russinchico

copyright infringement?

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Russ,

That is not much of a grey area to me....he made an object and put a Harley emblem on it....yeah Harley made the emblem but putting it on something he made IMPLIED that it was an official Harley product. DONT DO IT. Good way to get in trouble.

If a customer asks for a Harley emblem on something, he better be from Harley Davidson. If he isn't from HD....politely decline the job or try to encourage him to be creative or let you be creative.... I do it all the time.

Unfortunately, there are many bikers out there who don't have a creative bone in their bodies. Beeze here on LW is an outstanding exception...as are many others...Shirley... etc. Mostly bikers want something they saw on Joe Schmo's bike. Show them some of your creative work....you can lead them where you want them to go.

Dave

David, I posed this question to our corporate lawyers and this was how they explained it.Your first statement is not correct as it takes away the customer's "Fair Use" rights. When the customer purchased the emblem (patch) he/she has the right of fair use such as having it sewn or adhered to any item they choose as long as it is for their personal use. Other wise the only use they could make of it would be to take it home and put it away and not even display it. Now what they can't do is have someone copy the emblem in any fashion onto an item as this is not protected under "Fair Use" laws and is a violation of pertinent law.

Sorry it took me till now to reply to this but we've been busy getting our new businesses up and running. You'd be surprised at all the legal paper work and inventory and training we've had to go through.

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Being in China I deal with this all the time.

Basically it's like this, an item made by someone for their own personal use can contain a representation of a logo. One cannot sell or give away that item however without infringing on the trademark owner's property.

One cannot use an item that contains a logo that they do not own or license in commerce or for any commericial purpose.

Thus one cannot make "Harley" gear legally for sale.

An example, you see a great tooled Harley bag in the Harley shop. You can't run next door and have Joe Leatherworker make you one with the Harley Logo on it legally. However YOU can make one and use it legally.

As for the stickers and patches - if you aquire them from a legal source then you can attach them to anything you personally use. You can't however attach a Harley patch to a leather bag you made and sell it as a Harley Bag. You can have Joe Leatherworker make you a bag and have the patch sewn onto that bag. That's ok. Joe Leatherworker can't buy the Harley patches and make a line of "Harley" bags to sell to you though.

Confusing? You bet.

We deal with this all the time from custom pool table cloth, to advertising items, to sports fans who want stuff with their team's logo.

We can show off things we have done which have logos on them as examples of what we can do. We cannot offer for sale any of those items with the logos on them without written permission from the owners/licensees of those trademarks.

Personally I think that as long as something is a one off for personal use and the logo is intended to be used in an artistic way then it's no problem for a leather worker to use it for a customer.

What I mean by that is if the intent is advertise the brand without representing the underlying product as "made by" that brand, then it's no harm to the brand. An extreme example would be getting the Harley logo tatooed on yourself.

If the intent is to make people think that the THING is made by the company that owns the brand, i.e. a T-shirt that has the Nike emblem on it, then that is infringment and not a good thing to do.

Ah the wonderful world of intellectual property.

I'd be a millionaire several times over if I had the profits from all the cue cases that have been and continue to be sold using my designs.

If you all want to make some T-Shirts with JB Cases on them go ahead :-) But please don't make cue cases with JB Cases on them.........

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John Barton:

That's true for the most part. There are, however, ways to make and sell items that have trademarked logos on them. It's a very finite area within the law.

For anyone considering something along these lines, the best thing you can do is obtain advice from a trusted legal advisor/attorney.

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I use a lot of patterns that I've acquired over the years form various points. Each of those patterns did come from a printed document. Tandy had the "Doodle Pages" back in the day and offered it to everyone to use. Not copyrights of any sort. Using the cell phone case from Tandy as your own pattern is not infringing on any copyrights because if go and look in any country/western stores, you will find cell phone cases that are almost identical to Tandy's. If you change any portion of the pattern, its yours. Plus, I can only assume that you are not selling it as a "Tandy Original". No true leathersmith will every do that!! I make key fobs for some local colleges fraternaties. I use a fleur di lis stamp and put the colleges letters under it and use "like" colors when staining/painting. Those fobs sell like hot cakes. I DO NOT advertise the product as "official" collegiate products. It is something that I have come up with and ANYONE can do it. The only thing that I claim as official is the leather I use and myself, a leathersmith.

If you do not use the terms "Official Gear" or "Lisenced Products", you are in the clear. If you change ANY portion of a drawing or pattern, you are in the clear. Just don't change a color and hope for the best. Use your craftsman brain and make a change that will make a product better. I've enjoyed making changes to patterns and I have found that lots of other people like it as well.

Good Luck!!!

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'End of the Trail' is a large statue that I believe is now in the Cowboy Museum (can't remember the exact name) in OK. It has been copied in so many ways it's hard to keep track. It's image has been copied for pictures, belt buckles and so on. Even by a well known leather artist. All of it for profit.

How is this ok?

Just curious,

pmiker

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I use a lot of patterns that I've acquired over the years form various points. Each of those patterns did come from a printed document. Tandy had the "Doodle Pages" back in the day and offered it to everyone to use. Not copyrights of any sort. Using the cell phone case from Tandy as your own pattern is not infringing on any copyrights because if go and look in any country/western stores, you will find cell phone cases that are almost identical to Tandy's. If you change any portion of the pattern, its yours. Plus, I can only assume that you are not selling it as a "Tandy Original". No true leathersmith will every do that!! I make key fobs for some local colleges fraternaties. I use a fleur di lis stamp and put the colleges letters under it and use "like" colors when staining/painting. Those fobs sell like hot cakes. I DO NOT advertise the product as "official" collegiate products. It is something that I have come up with and ANYONE can do it. The only thing that I claim as official is the leather I use and myself, a leathersmith.

If you do not use the terms "Official Gear" or "Lisenced Products", you are in the clear. If you change ANY portion of a drawing or pattern, you are in the clear. Just don't change a color and hope for the best. Use your craftsman brain and make a change that will make a product better. I've enjoyed making changes to patterns and I have found that lots of other people like it as well.

Good Luck!!!

Well, if you make the argument that what your producing is a fashion accessory - wallets, purses, holsters, boots, bags, etc. - have no fear. There is no such thing about copyrighting a pattern for an accessory or article of clothing. It was decided a long time ago that you couldn't copyright fashion, or else someone would've gotten the copyright on basic utilitarian items, like an ordinary T-Shirt, and every company who made t-shirts would have to license through them. And it still holds true today, where designs on the runway in Milan are essentially fair game for anybody to recreate and sell. Affordable but hip clothing stores, like Areopostale and Urban Outfitters, are built on ripping off designers. You can make cell phone cases that are absolutely identical to Tandy's, down to the stitch, and as long as there's no Tandy logo on it, you can make thousands.

Logos are a completely different story, which is one reason why big designers like Gucci and Louis Vuton put their logo all over everything - it's more obviously a knock off if 90% of what makes the bag unique is the hardware and pattern stamped onto the outside is all logos. Knock off guys will just alter the logo a touch, like Niikes or SQNY, and make nearly identical products. Simple fact is, you can't put a logo that isn't yours on your product. If a Harley guy wants you to put an emblem on your work, that's getting into officially licensed product territory. I might do it quietly as a custom one-off, but I wouldn't be advertising it or making inventory with it.

Recreating artwork is touch and go. Redrawing an image or recreating it in another medium makes it your own, but it's still kinda low to turn around and print it on thousands of items. The more something is copied, the more it becomes a piece of folk art and part of public domain. "End of the Trail" is a pretty famous image and theme, so even though the original artist had no intention of seeing it as a statue or on a belt buckle, he licensed or allowed enough people to copy it without litigation that it's no longer his alone. Which is why Disney goes after anyone using their characters, if you let a few people slide, it opens the floodgates and sets precedent that it's ok.

As an artist, I've caught a company using a piece of Tattoo flash that I drew as a border/background for their advertisements - one clearly had my signature visible in the corner. I drew it, copied it and sold it to plenty of tattoo shops with the intention of allowing tattoo artists to make money off of the design, but in no way did I authorize it to be used as an ad. I went after them with a cease and desist letter and a lawyer, which the settlement barely paid for and the headache and stress weren't worth it. But if you want to keep your artwork your own, you can't let that stuff slide. I've been asked many times to tattoo artwork onto people, and it's pretty much the only exception I know of. The tattoo is a work of art in itself, can't be reclaimed, and the only person profiting is the tattoo artist but for only a single piece.

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At least in Swedish law, you need to achieve a certain "level of originality" to claim copyright. In fact, there are several designers/authors/you name it who make copyright claims that would never hold in a courtroom. On the other hand, obvious plagiarism (apart from being bad form and poor craftmanship) will sooner or later get you in trouble. As someone here wrote: Don´t risk it.

Taking a bit of a design here and a bit of a design there is another thing!

As someone once put it: "Ripping of an entire design is plagiarism and illegal. Stealing little bits from many designs is research - I do a lof of research"

Lasse C

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Dave and interested others: Just being an employee of a company doesn't mean it is okay. About 30 years ago I was asked by a district manager to make 12 buckles for Texaco to give to his junior managers. He also had one made for his boss, which he gave to him. About two weeks after he picked up the order he came by the shop and asked that I not make any more "pleeeeeeeeeese!!!". He said I almost lost my job over this. I didn't suffer any consequences. You really need to get written permission by one authorized to give the permission, especially where trademarks are concerned.

Russ,

That is not much of a grey area to me....he made an object and put a Harley emblem on it....yeah Harley made the emblem but putting it on something he made IMPLIED that it was an official Harley product. DONT DO IT. Good way to get in trouble.

If a customer asks for a Harley emblem on something, he better be from Harley Davidson. If he isn't from HD....politely decline the job or try to encourage him to be creative or let you be creative.... I do it all the time.

Unfortunately, there are many bikers out there who don't have a creative bone in their bodies. Beeze here on LW is an outstanding exception...as are many others...Shirley... etc. Mostly bikers want something they saw on Joe Schmo's bike. Show them some of your creative work....you can lead them where you want them to go.

Dave

Edited by paulburnett

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Interesting topic. When i 1st started in leather, I went thru the harley clothing/jewlery pages of EasyRider & such, to find new ideas. Yeah, very wimpy way to come up with ideas but its exactly what I did 20 yrs ago. I didnt "copy" the clothes at all, wasnt knowledgeable yet enough to sew like that. I did take the keyfobs, earrings, bone necklaces, sh*&it like that. I had aquired enough catalogs to buy all my hardware in bulk for such, and had leather enough. I'd sell these almost exact replicas in unauthorized bike shops' at 1/3rd the cost of having those that had the Harley emblem on them, and for the most~part stronger made pieces. I'd buy in bulk the hardware to reproduce those pieces. and use heavy screwback conchos or whatever that in my oppinion back then had more personality than off-the-shelf HD sh*t didnt.

I do not do that anymore. Its too easy to replicate mass produced, over~reproducted pieces. The guy next door is making the same exact thing so why even bother to "reproduce without infringing on others' copyright" ?? Its a good way to practice your leatherworking but I highly suggest that ya dont put that kinda work out in quanity. It gets embarrassing 15 years later when ya go back to a state where yer young work is still in existance!

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Hello Everyone . . . I haven't posted in a very long time. Hope this finds you all well and happy! Just read through this thread and it reminded me of an experience I had with Harley Davidson on this subject. Claudia and I created a very cool denim and inlay / overlay leather jacket for one of the largest Harley dealers in United States who had close ties to the "people who make the decisions." (I will not mention the dealer) Claudia and I never heard back from them despite numerous phone calls. Three months later our design, NOT in inlay / overlay BUT screen printed was in every Harley Davidson dealer on the planet! I could literally lay my patterns over the screenprinting and they would fit perfectly. They sure are hellbent that the little guy doesn't make a dime on their logo or designs, but when they see a money making opportunity they're all over it. Do you think I have enough money to slam the hammer down on them, PLEASE. This took place many moons ago and I haven't thought about it in a very long time. The small leather craftperson has contributed to the culture of Harley Davidson for over a hundred years. I sure wish all of you awesome leather artists would recreate my logo over and over and over and over etc. When the board of directors walk through a rally and they see their logo on someone's skin do you think they smile or get angry? I will never compliment Harley Davidson by doing their logo in inlay / overlay, but if I did it would be cooler and cleaner than any reproduction they have ever done!

Positively,

Randy

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Well if you want to use the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on something it is up for grabs. Betty Willis came up with the design while working for Western Neon, and it was never copyrighted. Back in 1959 they were just trying to get people to come to the desert to gamble. Betty lives down the road from me, and she is 86 I believe. In one interview she said that it would have been nice to have gotten some royalties since she sees it on everything including underwear now. Betty also said that in a town where big casinos come and go, her little sign has remained, and that makes her proud.

As for artwork. One artist that I know who specializes in pinups doesn't go after people using his images. He looks at it as free advertising, and has even gotten work from people seeing his images on Facebook, etc.

It would be nice if companies wouldn't go after one off uses, like Disney going after the guy who used Dumbo on a saddle. The maker had to cut the image out of the saddle, and show Disney that it had been done.

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grouphug5vj5.gif Ok people let's all come together here. My mother had the same questions with using fabric in her sewing business with Disney and others on it. Here is the case law on it.

It's called the first sale doctrine. The first-sale doctrine is a limitation on copyright that was recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1908 (see Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus) and subsequently codified in the Copyright Act of 1976,17 U.S.C. § 109. The doctrine allows the purchaser to transfer (i.e., sell or give away) a particular lawfully made copy of the copyrighted work without permission once it has been obtained. This means that the copyright holder's rights to control the change of ownership of a particular copy ends once that copy is sold, as long as no additional copies are made. This doctrine is also referred to as the "right of first sale," "first sale rule," or "exhaustion rule."In other jurisdictions, notably France, and, following this example, the European Union, there is no right of first sale for works of art, but instead there is the droit de suite, allowing artists to receive a fee from resale of works of art.

The point is if you buy something ( I.E. Harley conchos, Micky Mouse buttons, Etc,Etc.) and use it in your work it is OK. If you carve a Harley logo into leather out of the blue it is an artist's derivative work.

Lee v. Deck the Walls, Inc, 925 F.Supp. 576 (N.D.Ill.1996), A "derivative work" is a "work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted."

The First Sale Doctrine"The whole point of the first sale doctrine is that once the copyright owner places a copyrighted item in the stream of commerce by selling it, he has exhausted his exclusive statutory right to control its distribution."

Justice Stevens, delivering an opinion for a unanimous Supreme Court in the case QUALITY KING DISTRIBUTORS, INC. v. L'ANZA RESEARCH INT'L, INC. (96-1470), 98 F.3d 1109, reversed.

More great court case quotes found here. case law quote

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grouphug5vj5.gif Ok people let's all come together here. My mother had the same questions with using fabric in her sewing business with Disney and others on it. Here is the case law on it.

It's called the first sale doctrine. The first-sale doctrine is a limitation on copyright that was recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1908 (see Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus) and subsequently codified in the Copyright Act of 1976,17 U.S.C. § 109. The doctrine allows the purchaser to transfer (i.e., sell or give away) a particular lawfully made copy of the copyrighted work without permission once it has been obtained. This means that the copyright holder's rights to control the change of ownership of a particular copy ends once that copy is sold, as long as no additional copies are made. This doctrine is also referred to as the "right of first sale," "first sale rule," or "exhaustion rule."In other jurisdictions, notably France, and, following this example, the European Union, there is no right of first sale for works of art, but instead there is the droit de suite, allowing artists to receive a fee from resale of works of art.

The point is if you buy something ( I.E. Harley conchos, Micky Mouse buttons, Etc,Etc.) and use it in your work it is OK. If you carve a Harley logo into leather out of the blue it is an artist's derivative work.

Lee v. Deck the Walls, Inc, 925 F.Supp. 576 (N.D.Ill.1996), A "derivative work" is a "work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted."

The First Sale Doctrine"The whole point of the first sale doctrine is that once the copyright owner places a copyrighted item in the stream of commerce by selling it, he has exhausted his exclusive statutory right to control its distribution."

Justice Stevens, delivering an opinion for a unanimous Supreme Court in the case QUALITY KING DISTRIBUTORS, INC. v. L'ANZA RESEARCH INT'L, INC. (96-1470), 98 F.3d 1109, reversed.

More great court case quotes found here. case law quote

RE: Tooling the Harley Logo, etc.

Keep in mind though, that:

"In order for a work to qualify as a derivative work it must be independently copyrightable." From Woods v Bourne, 60 F. 3d 978 (2d Cir. 1995)

There we held that "there must be at least some substantial variation [from the underlying work], not merely a trivial variation." Batlin, 536 F.2d at 491

Simply applying the logo to a different medium (tooling it on leather) does not qualify it as a derivative work if all of the artistic elements aside from the medium remain the same. Doing so places you in jeopardy of Trademark infringement (the Harley logo itself is a Trademark, not a copyrighted work of art) if upon presenting the item to the general public, a reasonable person could mistake it as officially licensed products of the company.

However, here's the loophole:

A disclaimer expressly declaring that the seller is "not affiliated" with the owner of the trademark or is "not an authorized distributor" of the trademark owner's products has been held to be an effective means of preventing confusion in the minds of consumers as to affiliation with the owner of the trademark.

----------

For conchos & such, I fully agree and here is another defense for their use in our work:

Lee v. Deck the Walls, Inc, 925 F.Supp. 576 (N.D.Ill.1996), ART made no changes, alterations, reproductions, transformations, or adaptations of the notecards and, instead, resold the same notecards using a different method of display. This resale is permissible under the Copyright Act.

We are simply reselling the conchos. The fact that they are attached to a saddle or bag or otherwise doesn't matter. Want to play it safe? List the bag, saddle, etc. separately from the conchos on your invoices.

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Hi all,

I have a specific piece of leatherwork I am working on and would like your input. I am a Star Trek fan and would like to sell this piece I am making but I don't want to do something wrong either.

It is a picture of a hand with the phrase "Live long and prosper" Spock. I drew the hand myself but am just not sure about the infringement issues. Thanks for any light you can shine on the subject grouphug5vj5.gif

Ellen

post-17944-008159400 1302127466_thumb.jp

post-17944-035149900 1302127482_thumb.jp

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I have a question that someone can probably answer. Thinking about dog collars and leashes and many online companies sell basic leather goods that contain studs, dots, conchos, etc. from Tandy on them. I've heard of people claiming copyright infringement because someone put the decorative bits from Tandy on in a particular way or design and someone else duplicated it. Where does the law stand on this? Can someone claim a design using decorative bits publicly available from Tandy?

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As a general rule the patterns from Tandy are copyrighted. Therefore if you make a collor where the pattern is a Tandy copyright then it would be considered a derivative work. They can only copyright the changes they made not the original pattern and then can only distribute with Tandy's permission. Chances of them being allowed to copyright a Tandy copyright is probably not likely. Read the following link. http://copyright.gov/circs/circ14.pdf. It will help. Below is a portion of that page.

Copyright Protection in Derivative Work

The copyright in a derivative work covers only the additions,

changes, or other new material appearing for the first time in

the work. It does not extend to any preexisting material and

does not imply a copyright in that material.

One cannot extend the length of protection for a copyrighted

work by creating a derivative work. A work that has

fallen into the public domain, that is, a work that is no longer

protected by copyright, can be used for a derivative work,

but the copyright in the derivative work will not restore the

copyright of the public-domain material. Neither will it prevent

anyone else from using the same public-domain work

for another derivative work.

In any case where a protected work is used unlawfully,

that is, without the permission of the copyright owner, copyright

will not be extended to the illegally used part.

As a general rule most people are wrong in cases like this, where they start with someones copyright as the basis.

All the above is my understanding. I could be totally wrong. Only a copyright lawyer or someone who does this as a profession can give you accurate information that you can follow.

Michael

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10 big myths about copyrights explained.

excerpt

10 Big Myths about copyright explained

An attempt to answer common myths about copyright seen on the net and cover issues related to copyright and USENET/Internet publication.

- by Brad Templeton

Note that this is an essay about copyright myths. It assumes you know at least what copyright is -- basically the legal exclusive right of the author of a creative work to control the copying of that work. If you didn't know that, check out my own brief introduction to copyright for more information.

continue here 10 big myths about copyrights explained.

Michael

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......

Michael

Michael, I dont know if your response was to me or someone else, but I wanted to clarify that in my question, no one is using designs from Tandy. I'm strictly referring to the use of decorative spots, rivets, conchos, etc available from Tandy. For instance, store XYZ creates leather dog collars and decorates them with brass spots available for purchase from Tandy. They placed these brass spots in a pattern they chose. Store XYZ then sells these collars on their website for a set price. Now another store ABC see's these collars and realizes that all the spots used are available from Tandy and decides to duplicate the same pattern as seen on XYZ's website and also sell them. My question is if duplicating a pattern in this manor is wrong? All the spots are purchased from Tandy for both parties, so I dont understand if the order they are placed is copyrighted and can't be duplicated. If it is wrong, where does it stand on offering plain leather collars, leashes, belts, etc as I'm sure someone owns the right to every kind of plain leather strip with a buckle on it.

I hope that makes it easier to answer.

Edited by Nefarious

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Short answer is if ABC is copying the design of XYZ's collars...specifically the decorative/artistic arrangement of them...then ABC is violating the copyright because they are duplicating the pattern someone else arranged.

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Michael, I dont know if your response was to me or someone else, but I wanted to clarify that in my question, no one is using designs from Tandy. I'm strictly referring to the use of decorative spots, rivets, conchos, etc available from Tandy. For instance, store XYZ creates leather dog collars and decorates them with brass spots available for purchase from Tandy. They placed these brass spots in a pattern they chose. Store XYZ then sells these collars on their website for a set price. Now another store ABC see's these collars and realizes that all the spots used are available from Tandy and decides to duplicate the same pattern as seen on XYZ's website and also sell them. My question is if duplicating a pattern in this manor is wrong? All the spots are purchased from Tandy for both parties, so I dont understand if the order they are placed is copyrighted and can't be duplicated. If it is wrong, where does it stand on offering plain leather collars, leashes, belts, etc as I'm sure someone owns the right to every kind of plain leather strip with a buckle on it.

I hope that makes it easier to answer.

I was not responding to you. I am now. FYI I am not a lawyer. Only a lawyer can really answer your questions. The information below concerns a Supreme court ruling about this matter. You can copyright a design or pattern. If you want to protect it from being duplicated by others for fun or profit you need to apply for and obtain a patent. A copyright does not prevent you from duplicating a pattern for your own use or sale. A Patent does. This will raise a large discussion but read the following then read the whole item here.

In Baker v Selden, 101 US 99 (1879), the Supreme Court specifically addressed the issue of whether or not something made from copyrighted information in a book was covered by the copyright on that book. The Court said, "The mere statement of the proposition is so evident, that it requires hardly any argument to support it." The Supreme Court felt the whole idea was so obvious that it took little explanation but it explained it anyway:

A treatise on the composition and use of medicines, be they old or new; on the construction and use of ploughs, or watches, or churns; or on the mixture and application of colors for painting or dyeing; or on the mode of drawing lines to produce the effect of perspective, would be the subject of copyright; but
no one would contend that the copyright of the treatise would give the exclusive right to the art or manufacture described therein.
[emphasis added]

The Supreme Court in Baker v Selden then went on to say:

That is the province of letters-patent, not of copyright. The claim to an invention or discovery of an art or manufacture must be subjected to the examination of the Patent Office before an exclusive right therein can be obtained; and it can only be secured by a patent from the government.

What the Supreme Court was saying was that is if someone wanted to claim an exclusive right to a product, they needed to apply for a patent. Once one copyrighted material and published that material, the information contained in the material was openly available for the public to use as they wished. Copyright only granted the copyright holder the exclusive right to publish the material, not to control how the material was used.

In Baker v Selden, the Supreme Court also specifically addressed the "practical application" of patterns and rejecting the notion that a copyright would cover the dress made from the pattern:

In
Drury v. Ewing
(1 Bond, 540), ..., a copyright was claimed in a chart of patterns for cutting dresses and basques for ladies, and coats, jackets, &c., for boys. It is obvious that such designs could only be printed and published for information, and not for use in themselves. Their practical use could only be exemplified in cloth on the tailor's board and under his shears; in other words, by the application of a mechanical operation to the cutting of cloth in certain patterns and forms. Surely the exclusive right to this practical use was not reserved to the publisher by his copyright of the chart.

Under Works of The Visual Arts, the US Copyright Office lists "Patterns for sewing, knitting, crochet, needlework" as examples of what "may" qualify for copyright registration. From the US Copyright Office, Circular 40, Copyright Registration for Works of the Visual Arts [in PDF format], page 2, Useful Articles:

Copyright in a work that portrays a useful article extends only to the artistic expression of the author of the pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work. It does not extend to the design of the article that is portrayed. For example, a drawing or photograph of an automobile or a dress design may be copyrighted, but that
does not give the artist or photographer the exclusive right to make automobiles or dresses of the same design
. [emphasis added]

There is no such thing in US Copyright Law that gives a copyright owner the authority to impose restrictions upon the use of copyrighted material once it has been sold or given away by the copyright owner. There is no such thing in U.S. Copyright Law concerning the "moral rights" of a copyright holder. Selling an item relinquishes future control over that item unless BOTH parties agree otherwise or unless otherwise specifically stated by law. And, there is no protection under the so-called "common law copyright" for things that are defined as being eligible for federal copyright nor is there "common law copyright" protection for things defined as being ineligible for federal copyright protection.

We cannot locate a single federal lawsuit that went to trial where someone has been sued over the use of a pattern. Consider the millions of patterns that have been sold in the last sixty years plus and not one lawsuit? It certainly cannot be because purchasers are strictly following the demands of the pattern manufacturers. Patterns manufacturers do not have the legal right to make many of the demands that they make. Of the major pattern companies, Simplicity, Butterick, McCalls and Vogue, not one has posted on their web sites anything remotely concerning customer limitations on the use of their patterns. Why do you suppose that is? They know they cannot legally restrict the use but they will tell you differently if you email them. The pattern companies are in the business of selling patterns and the great majority of them routinely lie about the use of those patterns. Pattern manufacturers and designers do not have the statutory right to control how many items are made from their patterns or what is done with these items. Imagine purchasing a book on how to build a shed in your back yard from your local hardware store. The book certainly has plans (patterns) and instructions and is copyrighted. Do you expect to have to get permission from the hardware store, the lumberyard, the paint store and the book publisher before you build the shed? Of course not. And then ask for permission to post a picture of this shed on Facebook? Of course not. It is YOUR shed.

Then, after building the shed, since you no longer require the services of this book, you sell it at a yard sale. Do you need permission to sell this book? Of course not. It is YOUR book. And the purchaser of this yard sale book? Does the purchaser need to ask the same permissions as well to build the same shed? Of course not. Sound silly? But this is what pattern designers expect everyone else to do. They are stuck on stupid. And they think you are stupid.

A pattern can be a template, or set of templates, for manufacturing an item, be it a birdhouse or a dress. Templates are not copyrightable. A pattern can also be drawings accompanied by instructions for knitting, crocheting or quilting. A method or procedure is not copyrightable. While the drawings themselves could possibly qualify for copyright protection, the actual instructions are not copyrightable. The only other aspect of patterns that could possibly qualify for copyright protection would be the artwork and that would only be if its intrinsic properties allowed it to be separable from the design, which very, very few designs can do. And to be enforced in federal court a copyright almost always must be registered with the US Copyright Office. When someone releases patterns into the stream of commerce they effectively have relinquished control over the uses of that pattern. What we find disturbing is that there are so many people who want to believe that a pattern manufacturer or a fabric manufacturer has the right to tell you what you can and cannot do after you buy their product. It just is not so. Imagine if General Motors tried to tell you where and when to drive a vehicle you purchased from them. Would you listen to them? Of course not! Read what Carolyn V. Peters, Esq. says about patterns and why the pattern copyright does not cover the end product. She makes a few comments with which we take issue here.

A copyright statement as defined in the US Copyright Act is using the symbol © along with the word "copyright" (or abbreviated "Copr."), the first year of publication of the work, and the name of the copyright owner. Nothing else. Any other statement by the copyright owner is irrelevant, extraneous, unenforceable and improper. Yet companies, and individuals, persist in issuing what they call their "copyright statements".

Pattern designers do not have the legal right to tell you what you can and cannot do with patterns that you have purchased from them. Period. Even if the pattern is a federally registered copyright, and very, very few are, their claims exceed the rights granted under copyright law. Period. They are lying to you. Period. Why are they lying to you? We think some believe what they say. We think some are just plain fools running their mouths. The rest are control freaks. None are correct.

Michael

Edited by mlapaglia

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Thanks Michael, that was very informative. I'll be sure to refer all instances of "running down case law on issues" to you!!!! Outstanding effort finding all of that.

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Thanks,

This particular topic is a strong interest of mine. Glad to help. Of course being a little OC doesn't hurt either.

Michael

Edited by mlapaglia

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Thanks,

This particular topic is a strong interest of mine. Glad to help. Of course being a little OC doesn't hurt either.

Michael

I just took the time to read this whole thread although I'll admit at times my eyes glazed over. I don't understand why people are worrying about disney, harley etc. when I see photos of people's original work HERE being downloaded over and over. Are there people who just come to this board to work from other's pics of finished projects, or not so finished even?

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It has happened on other boards. No reason to believe it isnt happening here.

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I know there are laws against it, but I have seen alot of stuff out there that I know is copy righted....and /or a trademark. I'm sure I could spend days reading stuff on the internet and get totally confused, I was more interrested in what was "acccepted" with the "leather Pros".

You want to open a pandoras box , if your worried about all that stuff then you had better not post anything

because even have of the words you say are prone to copyright , best way is if anyone objects delete it , they will give warning anyway ,

if you are selling something then you are more prone to copyright and you should not be using copyright material ( which is anything you did not create )

regards

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