Oh Project Runway! How could you do it?

No, this is not another post about the fact that this was the most bring season of my beloved PR ever…there’s enough about that on the web already.  It’s about copyright, and plagarism, and being original, and what being a real designer is all about!

So in case you hadn’t heard, Project Runway’s winner this season had a very small controversy IN SHOW about a Coney Island silk screened image she wanted to use on her shirts.  In the show, there was a rather staged call to the designer saying that the image was not hers, and she could not use it.  This designer redid the shirts with silkscreened wording about “reasons to love NY”.  These shirts actually walked down the runway, and were in the final collection shown, and this designer won using these designs as part of her collection.

HOWEVER, the wording used was actually from NY Magazine’s “Reasons to Love NY 2008” article!  And now that it’s out there in the blogosphere, such as here and here, how could this designer in GOOD FAITH win the whole show?  

Where are the producers saying online that she had the author’s and the magazine’s permission?  Because if she didn’t have permission, I will never watch Project Runway again.  

To use another artist’s work, be it words in your fabric art, or a photo accompanying your essay, without their permission is COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.  They were supposed to have months to come up with ORIGINAL designs!  Is this designer so unoriginal that she could not write down her own “Reasons to love NY”?  Really? 

Many, many people are inspired by Project Runway.  Many people have an interest in sewing and fiber arts because of the show, and to have outright plagarized and continue to make that person the WINNER is a tremendous disservice to the people who look to these designers as inspiration.  A copycat is NOT an inspiration.  We should be out there creating art that is our OWN. 

And I’m SHOCKED that PR would allow this without a huge payment to the author or magazine, and some kind of note in the final credits of the show because it’s the author’s copyrighted work they have just shown!!  Get NY Mag a lawyer and sue the pants off PR and Lifetime, and the designer!  Say $100,000 to start, the amount of prize money she won?