Copying a design idea


An earlier thread made me think more about this.
About a year ago, thumbing through a wooworking magazine, I ran across a picture of a table (coffee table type). It was one of those by-line type reports - a single picture and a couple of paragraphs of description of the table and the builder. It had a link to the builder's web-site where he displayed a few more items - these are all very 'art' type tables etc. - oneof a kind type to be displayed at art shows around the country.
I really loved the looks of the table and tore the page out where it layed around on my clipboard till a couple of months ago, when i made up my own scaled sketch of the same basic table, same idea, different woods, but basically the same , or as close as I could guess the dimensions from a single picture at a distance.
I'm finishing it up now. Huge amount of very tedious work, but I think it's going to be quite beautiful.
Should I feel guilty about copying his design ? Certainly I would offer credit to him/his website to anyone who comments on it. I'm not going to profit from it (excl enjoyment, learning experience) monetarily in any way.
I'd have to say no to anyone who might ask me to build one for them for hire (or free!).
Would you feel complimented, or irritated, if one your works was in a magazine and someone sent you a picture of a close copy of it, telling you that they thought it was so beautiful that they just had to build one ?
Just thinking about it - too late to change my mind about building it. Thoughts ?
jim bailey
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'd take it as a compliment. I've posted on the newsgroup and on my web page. Everything I do for a design or idea is free for the taking Woodworking is a hobby that I enjoy and enjoy sharing. Not much different than if you stopped by the house and used my drill press and had a drink. I'd feel the same if I had my work published in a national magazine. I have had a couple of people ask about dimensions on something I've made so they could copy it or use the general idea.
OTOH, if I was selling plans for a living and you made a copy of one of mine for all your friends, I'd be PO'd.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi Jim,
I think that you sould relax and enjoy.
A couple of issues ago, FWW ran an excellent article about how to make scale drawings from photos. It is more involved than the casual observer might think, but again, it filled with some great info.
I don't know if this makes "copying" a piece legal or anything, but if you try to duplicate something "by the seat of your pants" for yourself and/or loved ones, who could complain.
Why do we buy all those magazines anyhow?
Lou

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jim Bailey wrote:

Did you violate copyright law? Probably. Moral rights -- almost unquestionably -- I would have to know all the circumstances -- was it really an "original" design... etc...
The violation is in the eye of the originator. I would say mum's the word at this stage. You should have asked first. If I were in your situation I would not have made your post. And yes I would have enjoyed the table -- quietly.
Course -- who knows where _he_ got _his_ design. ;-)
Whether other people would be flattered is irrelevant -- it really depends on the (original) creator and his bank roll and his state of mind. No other opinion matters -- indeed if they do not vigorously "protect" their copyrights then.... Unless you are a big well financed American firm. :-) Then the government will look after it under the criminal provisions.
--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I took a seminar from Sam Maloof many years ago and he was asked this question because of the plethora of copies of his chair designs that are sold as original by different woodworkers. He responded that he was flattered that someone liked his work enough to want to copy and reproduce his designs. However, he also said that he didn't like people to commerically reproduce his chairs - the least they could do was give him credit for the design. But at 70+ years old (back in 1990 or so), he said he had more than enough business to last him a lifetime (think he said he a 10 year backlog of orders at the time - including the Smithsonian requesting a number of pieces) and wasn't too concerned about the copying of his designs.
Gary in KC

the
it's
way.
hire
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

*Your* reason for doing the 'copying' would, it seems to me, fall under one of the 'fair use' exemptions in copyright statute.
Also, remember that the _ideas_ in a work are not protected. Only the particular _expression_ of those ideas is. (Sorting out what is the 'idea', from what is the 'expression' of the idea is _one_ of the ways that lawyers get rich.)
Your 'unwillingness' to build a like work for 'somebody else' is indicative that 'your heart is in the right place'.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Bonomi wrote:

The you haven't read the act(s) and conventions. Bad advice IMO.

I think he should quietly enjoy it and not talk about it.

--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

'teaching', 'scholarship', and 'research', cover a *LOT* of territory. Even if it is just for your own, personal, benefit.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.