Forums General Discussion Looking for Opinions

6 replies, 5 voices Last updated by Alan Balmer 1 week, 6 days ago
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  • #6547

    mr-john
    Participant
    @Mr.John

    Many designers, such as the recent example of Wayne Emery’s designs, have given permission for their designs to be available to the public in an electronic format (.gem for example). Yet others have published designs for purchase as hard copy only (no Gemcad files). My understanding is that this is done typically to protect the designs from being changed and passed on as the author’s work.

    For that population of hard copy only designs, if a person took the time to enter a design into an electronic format and added the disclaimer that the design is not the original designers own work, but is an interpretation of their work, can those electronic files then be shared openly?

    #6548

    Dan Lynch
    Participant
    @danlynch

    I think you’ll get varied responses to this question. If someone has copyrighted their designs and only sells them in hard copy then putting their design into electronic form and sharing would be against the copyright. Modifying it slightly to get around this could also be against the copyright. That said I’ve seen a number of designs in books that are listed and posted by others and open files online. It’s quite possible very similar designs are out there. Also have not personally heard of anyone going after anyone for infringement. For the USFG, we will only post designs on our database with the authors approval. Some of the initial files only gave permission for pdfs to be shared.

    #6549

    It is important to distinguish between a copyright on printed material versus a patent. The copyright only covers copying the printed page and distributing it. If a design is patented then the use of the design will limit direct copying the features identified in the copyright. So, although I’m not a lawyer, I’ve been involved with the issues involved with copyrights on printed material and our lawyer did repeat to me what I said. He said that creating an alternate form of the meaning of the copyright material on to another instance is not a violation of the copyright. Electronic CAD instances will not violate the copyright.

    So, to completely change the subject, it is morally corrupt to copy the design either from the paper copy or a CAD file that represents the same design and not clearly identify the author of the design. It is completely legal to make changes and reference the author’s original design as your source of inspiration and label it as your design. You will see many examples of that done by many faceting design contributors published on various websites or FB pages.

    Remember, these aren’t legally qualified statements from me or the USFG. As Dan said, the USFG does receive permission from the original author or his estate to put information on the USFG site.

    #6551

    Alan Balmer
    Keymaster
    @alanbalmer

    It is completely legal to make changes and reference the author’s original design as your source of inspiration and label it as your design.

    Derivative works of copyrighted materials are also a violation. It’s hard to quantify what degree of change is needed to not be derivative. Some have argued that all designs are derivative. Others hold (perhaps facetiously) that all designs are derivatives of designs so old they aren’t copyrighted. Probably the only thing that saves us is that the settlement isn’t worth the cost of litigation 🙂

    #6560

    Lowjiber
    Participant
    @Lowjiber

    I thought about this for a couple of days, knowing there is no clear-cut answer and we all have opinions.

    Undoubtedly, there are a few people in the faceting world who are unscrupulous and want to publish a slightly modified version of someone else’s work as their own. Just changing a design via tangent ratio to match the material does not seem to me to be illegal. However, publishing the work as one’s own is, in my opinion, the lowest form of “design”.

    For example, if I put a mustache on the Mona Lisa, it’s still the Mona Lisa… just not my work.

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    #6562

    mr-john
    Participant
    @Mr.John

    We are in agreement – nobody should take another person’s work and put their own name on it. But, that’s not what I’m talking about.

    I’ll be specific – a couple of late designers (of which I’m aware, perhaps there are more) sold their designs by releasing them only on paper – never in electronic files such as GemCad. If I Xerox off the paper and give it to you, we can pretty clearly say that something was violated.

    However, if those drawings are interpreted into an electronic format such as GemCut Studio, credit given to the designer, and a note saying that the electronic file is not the designers work, but is instead an interpretation of their work into an electronic format – is that violating something?

    I can tell you that a number of the designs have typos (wrong angles) or otherwise do not work as presented, so the electronic files have identified and repaired some inconsistencies. Additionally, a number of them contain floating facets which would be extremely difficult for a cutter to reproduce. Most designs do work as depicted.

    Be that as it may – is my interpretation of the original design (crediting the designer for their work) something I can freely share without violating something?

    #6563

    Alan Balmer
    Keymaster
    @alanbalmer

    I think we need an IP lawyer to weigh in. My feeling is no, it’s not OK to distribute a design that you have reproduced with GemCad. I doubt that it’s legal to distribute a copyrighted novel reproduced in Braille. Consider the definition of fair use – it’s not fair use if it impairs the copyright holder’s market. If you reproduce one of Jeff Graham’s books in GemCad format and distribute it, why would anyone buy the book?

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