Control of Creativity? Fashion's Secret ; Film and Music Industries Might Heed the Wisdom

By David Bollier and Laurie Racine | The Christian Science Monitor, September 9, 2003 | Go to article overview

Control of Creativity? Fashion's Secret ; Film and Music Industries Might Heed the Wisdom


David Bollier and Laurie Racine, The Christian Science Monitor


Why do fashion, film, and music - the sultans of cool in our culture, the shapers of our consciousness - take such radically different approaches to the control ofcreativity?

The music and film industries continue to battle over the need to expand copyright protection, and to limit sharing and reuse of prior work. The fashion industry, driven by similar market interests, employs a modus operandi that accepts rather than rejects derivation and appropriation as creative tools.

The contrast is particularly fascinating, given the dependence of each of these industries on our shared cultural heritage, which we call the "commons." The music and film industries' resources are being sapped in ongoing battles about the scope of legal protection that their CDs and DVDs should enjoy and whether prior works may be freely reused. These industries are unusually possessive: Their attorneys have gone after consumers who played DVDs on non-Windows software ("piracy"), Girl Scouts who sang copyrighted songs around the campfire ("no performance license"), and kids who set up their own Harry Potter fan websites ("trademark violation").

By contrast, the fashion industry long has accepted that creativity is too large and fugitive an essence to be owned outright as property. Fashion is a massive industry that thrives in a competitive global environment despite minimal legal protections for its creative design. While many people dismiss fashion as trivial and ephemeral, its economic importance and cultural influence are enormous. US apparel sales alone were $180 billion a few years ago, supporting an estimated 80,000 garment factories, and fashion is a major force in music, entertainment, and other creative sectors.

It is precisely because fashion pervades so many aspects of our lives that we fail to appreciate the "social ecology" that supports it - the open sharing, unauthorized innovations, and creative appropriations. To be sure, the fashion industry aggressively protects its brand names and logos, utilizing trademarks and licensing agreements. In most cases, however, the actual creative design of garments is not owned by anyone. The couturier dress worn by a Hollywood starlet on the red carpet can be knocked off immediately and legally appear days later on department store racks.

The Hollywood studios and major record labels consider it self- evident and axiomatic that creativity must be strictly controlled through copyright law, lest it be "stolen" and creators forced out of business. It is a significant point that creators, especially individual artists, need effective, reliable ways to be paid for their work - and copyright offers one important vehicle. But the fashion industry has a deeper faith in the power of creativity. Despite scant legal protection, fashion businesses invest enormous sums in each new season's creative cycle - and reap substantial profits year after year.

For virtually all players in fashion, some form of derivation, recombination, imitation, revival of old styles, and outright knockoff is the norm. Few denounce, let alone sue, the appropriator for "creative theft.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Control of Creativity? Fashion's Secret ; Film and Music Industries Might Heed the Wisdom
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.