Legal Issue

Page 1 of 4  

A little debate between friends has led me to spill it among the newsgroup. The debate is over mass produced furniture and the reproduction of it in a private workshop.
The question goes along these lines. Is approaching a flat-pack supermarket or furniture store with the intention of copying a piece illegal.
A few of the answers state that it must be a breach of copyright laws. Another answer states that if a carpenter copies a piece unintentionally, then he'd break a copy right law. Other answers state that various pieces follow the same basic principles, i.e the design of a wardrobe is the same on many levels but there are many variants.
So whats the opinion of the group. Maybe I'll share it with my friend next time I'm down the pub. Yes, the debate started over pint.
TR
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

And what do the lawyers say? Why would anybody want to copy manufactured furniture? Just buy it and go to the next hobby. Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
One of the guys I drink with is a solicitor. His only comment when pressed was "must be nice for insperation". Apart from that he said very little on the subject.
TR
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
TrailRat wrote:

In the U.S., you'd want to ask your question of an intellectual property lawyer. Copyright and trade mark law is complex and convoluted, as is most law, far beyond need. I cannot imagine wanting to copy WalMart or KMart or Costco furniture in the shop, but there's really no accounting for taste, so I guess it's possible. I'm not sure you could get the cheesy look using real wood even if you tried, though.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Charlie Self wrote:

LOL! But he could always buy some Contac Paper with nice butcher block pattern to cover that walnut!
BTW, just picked up a copy of your book, Charlie, and I'm half way through it must say that I'm impressed with the quality of the print job (from China, no less) as well as the amount of concise, handy information arranged in such orderly fashion. Looks like a winner.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Unquestionably Confused wrote:

Good. I'm delighted you like it. With any luck, it will pay me enough to let me get rid of all my WalMart furniture (in truth, one computer desk that I bought for temporary use three or four years ago). It was probably worth the $49 it cost.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
TrailRat wrote:

Depends on what you are going to do with the reproduced piece? If it is for personal use or you're going to give it away free (or as a gift), have at it. Copy all you want. Just like making personal copies of CD's, records or tapes, etc. If you are reproducing to make profit, then you can get into a lot of monetary trouble, at the very least. Copyright owners frown on you making money off of their work.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Common misconception. While they do frown on you making money from their work, they also frown on not making money from you. You may make a copy of a record for use in a second player, but no, you are not allowed to give it away. Just because millions of people have done that, it is still not legal.
Try copying a Mickey Mouse on a Tee shirt and wear it to Disneyworld. They are one of the staunchest fighters for copyright protection and have gone after grandma that put the Disney figures on kids clothing. Ed
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Some folks actually make a living, raise their kids, pay their mortgage by selling copyrighted work. The next time you think about making a "freebie" for your own use, think about someone getting a portion of your next pay check.
--
Rumpty

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Isn't that what the government does??
Rumpty wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Suppose you see a plain white T shirt that you like and that you are an accomplished tailor. You make a white T shirt that appears identical. Is that OK?
Or, suppose I have a 4 foot long piece of pine lumber that is 3/4" thick and 4.5" wide. Is it OK for you to rip a 4 foot 1X6 to 4.5" width, or do I have some kind of "rights" to those dimensions.
How about a shipping pallet? Is it OK for someone to build a duplicate of one?
What about a plain, slab door? What about a cigar box? How about a clipboard?
And of course, is it OK to copy a Pointy Stick?
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The answer to "all of the above" is that copyright only protects the "unique" creative effort that goes into a work.
"Non-unique" characteristics are not protected.
A special Wasserman test will be administered, to see if you can identify the unique creative elements in each of the above items.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

BZZZTTT!!!!
*NOT* correct. NOT CORRECT *AT*ALL*.
You are very probably safe, if it is for 'personal use'.
If it goes 'out of your hands', to somebody else, an entirely *different* set of considerations come into play.

Copyright owners frown on _any_ "unauthorized copying" of their work that is not covered by the 'fair use' exemptions in copyright statute.
"personal use" is, actually, an "iffy" justification under U.S. statutes. Copyright law in other jurisdictions is more specific in allowing it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Bonomi wrote:

BZZT wrong answer.
See my other post. Read the damned copyright act.
I gave the links.

That would come under the criminal provisions -- assuming a profit motive.

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

I *have* 'read the damned copyright act'. U.S., U.K., Netherelands, Denmark, and Swiss versions.
"give away for free (or as a gift)" is *not* a protected use.

It is a violation of statute, even *without* a profit motive.
RIAA, MPAA, and others in the US have filed multiple lawsuits. and won.

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

The best idea is to look at a few pieces, find what you like and don't like, and make something similar with some novel features of your own, such as different moldings, wood, joinery, size, etc. Direct copies of a current or recent past item aren't such a great idea.
The other side of the issue is whether or not you get caught. There is no prosecution possible if no one complains and no one else knows about it. Copying a piece directly could get you into trouble if the right person found it in a timely manner. That person would probably have a serious axe to grind and a fantastic knowledge of furniture. Your chances of trouble increase with volume and similarity. Moral of this is to avoid the temptation to mail a picture of your creation to the guy who actually designed the piece.
After you are actually caught, the manufacturer would have to decide if prosecution was worthwhile. Launching a $50,000 case to recoup a couple hundred dollars in lost profit doesn't sound like a good idea. If this is some small piece which is the bread and butter of a little nearby shop, they might very well take it as an offense, especially if you started distributing it to their potential customers.
Then again, the thought of a custom made duplicate of an off the shelf item sounds a bit strange to begin with. You don't often see a recipe that is advertised to taste "Just like the canned stuff you get at the market."
Michael
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Copyrights, I believe, apply to written or recorded work such as books, music, movies, etc, and not to items like chairs or tables. The PLANS to the chair or table could certainly be copyrighted.
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You are in error.
"ships hulls" are one item that is _specifically_ mentioned in the copyright statutes.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
TrailRat wrote:

It is. More importantly is that it is a waste of time.

It is.

Correct.
Copyright and moral rights can be looked up on the web.
Just find the international treaties -- they are all a lot alike...
A link to the Canadian Copyright Act. http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-42 /
Since the act is based on International treaty there should not be many areas of disagreement with other countries. Except Taiwan and their ilk.
Note: Moral rights.... Read that section it should be of interest based on most questions I have seen here.
Most questions in this forum are answered here.
The Berne Convention is much more clear on "the limits" for plagiarism a, copying and term of rights than the acts of some countries...
Again -- note moral rights here. http://www.law.cornell.edu/treaties/berne/overview.html
http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/berne /
USA Enactment of... http://www.cni.org/docs/infopols/US.Berne.Convention.html
More stuff on ethics and protection of authors http://home.cwru.edu/~ijd3/authorship/berne.html
Economic Right vs. Moral rights... Article on fundamental difference between American law ans European Law (and perhaps most of the rest of the world) http://home.cwru.edu/~ijd3/authorship/economic.html
And of course -- the google search for those wishing to delve further... http://www.google.ca/search?q rne+Convention&hl=en&lr=lang_en&start&sa=N

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

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    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.