Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Fight Over Cheerleading Uniforms Is Heading to the Supreme Court; Fortune, 5/2/16

Chris Morris, Fortune; A Fight Over Cheerleading Uniforms Is Heading to the Supreme Court:
"The high court has agreed to hear a case over whether stripes, zigzags and colors worn on uniforms by cheerleaders can be copyrighted under federal law. While it’s a case that might sound unusual, it’s one that could have far-reaching effects.
At issue is an August 2015 ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. That decision allowed Varsity Brand to pursue a copyright claim against Star Athletica, based on similar uniform designs. Justices said the stripes, chevrons, zigzags, and color blocks in the outfits were more than aesthetic touches – and, in fact, made the outfit a cheerleading uniform.
The 6th Circuit Court Justices, in a split opinion, said the original ruling, which found that the designs weren’t subject to copyright laws “would render nearly all artwork unprotectable.” Also at issue, they wrote, could be designs on laminate flooring as well as the decorative base on some lamps...
Copyright law, when it comes to clothing, is less protective than you might think. Fabric designs are covered, but aspects like sleeve styles, pockets and necklines are not copyrightable, since they’re considered inseparable from the chief purpose of the outfit – to cover your body."

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