Copyrightability of Fashion

The Copyright Act bars copyright protection for “useful items”.  Thus, in the case of Star Athletica LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that copyright protection would not extend to the shape, cut or dimensions of a cheerleading uniform.  However, the Court ruled that copyright could extend to decorative elements on such uniforms (or other articles/clothing) if the elements can be perceived as a two- or three- dimensional work of art separate from the underlying article (such as stripes, chevrons and other graphic uniform elements).

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