Photo Courtesy of Oxford University Press
We generally hear about knockoffs in the form of counterfeit luxury goods
or fast fashion versions of couture clothes but in every industry from restaurants to sports, success breeds imitation. That isn't necessarily a bad thing according to Kal Raustiala and John Springman, the authors of The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation
The authors analyze a variety of industries to see how they handle copyright issues and find that copying doesn't always eliminate creativity; in many cases it sparks it. Copyright protection does not protect fashion design. Design, it seems, exists in a legal gray area. Because it is not great art, designed objects that are deemed "useful articles" can be freely copied.