Last week, New York toughened its child labor law protections for models under the age of 18 by passing New York Senate Bill No. 5486. Signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the law is set to go into effect within the next month and will significantly impact designers in preparing for New York Fashion Week 2014. The law will be enforced by the Department of Labor and expands the definition of child performers to include the services of runway and print models. The underage models will now be governed by the same labor protections afforded to child actors (see prior blog article here).
Greta Garbo, as Grusinskaya in Grand Hotel, was famous for saying: “I want to be alone, I just want to be alone.” On Friday September 27, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 370, which requires an operator of a website or online services that collects “personally identifiable information” to disclose how it responds to “do not track” signals. Companies operating commercial websites and online services will likely need to update their privacy policies to comply with new requirements in California as the result of the amendment of the California Online Privacy Protection Act (“CalOPPA”).
The Supreme Court handed down a far reaching decision throwing out an attempt by Congress to deny the benefits conferred by federal law on same sex couples legally married under state law holding that the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), as so applied, constituted a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons protected by the Fifth Amendment. In so doing, and perhaps without realizing it, the Supreme Court was also writing an important copyright case.
Both houses of the New York State Legislature unanimously passed a bill on June 12, 2013, that should impact significantly the New York fashion modeling industry. The bill, once signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, would amend the Labor Law and Arts and Cultural Affairs law that currently regulate the employment and education of child performers to include runway and print models.
If you’ve ever wondered what the “lifestyle” of a Porsche driver looks like, look no further than Porsche Design’s latest fashion catalog. Twenty-three glossy pages of sleek leather jackets, modern business blazers, and retro-futuristic day-to-evening wear attempt to define what Porsche drivers look like, what they wear, and what they do in their free time. Porsche is selling more than just a vehicle—Porsche is selling a lifestyle.
The fashion industry is finally loosening its buttons—several decades and a few billion dollars in advertising later, retailers are moving away from using high-priced models and exotic locations to lure customers. Instead, many brands are promoting their designs by relying on every day images of existing customers wearing their products. Consumers- specifically, young women- are flaunting their personal style through social media platforms and retailers are embracing this outlet as a means of engaging customers. Recently, a Wall Street Journal article  highlighted this new phenomenon, explaining that retailers’ “embrace of real-people photos feeds the needs of young consumers for connection.” Candid street style is quickly becoming professionally-styled advertising’s more popular younger sister, and retailers are adjusting their business strategies to catch up with consumer behavior.
Fur was a number one pick this winter season, as seen in magazine editorials, designer ads and fashion shows, showcasing its popularity in collections around the world. Whether jacket, purse, parka or boots, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) mandates that all fur products within its jurisdiction comply with the labeling requirements under the Fur Products Labeling Act (the “Fur Act”). The Fur Act governs the manufacture, advertising, selling, importation, transportation and distribution of any fur product in the United States, ensuring that any such product is not misbranded or falsely or deceptively advertised or invoiced. It is important for retailers to be aware of how to comply with the Fur Act and to be up-to-date on the new enforcement policies released by the FTC relating to the Fur Act and its related rules, one of which was issued in January of this year.
By Dawn Lurie
With comprehensive immigration reform on the horizon and the economy rebounding, the number of H-1B visa filings for foreign temporary professional workers is likely to significantly increase this year. American businesses recognize that to compete in the global economy, smart, competitively trained, and diverse talent is critical. In many industries, foreign workers, including H-1B degreed professionals, are an integral part of such a workforce. There are only a limited number of new H-1B visas issued each fiscal year, and how quickly they are utilized is tied to the economy and market demand. For the 2013 fiscal year, the H-1B cap was reached on June 11th 2012, five months earlier than in FY 2012 when it was not reached until November 23, 2011.
On September 14, 2012, the Indian government announced that it would relax restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail. India—a country that traditionally excluded foreign investment—opened its doors to global supermarkets, such as Wal-Mart and Tesco. While the decision still must clear bureaucratic hurdles, American retailers welcome the opportunity to capitalize on one of the world’s largest consumer markets. On November 27, 2012, India’s federal government indicated for the first time that it may be open to a vote in parliament on the issue.
On October 15, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its opinion in Jovani Fashion, Ltd. v. Fiesta Fashions , Docket No. 12-598-cv, 2012 WL 4856412, holding that the prom dress artwork of fashion designer Jovani Fashions, Ltd. (“Jovani”) lacked copyrightable elements, and thus, could not be infringed by a competitor’s design. Though not a precedential decision, the opinion serves as both an important reminder of the absence of copyright protection afforded the fashion world and a streamlined instruction on the scope of and limits on copyrightable elements in works of fashion.