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Unlike in other countries, especially in Europe,1 the legal protections afforded to the design and appearance of fashion clothing and accessories in the United States are relatively limited. Under U.S. copyright law, "useful articles," such as clothing, handbags and footwear, are expressly exempted from protection.2 (Original creative elements of clothing and accessories such as hardware, ornaments and other artistic components that are physically separable from the product can be copyrighted, but the entire appearance of a useful article cannot be protected by copyright under U.S. law.)3

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