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Pamoyo: CC-Licensed Fashion

Cameron Parkins, June 3rd, 2008

The fashion industry has always been an interesting topic for those interested in copyright and creativity – appropriation, reusue, sampling, etc. are approached in a sometimes similar, yet often starkly different, manner than in other content industries. Styles thrive off of building on pre-existing trends, sometimes directly imitating an established look, and the market decides whether or not this reconceptualization is of worth. It is a debate that has unexpected depth and raises numerous interesting questions – TechDirt has a bevy of great articles that discus the issues more thoroughly.

Seemingly noting this debate, Berlin-based fashion label Pamoyo have decided to release the designs for their clothes under a CC BY-NC-SA license, allowing people to recreate Pamoyo’s styles at home as long as they don’t sell their creations. Similarly, someone can build upon one of Pamoyo’s existing designs – if they release the new design publicly they must do so under the same license, continuing the process of reuse and creativity.

Unrelated to CC but interesting nonetheless is Pamoyo’s decision to use either recycled clothing or organic cotton for the clothing, with a portion of all profits donated to German Environmental group Grass Routes. The designs haven’t been posted yet, but keep your eyes on this space as they should pop up soon (via SmartPlanet).

2 Responses to “Pamoyo: CC-Licensed Fashion”

  1. The only problem with Pamoyo’s use of a CC license for its fashion design is that it validates the idea that fashion design can and should be copyrighted. Historically, of course, this has not been the case. Here is a plug/reference for a report on this topic that CC board member Laurie Racine and I prepared a few years ago. It’s entitled “Ready to Share: Fashion and the Ownership of Creativity, and is published by the Norman Lear Center at USC Annenberg School for Communication . Pdf file: http://www.learcenter.org/pdf/RTSBollierRacine.pdf.

  2. Sandra B says:

    Isn’t it the case that it is the patterns themselves which are being copyrighted? All the home sewing pattrns have copyright information on the back of the packet. I am a designer and patternmaker. If I design something, it is fairly open-ended as to how it is physically made, as the process of translating a sketch or idea into a physical object can vary according to the practitioner who makes the pattern. The pattern, however, is a clearly defined physical object embodying intellectual property such as fit and silhouette, as well as manufacturing instructions. I think copyrighting designs is unnecessarily obstructive to the creative process, and ought to be resisted as far as possible. However, copyrighting a pattern is good business sense. In other words, if you copy my designs, I just think, oh well, more ideas where that came from, good thing I produced a better rendition than you did. If you copy my pattern, you have committed theft.

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