A History of Designers’ Efforts to Circumvent Fashion Hacking

Over the winter holidays, I checked out Faking It: Originals, Copies and Counterfeits, an exhibition at The Museum at FIT that explores the historical battle between fashion designers and counterfeiters, and the increasingly blurred distinction between originals and unauthorized copies.

Throughout history, luxury brands have adopted measures aimed at preventing the creation of counterfeit copies. Christian Dior’s early garments donned a special ink that was only visible under black light. In the 1920s, Couturier Madeleine Vionnet used her own thumbprint as a marker of authenticity on her labels. She also applied an intricate beading technique intended to be too difficult to copy. Balenciaga and Givenchy barred the press from fashion shows in an effort to stall counterfeiters. Such efforts turned out to be futile.

In the 1930s, the Fashion Originators’ Guild of America intervened in the battle against design pirates by creating a registry of designer creations. The concept behind the registry was that manufacturers would refuse to make unauthorized copies of any designs that were registered. However, in 1941 the Federal Trade Commission found that the Guild was “eliminating the right to free competition” and subsequently the Guild was disbanded.

While many luxury brands were preoccupied with the fight against counterfeiters, a certain Coco Chanel stood apart. Madame Chanel viewed the mainstream protectionary approach as unenlightened, suggesting that “[t]he very idea of protecting the seasonal arts is childish. One should not bother to protect that which dies the minute it is born.” While other designers employed techniques aimed at deterring counterfeiters, Chanel enabled copying of her designs by selling them along with patterns and fabric samples.

The logic behind Chanel’s approach was that her original designs and their counterfeit copies served different markets. However, in recent decades, these markets are becoming less distinct with the emergence of collections like Missoni for Target that are aimed at the lower end of the market.

Transport Canada’s Position on Indoor and Tethered Drone Operations

In November, Transport Canada issued Staff Instruction 623-001, which provides guidance on the review and processing of Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) applications. Among the issues addressed are whether an SFOC is required for indoor and tethered drone operations. Below is a summary of Transport Canada’s position…

Indoor Operations

According to the Staff Instruction, there are certain situations in which you don’t need an SFOC to conduct an operation inside a building or a structure, however this is not always the case. Whether you need an SFOC or not for an indoor operation turns on who is actually present while the operation is being conducted.

If only the operation crew is present, an SFOC is not required. Similarly, if only the crew and other people who are directly participating in the operation are present, an SFOC is not needed. For example, for an indoor movie set, an SFOC would not be required if only the crew and actors are present. However, if there are individuals present within the building or structure who are not directly involved in the operation, then an SFOC would be required. An example of this would be a sporting event where members of the public would be present.

Tethered Drones

The Staff Instruction characterizes tethered drones as “obstacles to air navigation [that] are to be marked and lit in accordance with the obstruction marking and lighting standards” found in the Canadian Aviation Regulations. The Staff Instruction further provides that tethered drones that are “extremely manoeuvrable and which operate over wide vertical/horizontal areas may require an SFOC.”

It is unclear what Transport Canada considers to be an ‘extremely manoeuvrable’ tethered drone or what constitutes a ‘wide vertical/horizontal area’. However, the Staff Instruction states that, “operating an aircraft on a tether simply to avoid SFOC requirements is not a viable solution.”

Canada’s Regulations for Foreign Commercial UAV Operators

Canada’s relatively favorable framework for commercial UAV operations is attracting interest among foreign operators who are frustrated with restrictions in their home jurisdictions. The following provides a breakdown of Canadian regulations affecting foreign commercial operators…

Are foreign operators eligible to operate in Canada?

Foreign operators may conduct commercial operations in Canada if they are granted a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) from Transport Canada. To be considered a candidate for an SFOC to conduct a commercial operation, a foreign operator must demonstrate legal eligibility to operate in the operator’s home jurisdiction. For example, a US operator would require a Certificate of Waiver and Authorization (COA) or a Special Airworthiness Certificate (SAC) to be eligible to apply for an SFOC to conduct a commercial operation in Canada.

What options are available for foreign operators who aren’t legally eligible to operate in their home jurisdictions?

First, foreign operators who have no legal basis for operating in their home jurisdictions are permitted to conduct research and development operations in Canada under an SFOC. Such activities must be conducted at designated UAV test sites such as the CCUVS site recently approved in Southern Alberta. The CCUVS site operates under restricted airspace that spans 700 square nautical miles running up to 18,000 feet above sea level. Because the airspace is restricted, it is possible to complete more risky operations such as those conducted beyond visual line of sight.

Second, foreign operators who have no legal basis to operate in their home jurisdictions can set up a Canadian subsidiary through which they may conduct commercial operations. By establishing a Canadian corporate entity, operators can avoid the foreign eligibility requirements and apply through the normal SFOC process open to Canadian operators. For example, if a US corporation sets up a Canadian subsidiary, the Canadian entity can apply for an SFOC without having a COA or a SAC. Additionally, the Canadian entity would be eligible for the two new exemptions from the SFOC process (assuming the other exemption criteria are met).