The Piracy Paradox

Designers’ frustration at seeing their ideas mimicked is understandable. But this is a classic case where the cure may be worse than the disease. There’s little evidence that knockoffs are damaging the business. Fashion sales have remained more than healthy—estimates value the global luxury-fashion sector at a hundred and thirty billion dollars— and the high-end firms that so often see their designs copied have become stronger. More striking, a recent paper by the law professors Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman suggests that weak intellectual-property rules, far from hurting the fashion industry, have instead been integral to its success. The professors call this effect “the piracy paradox.”

The Piracy Paradox, by James Surowiecki

1 Comment leave a comment below

  1. My cousin once told me that Rolex watch knock offs were originally perpetrated by Rolex themselves for the purpose of PR and name recognition-to draw attention to the value of the real thing. My cousin was a rather large player in the cheap-o 10 dollar watch “business” of the 90’s, so who knows. An interesting thought, and an interesting post. Thanks.