Kal Raustiala & Christopher Sprigman have a great piece on the TNR website about what a disaster Chuck Schumer's bill to bring copyright to the world of fashion design would be.
On a loosely related note, if you've been to a bookstore lately at all you'll notice there's a remarkable vibrancy in the cookbook section as the popularity of things like the Food Network, Top Chef, etc., seems to be driving more chef-types into the public consciousness. Cookbooks, of course, can be copyrighted. But the actual recipes they contain can't be. And one suspects that this non-copyrightable nature of the recipes is integral to the cookbook industry's vibrancy. Without it, the bulk of the market would already be locked-down by older cookbooks, and to publish anything new you'd have to be prepared to lawyer up and fight off a thousand lawsuits alleging that your recipes are too derivative.
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