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WRONG. What law does "approaching the store" violate? There is _no_ violation of _copyright_ laws, until a "copying" is performed.

WRONG.
A 'copying' of a piece of furniture _may_ involve a breach of copyright law, or it MAY NOT.
A 'blanket' statement *either*way* is demonstrably false.

WRONG. Copyright protects a specific "expression" of an idea. If "someone else" comes up with that *exact*same* idea, entirely independently, and "expresses" it in exactly the same manner, That expression is *NOT* an infringement on the copyright on the other expression of that idea. "Proving" that it is an "independently, parallel, development" and not 'derived from' nor 'based on' the prior copyrighted work can be difficult and messy. However, there _are_ cases in the legal record where this *has* been done.
There are some notable cases arising from the pop music industry -- where two different artists have _independently_ developed nearly identical tunes, without any knowledge of, or exposure to, the other's work. It took lawsuits, going all the way through actual trial, to establish conclusively that the works _were_ 'independent developments' and that neither one infringed on the other.

Since I have had occasion to research it (U.S., U.K., Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, and a few other countries), I can state with some authority that you would be surprised at the size of the differences. The majority of them come under the areas of: "fair use exemptions", ability to 'disclaim' copyright (i.e., to 'place in the public domain'), "moral rights", "work done for hire", and "lending libraries".

The Berne Convention is applicable *ONLY* to the extent that any particular country has incorporated it into statute.
The country-to-country differences *are* significant.

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Robert Bonomi wrote:

Conspiracy, Intent - unless you _don't_ copy. Criminal provisions often treble any settlement. The fact that you _knew_ you were duplicating copyright or patented property can _treble_ the settlement.
This is one case where ignorance is safer. If you don't know that you duplicated patented or copyrighted work at best people can get "normal" damages. At least in the land of the free home of the brave - or whatever.

I hope you don't consult in this area.

Well prove it -- copy the piece of an irate artist. I did not make blanket statements by the way. A specific question was asked.
Don't get so excited. :-)

You're sidetracking here. Not the issue under discussion. Intent to copy was admitted.

Then there wasn't copying was there?

Correct on this much. Are you up to date? I get into this regularly, write contracts and would not dare claim your level of expertise.
I always suggest that people read the acts and make up their own mine.
*PLUS! I always caution that Copyright violation is in the eye of the original creator. *
Suggest you be more careful at claiming expertise unless your contracts stand up in court. Mine do -- and I still won't make the claims you do.
Err on the part of caution.

--
Will
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Let me count the errors: 1) It is *IMPOSSIBLE* for one person to engage in "conspiracy",
2) There is no such crime as 'intent'. To take an extreme example, approaching a store with "intent" to rob it is *not* -- in and of itself -- illegal. If you do _commit_ the robbery, there was still nothing illegal in 'approaching' the store. "Intent" comes into play with regard to some types of torts and crimes, where the _action_ must be done with particular _intent_ in mind. "intent" without "action" is *not* a violation.
3) Unsuccessfully "attempting" a proscribed action may be regarded at law as similar (or equivalent) to succeeding at it.
4) Copyright statute has provisions that specifically _allow_ copying for various reasons. *IF* the 'approach' for one of _those_ reasons, there is not even any 'potential' criminal act involved.
5) post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy. arguing that that which happens first is a crime _because_ of what happens afterwards.
Note also, that you did acknowledge that just 'approaching' the store is not illegal in any way.

Completely disregarding the existence of those situations where you *are* legally permitted to duplicate patented or copyrighted work without the permission, knowledge, or consent of the rights holder.

The feeling is mutual. :)
Would you agree that simple 'generic' furniture -- be it a simple cutting board, a milk-crate, stackable boxes, etc. -- _lacks_ the "original, creative" element required for copyright protection?
Would you agree that if the furniture is *not* eligible for copyright protection -- whether due to 'lack of originality' or any other reason -- that copying it is not a breach of copyright laws?
Would you agree that _that_ conflicts with the statement that copying of _any_ piece of furniture *MUST* be a breach of copyright laws?

And, what would _that_ prove?
Copying a work of an artist who does not object, does not prove that it is never a breach to copy an artists work.
Copying a work of an artist who does object, does not prove that it is always a breach to copy any artist's work.
BTW, I _have_ had occasion to "reproduce" the work of an irate artist. Despite their impassioned objections. And there wasn't a d*mn thing they could do about it. I knew it, and *they* knew it. Said reproduction was clearly covered under one of the 'fair use' exemptions in statute. end of story.

You asserted the factual correctness of blanket claims made by others, e.g., that copying a piece of furniture *MUST* involve breach of copyright.

Don't spread misinformation. <grin>

Review the original. I'm not sidetracking anything.
Yes, the beginning of the original article postulated intent to copy, Then 'another answer' was referenced (by the OP) that made an assertation that was tangential to the query. Which involved _unintentional_ copying.
You then asserted that that tangential response was correct.

How is 'intent to copy' involved in the statement that: ".....if a carpenter copies a piece *UNINTENTIONALLY*, then he'd break a copy right law. " (emphasis added.) ================ Or were you simply not paying attention to what was written? And which you then asserted _was_ "Correct"?

*BINGO* Neither is there any copying, if a carpenter "unintentionally" produces a work that is happens to be an exact duplicate of something he has never seen.
Yet you "confirmed" that that _was_ illegal.

You're a lot more comfortable making 'absolute' statements about what "must" be a breach, and what "is" illegal, than I am. I know where the swamps, pitfalls, and uncertainties are. And they are many.
Review the record. I've been pointing out that 'things are not that simple'. I have a d*mn good understanding of where the questions lie, that influence the determinations. I would *not* try to predict the outcome on any but the most clear-cut set of detailed facts.

_That_ is very *BAD*ADVICE*(TM)
The acts are only a very *minor* part of the legal corpus that must be considered. Almost all the 'important stuff', regarding 'where' and 'how' the lines on copyright are drawn is in the 'case law' on point.
The acts give utterly _no_ assistance as to what, for example, constitutes 'creative' effort sufficient for copyright protection. It took _Feist_ to begin to clarify that issue, in the U.S..
If there is a 'real' issue surrounding a particular question of application, the only sensible thing to do is t consult a legal *professional* who works in that area full-time.

*THAT* is also totally wrong. Copyright violation is "in the eye of the court." <grin> It is, unfortunately terribly difficult to get _any_ "feel" or guidance from the courts for 'general case' situations. They go out of their way _not_ to be helpful on the matter -- usually stating, in almost these words, that 'this decision is relevant only to the facts of this case, and should not be relied on as precedent for any other set of facts."

I suggest you review what I have _actually_ claimed. It can be summed up as: 'No simple answers. Any actual determination depends on details of _that_ situation."
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WillR wrote:

The trouble with "read the acts" as advice is that the "acts" are only part of the story, you also have to read the case law to find out what the courts think that the "acts" mean.
And before you say "the acts are clear", consider the wide variation in interpretation of something as simple as "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".

Actually, it is in the eye of the court. In the US you can sue anybody for anything, but bringing suit doesn't mean that you are going to win.

And yet you claim that the plaintiff rather than the court decides what constitutes copyright violation and lead people down the primrose path of "reading the acts" and ignoring the case law.

Good general advice.
<snip>
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--John
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Robert Bonomi wrote:

You missed a couple of important points in this message. Time! The piece one copys may well be a copy of some long ago expression. Even if it is not, the "copyright" may well have expired, if it ever existed. More importantly, the piece being copied, may not be copyrightable, i.e., it is a common idea.
The subject keeps coming up, but I really can't imagine anyone giving this idea much concern except for pieces that are considered "art." Even in that case, an actual copy in wood of someone else's art, would be very difficult. And of course there is always the exception of making something for one for personal use.
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George E. Cawthon wrote:

I don't think there is any 'one-off for personal use' exception in the statutes.
As a practical matter it just isn't worth suing someone for that sort of violation.
http://straylight.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/usc_sup_01_17.html
--

FF


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snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net wrote:

Some pretty good info here: http://www.loc.gov/copyright/faq.html#q11
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snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net wrote:

I didn't say anything about a "one off." Make anything you want in any amount for personal use--copyrighted, patented. We're talking about normal stuff and not computer programs which are a confused mess with shrink wrapped licenses, etc.
Still, the chance of violating a copyright in furniture by looking at and measuring an item is virtually zero because the designer is long dead, the expression is obvious and inevitable, or you wasn't get it exactly like the model anyway.
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George E. Cawthon wrote:

OK, I misrepresented your remarks.
There is no exception in copyright or patent law for items copied for personal use.
--

FF


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George E. Cawthon wrote:

Actually, computer programs are the one area where the statutes specifically _allow_ making a copy regardless of any licenses or contracts or anything else.

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You, sir, "know not that of which you speak".
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Robert Bonomi wrote:

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    Greetings and Salutations....

    I suspect that "approaching" is not a crime (yet). however, if you reproduce the piece exactly without the original creator's permission, you WOULD be in violation of copyright laws.     Now...having said that, it seems that for many cases, there is a 'wink and a nod' exemption. Most places are not going to get bent out of shape over an individual making a copy of their product.     Also, frankly, most of the furniture I see in those places is really butt-ugly, and I would not want to reproduce it in the first place. Rather what I would do is get reference materials (books on furniture design, etc), find something elegant, and build my version of that.     I will say, though, that I HAVE, in the past, used design details from several different sources, merged together in one unit. If one piece of commercial design has an interesting design for a tambour cover, for example, and, another one has an interesting drawer/pedestal layout, I might well take those elements and recombine them. Of course, I always end up changing them slightly anyway, because I NEVER seem to be satisfied with the exact design.     If we were too strict about the whole idea of copyright, I suspect that innovation would grind to a halt, as much of that sort of progress DOES come from exactly the above process...little bits of ideas from other folks being combined in new ways, and added to by the person doing the combining.     Regards     Dave Mundt
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*IF*and *ONLY*IF*, there is sufficient "unique creative effort" in the piece to merit copyright protection of those 'unique' features.
Absent 'unqiue creative effort' copyright does *not* attach.
The textbook example is the 'white pages' of a telephone directory. It is just a mechanical compliation of facts. the creative effort element is lacking. Copyright protection of those 'facts does _not_ exist. *NOT* my opinion -- so said the U.S. Sup. Ct.

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wrote:

No it isn't (generally).

No.
There are two things about copyright that are generally applicable worldwide. Firstly it's automatic - you don't need to "register" anything for copyright to be applied, although you can choose to relax this copyright, or to permits its use by others.
Secondly (and most relevantly here) there are several things you can't copyright. Designs are one of them (titles of works are another). You can copyright the _description_ of a design, but not the design itself.
So if you find the drawings of a design, photocopy them, then use them to build your copy then you've breached copyright. But you did it to the copyright of the _drawing_, not the item, and you did it when you did the photocopying of the drawing not when you made the copy of the item.
What happens if you built it quickly from the original drawings, then returned them ? Well you haven't breached the copyright. You may have committed some other act to obtain them (perhaps breaking and entering), but it wasn't a breach of copyright.
This leads us to the question of magazine designs and building them for profit. In general, the magazine (or maybe an author) retains its copyright on the design drawing and you as a purchaser of the magazine are granted a _licence_ to use those drawings for some purpose .This might be for admiration only, it's probably to build one or more copies for non-profit use and it _might_ be a full license to commercially produce them - but that would be somewhat unusual. If you breach these terms, then you're in breach of the _licence_ they granted, but you still haven't broken the copyright itself (this may vary locally, depending on how the law is phrased).
It's also possible to renounce the copyright entirely and to place it into the public domain. This has much the same effect as giving everyone a licence to dop whatever they want with it, but it's legally distinct.
You also can't "steal" a copyright. Theft has a legal definition, and copying something is outside it (you need to deprive the original owner of it, not just reduce their benefit of it). In countries where the legal system is controlled by large corporations, such as the USA, then copyright infringement may of course be treated as any act up to and including terrorism.
So how can you protect a design ? In general, this is possible, difficult, expensive, time-limited and requires some explicit action to register this design right (i.e. the opposite of automatic copyright). These rights are not standard between countries (very much so), but they're usually only for short periods and may or may not be renewable. It's quite rare for designers other than Alessi, Starck and their ilk to go as far as registering as design right.
There's also the question of trademarks - these are somewhere inbetween copyright and design rights. They require some action to register, but they're relatively cheap and long-lasting. It's notable that Gustav Stickley was vehement in defending his compass trademark and the "Craftsman" name, but was very lax over the designs themselves and even the name "Stickley".
If you want clear information on some useful ways to apply copyright, with country-specific boilerplate, then a look at the Creative Commons project http://creativecommons.org will be useful.
--
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Generally true -- and internationally you can (almost) bank on it. US law look down on "unregistered copyright" -- even though they are treaty signatories... But some countries -- like Taiwan -- insist that any IP protection be done there first.

That is really splitting hairs. I wanna think about that one. :-)
And after thinking -- since a bowl, a chair or sculpture _might_ be viewed as a design - then be really careful on this one. In general I would say that you are wrong. IMHO

There you also get into moral rights -- which are part and parcel of the copyright act -- so IMO -- you are likely incorrect on the last two points. IMO you breached copyrights and moral rights by copying the item, the drawing or both. Since the author can claim that it somehow affects his rights of display and sale -- quite easily.

Pretty sure you are wrong here Andy -- better read my other post.

Different issue. You are granted permission. Copyright does not inherently have any licensing arrangement. Yess you could claim that the permission is a "license" -- but really...?

Don't think you should be giving copyright advice without thoroughly reviewing the Berne Convention... :-)

Do you mean license as in "permission" as a synonym?

See the criminal copyright violation permissions in the conventions and the Canada Code for example...

Sorry -- wrong again. Many other countries recognize criminal theft of copyrighted material and designs. And yes the EU supports M$ in it's holy wars. AN in North America the rights of European vendors are respected.

Patent. Copyright Registered copyright. They all work in various fashions. Copyright and secrecy are IMO best for software. Moral rights act to protect "perversion" of an artists' copyright.

Not really -- different issue. A Trademark is a symbol/word set that defines a the origin of an item via a set of characteristics belonging to an entity might be the simplest way to look at it. It is like a defined "business shingle" that can be "hung out" in many media. Could you copyright a trademark? Why not -- silly really -- but you can't trademark a copyright or a patent. A trademark is used to define the "origin" of goods -- not to define the goods. Perhaps you could say it is to to tout quality, or the lack thereof -- but not necessarily the exact goods. Copyrights and Patents define the "goods".

Better still look at my post and read the darned acts via the links. They are actually quite clear and are not an "interpretation" of what someone thought the act might mean.
Andy -- I've written agreements that stood up in courts and that were used internationally. I accept that I could be wrong or out of dates on some points -- but you are definitely out of whack on enough issues that you should be careful about giving advice without a proviso as to the currency of the information you give out. I believe that I would have accepted your info 20 years ago -- I think you may be out of date by that much at least.
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U.S. policy changed utterly with the re-write of Title 17 US code to bring it into compliance with Berne Convention policies.
The _only_ thing that copyright registration 'buys you' these days, is the ability to sue for "statutory damages" instead of only "actual" ones.
*ALL*OTHER* protections accrue *regardless* of whether the copyright is registered or not. Copyright registration filings have fallen precipitously since the "Berne Convention" changes were introduced.
And registration is allowed at any time up to 6 months _after_ initial 'publication'.

17 USC 1301 et. seq. also says he's wrong. <grin>
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Robert Bonomi wrote:

Yes -- it is closer... However I have done digging in the past and recent research shows that any suits in the US might be looked on more favourably if you register. Don't think any claim I made was stronger than that.

The USA looks after corporate America, I am not sure that US courts would resolve International disputes in an even handed fashion. So registration could be safer for foreigners -- even if not required.
As I have said repeatedly -- depends on the depth of the pockets of the parties -- right?

US law vs Berne. Is US law universal? Were you talking about the USA only or generally? :-)
I admitted I could be wrong on some issues.
Again -- I suggest that you not give advice. You're not cautious enough.
Seeing as I read the treaty before replying... then I would be more careful. Readers of the various treaties and the analyses of them are cautioned that the terms can be interpreted very broadly.
That is why I am so cautious about copying work. And in this case the guys were talking about a _specific_ design -- and expression -- and they were aware that it was being produced commercially.
As I said before -- they can do what they want. Waste of time -- easier to do a "similar" design -- with their own techniques -- problem solved. Unless they have deep pockets for the litigation-happy USofA.
--
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An overly broad answer. Given the right set of specific circumstances it _could_well_ involve a violation of copyright statutes.
Copyright law is _very_ 'fact specific' to particular situations.
Virtually *any* statement that says something always "is" or "is not" a particular way is going to be in error, including _this_ statement. :)

WRONG. See: Title XVII, chapter 13, U.S. Code. (17 USC 1301 et. seq.) available online at: <http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/
For U.S. statutes expressly providing for copyright protection of designs.

The photocopying of the drawings is a copyright violation. *BUILDING* the object from the drawings is a 'derivative work'. Which may, or may not, be a violation in and of itself. (Building from infringing plans *is* a violation. an 'aggravating' violation, that increases the severity of penalties for the infringement of copying the plans, in point of legal fact.)

"Derivative work" still applies..

In the U.S. it *is* copyright infringement, in legal fact. You have exceeded the permissions granted by the copyright owner.
They *do* sue for 'copyright infringement', not "breach of contract".

*THAT* depends on jurisdiction. In a number of (even well-developed) countries, "Public domain" is _not_ legally recognized. In those countries you _cannot_ renounce copyright -- all you can do is aggressively 'fail to enforce' it. :)

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TrailRat wrote:

I don't think you can get a copyright on a piece of furniture. For the actual plans I'd say yes but not the piece itself. See:
http://www.legalzoom.com/law_library/copyrights/faq-faq_protected.html
--
Jack Novak
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