A Stitch in Time
While we're commemorating Labor Day, I thought I'd take time out to recognize the blood, sweat, and tears of America's favorite sweatshop, Project Runway. It's not, strictly speaking, a digital rhetoric story, but there are some interesting intellectual property issues that have appeared in the show. For example, aspiring designer Angela Keslar wanted to incorporate her client's signature shawl into the outfit she was preparing, but show producers reminded her that the woman's shawl would then become property of the show and subject to being auctioned off to the highest bidder in fine Ebay style. Intellectual property was also certainly at issue when contestant Keith Michael was booted from the show for violating the rules by being in possession of a contraband pattern book. Show fans also pointed out drawings copied from runway originals in the disgraced designer's portfolio. According to host Tim Gunn's podcast, they had also planned to "Photoshop" over a stand-in when the humiliated plagiarist abruptly fled the set. As if that weren't enough free culture grist for the mill, viewers are invited to cut and sew Project Runway clips together in their video mash-up site.