#Cancelled: an exploration of intellectual property law and the new extra-legal social norms against copycatting and cultural (mis-)appropriation in fashion design

Brown, Anna Catherine (2022). #Cancelled: an exploration of intellectual property law and the new extra-legal social norms against copycatting and cultural (mis-)appropriation in fashion design. University of Birmingham. M.Jur.

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This dissertation explores the relationship between fashion design and global contemporary intellectual property legal systems. This exploration informs a comparison with the methodologies of two online intellectual property call-out platforms to understand why intellectual property self-help in fashion design has become so popular, and what this tells us about the relationship between fashion design and intellectual property law. This analysis unveils a cycle of tension that runs throughout this dissertation: fashion design and conventional intellectual property law share a complex relationship, and aggrieved designers and indigenous community groups who believe their designs have been infringed are exasperated at the slow and ineffective mechanisms of the law. Consequently, they turn to the informal enforcement mechanisms of the online, viral call-out platforms, who have come to prominence during the social media boom of the past decade. These call-out platforms can resolve issues quickly, inexpensively, and often with better results than the courtroom could offer. However, the methodologies of these platforms, and the online noise that surrounds them and the broader ‘call-out’ culture in which they sit, means that the call-outs often lack merit, are devoid of legal nuance and subject to intense criticism. As online audiences awaken to this, a shift back to the carefully constructed nuance of the law is beginning to happen. This dissertation establishes that it is likely that this cycle of tension between fashion design, intellectual property law and intellectual property self-help remedies is not new. However, due to their popularity, these call-out platforms are likely to continue in their current form for some time yet, with their weaknesses doubling as their strengths, and a new anti- copying discourse now in the mainstream. This dissertation concludes by suggesting that while this tension is unlikely to be resolved, there is an important role of intellectual property professionals to engage with the platforms to bring nuance to the debate and evoke positive change.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Jur.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Jur.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Birmingham Law School
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales
K Law > KF United States Federal Law
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13132


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