Legal Issue

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no(SPAM)vasys wrote:

If it is considered a work of art, an original piece, an artistic expression -- then you are wrong for sure.
See my other two posts.
--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
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WillR wrote:

Furniture would be covered under a design patent. To be considered "art" a creation generally has no other function to serve as "art".
There have been many court cases involving furniture manufacturers where one claims the other copied their design. It gets rather tricky as to what design or portion of a design is already in the public domain due to prior public use under "35 U.S.C. Section 102(b) Conditions for patentability; novelty and loss of right to patent" of the patent laws. Federal court rulings indicate a piece of furniture would have to have a very unusual or novel feature for a patent infringement claim to be held up by the courts.
If I went to a furniture store and took a few measurements and perhaps even a picture I could produce something similar but I don't think it would be a copy.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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False-to-fact, on both counts.
Furniture could be protected under a design patent, if there was some 'novel' functionality involved.
Furniture _can_ be protected under a design *copyright*. My folks have some chairs in their house that are, in fact, so protected.

Copyright. and design copyrights are an *entirely* different subject from 'patents'.
See 17 USC 1301 et. seq. for the appropriate section of U.S. law.

For _patent_, entirely correct. _Copyright_ is an entirely different kettle of fish.
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Consider it a work of 'sculpture'. or other 'artistic work'.
DEFINITELY copyrightable. for the "*unique* creative effort" involved in the realization of that artifact.
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Robert Bonomi wrote:

The key word is "furniture" which would be covered under a design patent.
Much unique and creative effort goes into designing an automobile but look how many you can't tell apart.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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17 USC 1301, regarding "design COPYRIGHTS" (a) Designs Protected.-- (1) In general.-- The designer or other owner of an original design of a useful article which makes the article attractive or distinctive in appearance to the purchasing or using public may secure the protection provided by this chapter upon complying with and subject to this chapter.

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TrailRat wrote:

Might be more of a patent issue but...
If you take a photograph of MY home and dog, YOU own the rights to that photographic image as the "artist." If I take the same picture and sell it have I violated your copyright?
Go have another pint or three while you argue that one<g>
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Patent is *not* applicable.

"yahbut" applies. The owner of the items pictured may _also_ have rights that have to be dealt with. "Smart" photographers get a 'models release' for anything that they _might_ later want to use commercially. :)

Depends on which meaning of 'take' you mean. <*GRIN*>
If you steal one of his prints, and reproduce it for sale, then yes.
If you produce an "original" photo yourself, then the answer gets a _lot_ more complicated.
If you 'got the idea' for taking your photo, _based_on_ his photo, and have copied the creative elements (e.g., composition, etc.) in his photo then *yes* it may well be infringing on the copyright on the original photo -- see "derivative work".
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on 6/3/2005 9:51 AM Robert Bonomi said the following:

PROBABLY correct Robert but "whatif" the work included copied included a specific, "revolutionary" and PATENTED fastening device which was copied as well?<g>

Does that apply to inanimate objects and non-humans? My decorative mailbox sitting out on the public right of way? My dog "Spot?"

Yahbut now you're doing what I was doing, just throwing a little shit in the game <BIG grin> That's why I suggested he take this back over to another pint or two or three<g>
Speaking of which, it's 5:15PM, I'm still in the office and I think I hear a bottle of beer calling my name. Have a great weekend making sawdust all!
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Is the horse dead yet? Has it been beaten sufficiently?
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You think you're being facetious. You're not.
The answer to that question, frequently, is 'yes".
I kid you not when I say that professional photographers *do* get releases from property (real or personal) owners, for shots they intend to use commercially.
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the 'approach', itself, is definitely *NOT* illegal.

FALSE TO FACT. Copyright law recognizes that "independant, parallel development" can, and _does_ happen. Copyright protects the particular "expression" of an idea, _not_ the underlying idea itself. If you 'indepentantly' create a duplicate of a copyrighted work -- where it can be shown that you never had any access to the 'original', you are *not* infringing on the copyright on that 'original'. You are free to copy/sell, etc. _your_ "createive work" without let or permission from the 'rights holder' in that _other_ work.

Factually accurate, and *very* relevant

The authoritative answer is: "It depends".
This holds for virtually *ALL* questions involving copyright issues, BTW. :))
Yes, there *can* be copyright involved in a piece of furniture.
However, copyright applies *ONLY* to the elements that are "unique creative effort" in that piece.
"Approaching the store", with the intent of copying is _not_ illegal
Actually _doing_ the copying, +may+ or *may*not*, infringe on a copyright, if there is one. There is a '*DEEP* swamp' of copyright law, called 'fair use exemptions' -- under which you _can_ reproduce something protected by copyright, *without* the copyright owner's permission, and *without* infringing on their copyright.
*IF* there is a copyright involved on that piece of furniture, one then gets into _why_ one is 'copying'/'reproducing' it --
for your own 'personal use', is _probably_ O.K.
for sale to someone else, is pretty-much guaranteed *not* O.K.
As a practical matter, with 'generic' mass-produced furniture, the issue of copyright is not likely to arise. Pretty much 'by definition' there are no 'unique' design features to point to.
Copying a "Sam Maloof" chair, on the other hand...... <grin>
Along the same lines -- if you 'study' (with your tape measure, that is :) several 'representative' pieces, from several different manufacturers, extract the 'common elements' from those, modify in a way to suit _your_ needs, then there is -no- issue of copyright infringement in the piece that you end up constructing.
"Stealing from one source is called plagiarism. Stealing from two or more is called research."
"Research" your project well, and don't worry about it.
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Robert Bonomi wrote:

When dealing with IP -- research "proves" you know better and opens the door to greater damages in the USofA. Better not to know sometimes.

--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
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wrote:

times.... BUT not with the intention of selling the "copy"....
In fact the furniture store (well the salespersons anyway) allowed me to photograph the items and take measurements....
I also did this for a writing desk that I saw in a Colonial home in Willaimsburg ...also asked permission ...and did not have a problem..
Only once was I ever turned down....( at a Plantation in Charleston SC) ... but they still let me draw the table, and take measurements...just would not let me take a picture...
If I went into production and made these items for resale then "maybe" it would be ethically wrong... but making a "copy" for my own use in my own home (or even for a gift) is not in my opinion anything that would cause me to toss and turn all night...
Bob Griffiths
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Bob G. wrote:

Boone Hall Plantation, would it? They acted like I was about to paint cherry when I started to take out the camera, and the group I was with was to impatient to wait while I laid under the table and made sketches. Joe
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TrailRat wrote:

And just what piece of furture have you seen in a store that wasn't a copy of some earlier piece of furniture?
ray
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Most of the furniture that I've made, if I didn't have a purchased plan, came from going into high end furniture stores and getting basic dimensions on a piece. What I made never exactly matched what was in the store. sales people look at you funny when you measure pieces.
If it is against the law, I'm guilty.
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

I've never understand why they get upset about it. Unless your house is the size of Grand Central Station, or some of the places I saw in Ft. Lauderdale this past week, measuring furniture makes a lot of sense even if you're planning to buy it.
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Most of it is designed on the euro 32-mm system, which is public domain. So you would probably be safe, unless there are some very distinct features. The alternative is to look into the 32-mm system, and design your own from scratch. Given the same dimensional constraints for size, and similar woods, it is going to come out very similar.
My personal choice, back when I was still copying things, was the thrift stores. They will frequently sell you a damaged prototype for less than a set of commercial plans, and you get the hardware to boot.
TrailRat wrote:

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Most of the furniture that I've made, if I didn't have a purchased plan, came from going into high end furniture stores and getting basic dimensions on a piece. What I made never exactly matched what was in the store. sales people look at you funny when you measure pieces.
If it is against the law, I'm guilty.
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