Woodworking Talk banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,028 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone know the legal aspects of selling items that were made from plans, slightly altered (woodsmith magazine)? thanks in advance
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
303 Posts
Unless you were a large business or woodworking celebrity,selling a ton under your company or personal name, I don't think there is much to worry about.

Of course, the legal eagles will be quick to spell out the copyright and intellectual property laws. With good cause I suppose.

To me, I don't see it as much different than following directions to bake a cake. But with some plans, more effort may went to protecting the design.
Especially if it is something unique .

Basically, the plan itself is copyrighted. If you were to make copies of the plan and resell them, that would be blatant copyright infringement. The business interest side of things for them are the plans themselves. Not a finished product made from those plans.

I don't see a big risk with making something from a design and selling it as your own handiwork. Especially if some changes were made. But I'm not a lawyer.

You have a right to be compensated for the time and materials.

Also. if you were a reknown furniture maker, than you would risk not only being sued, but labeled as a fraud if you made something from a plan and advertised it as your own design.

Most home hobbiest are flying way below the radar IMO to have much to worry about in this matter.

Common sense still matters. Don't misrepresent something if it can come back to bite you later. Especially if its a totally unique design or patent.

Your client could also come back at you.If they were led to believe they were getting a unique design from you.

Only to find out later that the piece was built based on a design by someone else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,529 Posts
I saw a note about this from one of the magazines, but I don't recall which. Their commentary was that if you're making them for yourself or your family, it's fine. I think they said selling things was OK if it was a project that they created (you'd basically bought the plans and rights to use them when you bought the magazine), but that if it was a reader-submitted plan you couldn't sell them. I don't recall the details, though... I'd say ctwiggs1 is correct. Just email or call and ask the magazine directly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,647 Posts
You should try to be up front and ask them what their position is.

There's a 2-volume set of art books, "Learning by Designing" which illuminate the various regional carving and drawing styles of the Pacific Northwest Native people. Authors are Jim Gilbert & Karin Clark.
I wanted to attempt some wood carvings based upon some of the art work in those books. So, I wrote to them via the publisher. I would have been uncomfortable not to do so.
Got a very nice response to say yes, go ahead, use any of it. It had been their intention that the illustrations (hundreds of them) would inspire students, artists and carvers. Further, Clark said that if I alterd 3+ things in the design, the result is mine, alone.
 

·
amateur
Joined
·
235 Posts
Not only is it a copyright issue but it potentially is a contract issue.

For example, if you purchase plans from a designer that includes, in its terms and conditions of the sale, the restriction against selling items made as a result of purchasing the plans you would be in breech of contract if you made and sold items. The copyright status is largely irrelevant in this instance.

I believe that Wood magazine includes such language in its terms and conditions when you purchase plans. I am not sure about other magazines. I doubt that the magazines themselves have this restriction.

My understanding is that a "design" is rarely copyrighted and even more infrequently protected through the courts. I think that it would have to be something quite unique to qualify.

Regarding your question, I would take the "design" make it a "derivative work" by adding your own design and construction changes or enhancements. For example, instead of building a table to specs with turned legs, use tapered legs instead. Or change the drawer layout and knob configuration.

The further you get from the "plans" the easier it is for you to ethically state that the item is a "derivative work" and you would not be restricted.

Greg
 
  • Like
Reactions: TimPa

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,838 Posts
There are several things to do or consider here. Calling, emailing or just reading past or current issues with similar type plans may clear it up. This is what I know from my dealings with this stuff.

As stated design is generally not protected by copyright but rather a patent. However I have heard of woodworking copyright disputes over turned item. Never understood nor found out what the ruling was on that matter. A turning is unique in wood and shape. If a copier is used then it is still different in the wood which could affect how the whole thing looks. Patent's are the hardest to get and i doubt it would pass here, Tn don't apply and I have doubts about copyrights especially if you changed it enough.

Your making these one at a time. When I was dealing with the NFL. Original art was excluded from the protection of the TM. Meaning They could approve or disapprove my license request, if approved they could charge me a royalty fee on any reproduction from my art. However If I hand drew or painted each item then I was free to do so.

Although that is a little different. They have Looney Tunes lawn sign patterns that are sold and meant to be painted. So each one is hand made but they have fine print that states the patterns are to be used for personal use only.

If you look in the magazine where you found those plans even if its different plans you may find some print stating if they are for personal use.

Once a copyrighted item is substantially changed. Meaning it has to be obvious that it is different it is now considered a different item and can be copyrighted it's self'

They even have different rules for enforcing the copyright law based on if it's a registered copyright or not. A picture, drawing etc is copyrighted at time of creation automatically. Registered copyrights have greater powers to enforce and monies to get when the copyright is infringed on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,801 Posts
I purchased plans for a circular picnic table with apple cut outs in the base years ago and the plans stated right on them that the purchaser could make for sale 25 items.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,028 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
thank you all for your inputs. fyi... i had contacted woodsmith and they responded today saying that, we can do what we wish with the products. however, there has to be total separation from woodsmith, any words or names from the plans, pics, etc.. e.g. no "woodsmith cutting board", just the actual product.

I thought this was very generous of them.
 

·
amateur
Joined
·
235 Posts
thank you all for your inputs. fyi... i had contacted woodsmith and they responded today saying that, we can do what we wish with the products. however, there has to be total separation from woodsmith, any words or names from the plans, pics, etc.. e.g. no "woodsmith cutting board", just the actual product.

I thought this was very generous of them.

It is generous and probably builds a great deal of good will. And reduces their lawyer's billings. Which never can be bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,718 Posts
Unless you were a large business or woodworking celebrity,selling a ton under your company or personal name, I don't think there is much to worry about.

Of course, the legal eagles will be quick to spell out the copyright and intellectual property laws. With good cause I suppose.

To me, I don't see it as much different than following directions to bake a cake. But with some plans, more effort may went to protecting the design.
Especially if it is something unique .

Basically, the plan itself is copyrighted. If you were to make copies of the plan and resell them, that would be blatant copyright infringement. The business interest side of things for them are the plans themselves. Not a finished product made from those plans.

I don't see a big risk with making something from a design and selling it as your own handiwork. Especially if some changes were made. But I'm not a lawyer.

You have a right to be compensated for the time and materials.

Also. if you were a reknown furniture maker, than you would risk not only being sued, but labeled as a fraud if you made something from a plan and advertised it as your own design.

Most home hobbiest are flying way below the radar IMO to have much to worry about in this matter.

Common sense still matters. Don't misrepresent something if it can come back to bite you later. Especially if its a totally unique design or patent.

Your client could also come back at you.If they were led to believe they were getting a unique design from you.

Only to find out later that the piece was built based on a design by someone else.
+1 always keep your Purchased plans safe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26,339 Posts
I think your biggest problem making products from plans is someone figured out they couldn't make it selling the products so they are trying to sell the plans. I wouldn't be concerned with copyright issues.

 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,838 Posts
I think your biggest problem making products from plans is someone figured out they couldn't make it selling the products so they are trying to sell the plans. I wouldn't be concerned with copyright issues.
I would disagree. Lats say you sell something and only make $15-$20 profit because it's a small item. You sell 50 a year. You figure out that you can profit $10 each selling the plans on line and sell 1000 a year for doing no work what so ever. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Not to mention what sells here may not sell there and so on. If it wasn't profitable selling planes you would have companies like Winfield Collect and we damn sure wouldn't be having Ted problems all the time on this forum.:laughing:

With that said I don't buy plans very often, well actually only one time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
575 Posts
I read something not that long ago, don't remember exactly what but it was a woodworking plan for something. It said that you were free to make and sell the products as you want but if you had employees making them for you that you had to contact them. Something to that order.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,160 Posts
I saw a note about this from one of the magazines, but I don't recall which. Their commentary was that if you're making them for yourself or your family, it's fine. I think they said selling things was OK if it was a project that they created (you'd basically bought the plans and rights to use them when you bought the magazine), but that if it was a reader-submitted plan you couldn't sell them. I don't recall the details, though... I'd say ctwiggs1 is correct. Just email or call and ask the magazine directly.
You are correct. The magazine was Wood.

In the past I have seen that only personal, non-commercial use was printed on some plans. I would guess that if there is no obvious printed restriction on the plan, the plan could be used by anyone for as many copies as they wanted. I'm not a lawyer though.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,762 Posts
There is no hard and fast rule, each provider has their own terms as to what you are allowed to do with their plans.

This was discussed a few years ago in another forum along with the replies from most of the major publishers.

Best advice is to ask the publisher, then you know exactly where you stand.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top