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copywright law

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Wolfie11/01/2010 12:37:34
406 forum posts
76 photos
Hi folks,
         before I started to make a magazine rack I looked at the internet to try and get some ideas. I saw one and printed off a picture of it. There were no measurements or plans of it so I made up my own and based it on the picture.
         Now I don't believe there is any problem with this but a friend who owns a shop suggested that I should make a couple and he would see if he could sell them, I wonder if there is anything to stop me doing this.
         I know the likelyhood of anyone saying anythine is slim but I would like to keep myself right.
         If anyong has any ideas I would be glad to hear them. Cheers    Ian
Oddjob11/01/2010 13:10:03
1635 forum posts
79 photos
You just get on with it - so long as you don't go into mass production there will be no problem!
To be pedantic, you probably breached copyright when you copied the picture. However no-one is likely to take any action as you did not do it for commercial purposes nor pass it off as your own picture or design.
Accurately copying the design in the picture is also probably in breach of copyright but unless the original designer sees your copies there is no chance of any action.  Even if the original designer did see what you had done it is highly unlikely that your product would be enough like the original for you to be successfully sued.
As I said - just get on with it and make yourself and someone else happy.  You certainly won't make any profit - unless you use scrap wood and place no value on your labour and tools that is!
Delete11/01/2010 13:25:47
575 forum posts
Change the design so what you make it not the "Same" as the one you saw.
Printing pages from the Internet for personal research would be hard to do you for copyright. The pages have been put in the public domain, and the copyright owner must expect people to print off copies on occasion. Using a design to fertalise your creativity is not wrong. Plagerising someones elses ideas is wrong. However if the design has been published for instance in a magazine with measured drawings, the publishers expect people to make the design so is in efect copyright free. (Copyright refers to the printed wordor ilustration).
A made ited might have a Patent taken out to preserve the designer / inventor interlectual property rights. Sometimes you will see the term Registered Design which roughly speaking is similar.
If I may make a suggestion take the hand holds off and change the shape of the ends slightly and in my oppinion you are home and dry. Not that my oppinion is worth anything.
Delete11/01/2010 13:33:48
575 forum posts
As a matter of interest should you design or write something and wish to prove your copyright you need to be able to prove you had writen or produced the design on or by a specific date.
The cheapest and easiest way to prove your copyright is as follows.
Take your manuscript, having made copies for use, Place the manuscript in a stout envelope and seal it with wax. Seal it on all joins of the envelope. Mail the envelope to yourself by Registered Post. or the modern day version. When the envelope arrives do not open it. Keep it safe. If ever you need to prove your copyright in court allow the court to open the envelope. The court can then see if your design has been copied and when you had made the design or document..

Edited By Roger B on 11/01/2010 13:37:01

Wolfie12/01/2010 09:46:45
406 forum posts
76 photos
Hi Richard and Roger,
      thanks for getting back to me. I think I will just give it a go. I would be more than happy if I was to get the cost of the wood back but I know that would be unlikely. I may make a small change but I am sure that it is different enough from the original as it is.
Thanks again              Ian
Sparky12/01/2010 17:07:11
7631 forum posts
22 photos
Many I just add to the others good information.
You may have copied the design (which is breach of copyright of the magazine/book) but, as said, there wasn't any measurements to act on the makers design.
When you started to make your , you made an 'Artistic reproduction' which is classed (as far as I understand it to be) a 'Artistic Licence' which means you can 'copy' to a limit but not exactly the same to the minute detail.
Every time to make the rack there will be subtle differences which are your artistic modifications, unless there made on a copier machine which then you can take your design to the Patent office.
They can be found >> here <<
You can find some help >> here <<
In other words. carry on making your racks and good luck!
Big Al12/01/2010 19:51:01
1604 forum posts
73 photos
Personally I would never apply for a patent on a piece of furniture as to enforce your copyright, you would need to prove that your copyright had been breached, and also you would the financial clout to fund any legal action against a suspected copyright infringement.
If you did actually win, costs may not be awarded in your favor and it could cost you more than you might gain from any legal action.
Sparky12/01/2010 21:33:12
7631 forum posts
22 photos
I think that's why only the rich take on these patents Al.
Its either don't try or, go to the small claims court..........and even that doesn't always work.
Unless you can make an absolute identical piece I wouldn't really worry about woodworking.....
Pictures,software, hardware and written work is the main court battles.
Olly Parry-Jones13/01/2010 08:54:17
2776 forum posts
636 photos
This is an interesting topic and I generally agree with all the replies.
I've never seen anything like this mentioned in a UK magazine but, I have noticed that, in the US woodworking magazines and books, they state that any work featured must not be replicated commercially (ie. you can make it for yourself at home, as a hobbiest but, you shouldn't be using it as your own design or make money from it).
It is incredibly difficult to be totally original in what we produce, these days. You can generally look at anyone's work and often find inspiration from several different sources. I often see pieces that I like and, whenever I choose to reproduce them, I always make sure I change several things, to make the piece more like my own.
I'm only aware of one furniture maker who has applied for a patent on one of his designs and that's the guy who made the Knife-Fork-Spoon chair for an exhibition in London, a few months ago (was it Andrew Varah???). I believe a patent application generally costs about £1,000 and can take anything from a few months to several years before a decision is made on whether it can be accepted or not...That's a steep price for any businessman, let alone the humble furniture maker!
If you're selling it through a shop though, you'll need to find out what they will charge and how much of a 'cut' they will take from the final sale, before you decide on price. I don't think it's a great way to make money (the maker, not the shop!!) but is a good way to earning recognition and getting your name about.
Wolfie13/01/2010 10:41:23
406 forum posts
76 photos
Hi there Marc, Al and Olly,
         Thanks for your input on this subject. I have decided to go ahead and try to sell  a couple of them in oak and cherry. I know it will not be a money spinner but if it keeps me busy and gives me something back then fair enough. Thanks again all
         Cheers       Ian
Delete13/01/2010 11:09:14
575 forum posts
A year or two ago I commenced to builld a New Yankee Workshop design for The Woodworker / Good Wood'. The Design which was chosen was the Sail Boat. I contacted The NYW and I was given permissin to build the boat for the magazine and publish a Series featuring the build.  This just shows that permissions can be obtained with comparative ease depending on the circumstances.
Unfortunatley following a change in Editors the project was killed off hence you have never seen the boat. There are designs in the public realm such as Windsor chairs. These chairs have been made for profit by many good people and businesses over the years. I have never heard of any court case over infrimgement of design.
On the Patent score. Paents can be applied for all sorts of things. However it is only usual for a patent to be taken out on something which has commercial value. My grandfather designed a Buckel which he never protected. The design was copied and used by lots of companies and poor old grandfather never got a penny. He still ended his life owning a small plot of land in South London, (measuring about 6 ft x 2 ft 6).
Over the years I have worked on many designs for companies which have ended up with patents all I have got was my sallary. That was the deal I was employed to work on a project and many people did their bit. THe employer got the profit or they would if they had been better business men. As it was they went the way of lots of companies in the UK . Financial problems, Take Over, Company name dissapears. Take over company runs into problems and gets taken over and the whole thing goes round and round.
All of this is my way of Illustrating , as long as you dont intend plagerising someones work dont worry too much. Just apply a little common sense.
Sparky13/01/2010 16:26:41
7631 forum posts
22 photos
That's interesting.
 Good luck mate.
That would of been something I would of liked to seen.
I also bet that land in London is worth a small fortune now..........I once saw a 6x6 box room going for £100,000 in Mayfair!!

I think in a lot of woodworking magazines where the authors have shown how to make something, pass all patents and copyright laws away as its showing the reader (usually) the best way of making you the permission to do it their way.
Of course its then down to you to change it as fit, smaller, larger or using something within the build for another better joints or finishes.
How many times have you seen something and wanted to build the same.........for me, lots.
Copyright has a very thin line for a lot of things and depending on what it is, its best to ask the maker/owner for permission to be on the safe side. (and in writing!!)

George Arnold13/01/2010 19:57:43
1834 forum posts
191 photos
I have a book" Source Book Of Shapes" by John Hunnex and it states,
  This book is sold subject to the condition that all designs are copyright and are not for commercial  reproduction without  permission of the designer and copyright holder.
  The right of John Hunnex to be identified as author of this work has be asserted in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 Section 77 and 78.,
 Which I take to mean I can copy for my own use, but not to sell as a commercial venture, how he would enforce his patent rights on a turned bowl I do not know, Or how he can prove that the designs  have not been produced  before he claimed the right  to the design.
Sparky13/01/2010 20:30:28
7631 forum posts
22 photos
If you made an identical bowl but out of a different wood, the person can NOT sue for copyright as its classed as artistic licence......If you show the said bowl you can of course leave a message stating the design is likened to him or his turning.
It is a very hard subject to put into words due to its mass of different ways of viewing the subject's copyright.
Just read all the small print before commencing

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