quite famous for it. They can't legitimately tell you that if you buy a Disney print fabric that you can't sell it, but when faced with the thread of a lawsuit from Disney, there aren't many people that can stand up to them. When it occasionally does go to court, Disney loses. But most of the time they "win" by default because there's no court decision. Tabberone might be perfectly willing to look at a cease and desist letter from Disney and then file a lawsuit against them in federal court to make them back the fuck off, but such people are rare.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:50 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Yeeaah ok. Time and skill, skill is not invention or innovation. Skills are learned routines that can be practiced with repetition. Put a couple of people in separate rooms with a difficult puzzle. One solves it the other does not. So you give the other person more time. Unless they have that spark of ability that will allow themselves to create new approaches to the solution, it does not matter how much time they are given. They will die in that room with an unsolved puzzle. So your missing a critical element there which is "Creativity". Creativity, determination and time with skills playing sort of a supporting role. And None of these things are cheap or mundane indeed they are the ingredients of success which in and of themselves are mere tools or qualities. Then comes the challenge of using them all in a way that will achieve your goals.
Where the hell did I say otherwise?
This is also no different than RL.

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And in regard to SL if that were "all it took" then why do so many people choose to copy rather than create their own?
Because they are lazy.

From the moment the creativity of making the product is over and the marketing begins (which also requires creativity) the process of selling is the same for both original creator and copybotter.
This is the same in RL. I am argumenting no more and no less than that.

Just to be clear: I am bringing this up in a response to the earlier statement made by Tess:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tess Whitcroft View Post
What's more when a RL designer makes something they have to use real materials that cost real money. Once they have made their one copy they have to hand it over to manufacturing to make some to sell. This costs more money. Then, once those copies are rolling off the assembly line, they need to pay to ship them to a warehouse and pay to store them in the warehouse then pay to ship them to stores (and they will have had to convince those stores to carry their item).

In SL that whole process is quite nearly free from cost and require no real knowledge or training in creating that is required in real life.

Tess
I am only stating that for both the original creator and the copybotter the cost after the creative process of making the product (a lot of time, creativity and skill or 'a push of the button') it is the same in both RL and SL.


A far more interesting discussion would be: How can creators in SL make their product less attractive to copybotters and (preferably) at the same time more attractive to the customers?
In RL one of the things is branding. Customers do not want that copy, they want the real thing and are willing to pay (a lot more) for it, even though the only difference is the little label inside.

Last edited by SimonLeo; 08-11-2011 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:33 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I just read this and it seems to follow this thread

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/beauty/louboutin-loses-to-ysl-in-battle-of-red-soles-2524924/#photoViewer=1
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:40 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Ok ok then it was academic. Probably the sentence structure and the lack of vocal tone as usual with text. No offense intended.
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