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Noah Feldman

Cheerleaders' Uniforms as Art? Let's Ask the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will decide whether fashion designs can be copyrighted.
Useful items.

Useful items.

Photographer: Stephen Dunn /Allsport

The Supreme Court has announced that it will decide a fascinating copyright case about cheerleaders’ uniforms. It's a big deal because the case isn’t just about cheerleaders -- it could determine whether many kinds of fashion designs can be copyrighted.

The copyright law seems simple: It says that “useful items” can’t be protected. You can't own exclusive rights to make dining tables or dinner plates. A uniform, like any other piece of clothing or furniture, is useful.