Fordham Law's Professor Scafidi Weighs In on Urban Outfitter's Navajo Conflict. - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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Fordham Law’s Professor Scafidi Weighs In on Urban Outfitter’s Navajo Conflict.

Fordham Law’s Professor Scafidi Weighs In on Urban Outfitter’s Navajo Conflict.

Professor Susan Scafidi founded Fordham’s Fashion Law Institute and is an expert on intellectual-property law. Scafidi spoke with about Urban Outfitter’s recent Navajo-inspired fashions, er, we mean, cultural insensitivity and subsequent legal issues.

In the article, Professor Scafidi clarified that the Indian Arts And Crafts Act only protects, as one would expect from the title, “arts” and “crafts.”

Scafidi explained that “while there is general language [in the Act] about putting the term ‘Indian’ or ‘Native American’ or the name of a particular nation on any goods in a misleading fashion, that generalized language about ‘any good’ is narrowed by the description of ‘arts and crafts’ items in particular.” Which, as the Jezebel article reveals, is why even though Cherokee is obviously a nation as well, things like the Jeep Grand Cherokee are not barred by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. Why? Because a car isn’t a piece of art, or a craft product.

And apparently neither is a piece of clothing because <gasp!> fashion isn’t considered an “art.”

But as always in IP law, there’s more to it than just that and even Scafidi admits that this is “not a clear-cut issue.”

Read more about Urban Outfitter’s Navajo controversy here, here, and here.

Thank you to staffer Emily Wolf for the Jezebel link!

Amy Dunayevich

Amy Dunayevich is a third year student at Fordham University School of Law and is Fordham IPLJ's Technology Editor. Originally from the Detroit suburbs, Amy spent two years in the Peace Corps living in Eastern Europe without running water but with high-speed internet. Amy now lives in Brooklyn with her little black pug Roxanne. Although pursuing a career in the public interest, Amy finds intellectual property law to be extremely relevant, interesting, and important.