Fashioning innovation

I do not usually use this space simply to offer links to other resources without adding my own comments, but this 16 minute video by Johanna Blakely of the Norman Lear Center at USC — “Lessons from fashion’s free culture” —  is so good there is very little I can add.

Dr. Blakely discusses, in a smart and engaging way, the role that intellectual property protections play in providing incentives for creativity and innovation.  Her primary example is the fashion industry, where the lack of strong IP rights not only does not hamper creativity but seems, in Blakeley’s argument, actually to support innovation and rapid growth.  Her chart illustrating the relative income generated by creativity industries that “enjoy” strong IP protection versus those that don’t may be an oversimplification, but it does provide a strong refutation to the argument that IP protection is necessary for creative industries to thrive and for innovators to pursue their work.

The video is also an excellent lesson in how to do a fun, engaging and informative presentation.  I offer it with envy for Dr. Blakely’s skill and confidence that it will be a valuable way for readers to spend 16 minutes.  I am just disappointed that I don’t get all of the contemporary cultural references.

One thought on “Fashioning innovation”

  1. Thanks Kevin – this is a great enlivening presentation. I was catching up on what’s happening in fashion law earlier this week over at STACI RIORDAN’s fashion law blog as I followed the pending Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (“IDPPPA”) which may harm the current unfettered freedom within the fashion world to copy. As Blakely points out, copying is a compliment, and when art approaches perfection, copying the bones of the expression is the only way for further iteration to enter the market place. Fashion has been left alone by virtue of its utilitarian underpinnings, but Blakely is right – that freedom has fostered creativity and the business model is what keeps the industry creative. How can other industries learn from this example, and is the IDPPPA an appropriate response to copying within that industry? May be Congress should leave this organic creative industry alone….

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