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Thread: Selling, Copyright, etc.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Selling, Copyright, etc.

    This was posted on another forum but I wanted to see what you guys had to day about it.

    What are your thoughts about selling projects you build from magazine plans, website plans, etc? Okay to do it, okay if you just use the idea but not actually have plans even though it looks exactly the same. I know WOOD Mag, allows you to sell 25 of something they provide unless noted otherwise, but can they really do that?
    Rise above the rest

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yes, they can. WOOD magazine owns the copyright to the design and can enforce it as such. By purchasing a set of plans, you are granted a limited license to use those plans for a certain purpose. In the case of WOOD's plans, they are granting you license to make up to 25 items based on the plans. But WOOD still retains copyright for the plans and the designs they encompass. WOOD is free to stipulate whatever terms it sees fit.

    This is analogous to architectural blueprints for a home. The architect is payed for the design (either by a building contractor, or a prospective homeowner). But the architect retains copyright to the drawings - even if they are based on ideas given by the homeowner or contractor. Why? Because mere ideas are not copyrightable, but those that are fixed in a tangible medium (i.e., blueprints) are copyrightable. So the architect owns the design and grants license to the contractor or homeowner to build a house based on those plans. This has surprised a few homeowners who have paid an architect to design a one-of-a-kind home, only for them to later see several other similar homes being built in the area. If you want to retain control over the design, you need to have the architect agree to an assignment, where the architect assigns rights to the design to you.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Lakeport NY and/or the nearest hotel
    FWIW, while it will be tough for them to really police that copywrite, honestly the typical hobbyist is rarely going to build more than a handful of any item they publish. And even if said hobbyist were to set up an assembly line and crank out a hundred of the item, EXACTLY as they designed it I bet that 100th item would be the last one of that widget he'd ever want to see.

    that being said, don't abuse the priveledge.

    take it, learn from the plans and design your own similar item, improve upon it!

  4. #4
    I said it over there.

    I will say it over Here.

    Kevin, No they can't.

    They can copyright the plans. The written word.

    I can copyright the plans for my Bars.

    But I cannot copyright the bar.

    Even if I sell you the plans you are free to go build my style Bar

    in every town across this great land. You just can't sell the plans.

    Now a night stand is not a unique piece of furniture.

    There is one in every hotel motel in the world.

    This falls under the public domain.

    What they say they can do and what they can do

    are two different things.

    Again, I am not a intellectual property lawyer.

    But I am a artist/builder. Love to read and spend a ton a books.

    One series I hold dear to my heart are these.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Raleigh, NC

    I am an intellectual property lawyer

    Let me give my .02. Bu the way free legal advise is worth what you pay. Per, I hate to disagree with you, but you are not entirely correct. The copyright is NOT just to the plan and only pertains to copying the plans themselves. If that was true scupture would not have copyright protection. In music the words and notes are copyrightable as well as the performance. Thus Michael Jackson owns the Beatles catalog of music, but not their recordings of their songs.

    So with woodworking plans, any creation of a peice from plans would be covered by the copyright. If you were making one to use in teaching a class it might be fair use. Otherwise fair use does not come into play.

    Having said all that, if you make enough changes to the plansthe project might not infringe the copyright. For example, I can take the basic plot of a book and write my own story that does not infringe the copyright of the original book.

    What "enough" is is hard to say. Since Wood seems to give a limited right to reproduce their plans 25 times, I would recommend not going beyond that. It is up to the copyright holder to determine the extent they want to enforce their rights.

    The works will fall into the public domain after the life of the auther + 70 years. So if the author of the palns dies today they will enter the public doamin in 2077. (Assuming Congress doesn't change the law again.)

    Sorry if this is boring, but you did ask.

    P.S. I'd rather be making sawdust than talking about this subject.


  6. #6

    Maybe you are not getting what I am saying.

    The item must be unique.

    If you call it a night stand.

    It is not unique.

    You can not copyright a table either.

    4 legs and a top.

    Now as to unique, this is unique,

    Unless it is original and unique and a nightstand isn't. Or it is built in a way
    never, ever done before, Wood mag is gonna be out of luck in court.
    And now I am fighting with a copyright lawyer.
    Silly me. Tell you what.
    You can represent woodmag.
    Lets get a Judge.
    Last edited by Per Swenson; 02-14-2007 at 10:44 PM.

  7. #7

    One more thing.

    When I cited public domain,

    what I meant was, a table, a night stand, a chair, a bed,

    is already a common item in the Public Domain.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    I guess one question comes up, as where do the mags get "their" ideas, maybe the idea isn't theirs in the first place.
    Rise above the rest

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Floydada, Tx
    I would have to agree with Per on this one.Is would be inpossible for someone nowadays to copywright a peice of furniture.

  10. #10

    Thanks for your support.

    Now, wood mag in order to hold you liable,

    could file for a design patent. On a night stand.

    I kinda think the patent office would thank you

    for not wasting their time.


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