Tag Archives: fashion

May 1 / All Articles, Other Intellectual Property

Second Life Strife: A Proposal for Resolution of In-World Fashion Disputes

This article proposes a system of dispute resolution for the virtual world of Second Life. Virtual worlds offer a unique opportunity to examine real world law in a similar environment. These environments might very well be the electronic market place of the future, replacing traditional two-dimensional web pages, but they also provide a fascinating way to experiment with legal theories. There are numerous ways in which the dispute resolution system may be implemented and numerous types of disputes to which it may be applied, but this article focuses on disputes that arise in Second Life’s vibrant fashion industry.


Fashion law in the real world operates in a contradictory way — low intellectual property protections do not result in a lessening of innovation, as one would expect, but rather, foster creativity. Against this backdrop of virtual worlds and electronic commerce, fashion-related disputes are used as a springboard to build a system of dispute resolution for a broad range of other conflicts.


I. Introduction


Second Life is a 3-D virtual world, created by Linden Labs, where the residents can build and own property parcels. [1] Further, residents can craft virtually anything and own the intellectual property rights to their creations. [2]


Just as in real life, however, conflicts arise. This article will outline steps for resolving disputes that arise “in-world” by using the example of fashion-related disputes. The wide range of issues that can arise, as well as the multitude of questions that follow, necessitate this course of action. For example, disputes over in-world casinos raise the question of accretion of real world income, while disputes over speech lead to questions of First Amendment protections. The scope of fashion disputes will not be limited to disputes between two users. Real world designers will also be able to use the dispute resolution process to put a halt to trademark violations, as well as stop the practice of directly copying real world designs for in-world couture. By focusing on fashion, this article will provide a blueprint for Second Life and other such virtual worlds to create a system of dispute resolution that will enable their continued growth.


Sarah E. Galbraith, J.D.


December 12 / All Articles, Copyright

A Design For The Copyright Of Fashion

Fashion apparel is a multi-billion dollar industry that has no national boundaries. Designers, [1] retailers and consumers follow the game of international fashion. Within the last decade, consumer knowledge of specific designers has increased dramatically. Magazines and newspapers now cover the fashion industry as part of their national news coverage, focusing on the ever-changing world of creative designer expressions. [2] The general public has a ready command of the names and faces of fashion models and the designers for which they model. Countless television shows and feature films [3] exploit the fashion industry world. Consumers can now recognize the distinct style of their favorite designers: Chanel, jersey-knit double-breasted suits in contrast colors with trademarked brass buttons, and quilted leather accessories; Gianni Versace, colorful handprinted silks with reproduced 17th and 18th century illustrations; Issey Miyake, sparse deconstructed gender neutral garments in natural fabrics or highly unnatural polymers, which redefine both form and movement. [4]


In 1977, former Register of Copyrights Barbara Ringer stated that the issue of design protection is “one of the most significant and pressing items of unfinished business” of copyright revision. [5] This issue remains unaddressed today, even though the need for revision is even more significant, because garment designs lie along the fringe area of creative expressions that exhibit the same qualities as protected matter. This paper suggests that the traditional reasoning which denied certain articles copyright protection is no longer reasonable, and that protection should now be extended to garment designs. Further, this paper proposes solutions to the problems of implementing copyright for fashion and what effect copyright will have on the garment industry and consumers.


Jennifer Mencken*