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Daily Wire Tip Nov. 2: Copyright and Jewelry Design
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
November 2, 2010
What is your take on copyright of patterns that are published, and when people make the item to sell?
-Deanna in Edmonton, Alberta
Hi Deanna, this is a question I am often asked and one that I am sure will open a huge discussion!
Although I cannot speak for everyone who authors a pattern in a magazine, an Internet tutorial, or on an instructional DVD, the majority of us offer patterns and directions with the intention of people using them to recreate either the exact design or a variation, to be used by the creator to give as a gift or to sell.
What we do not authorize by presenting these patterns is the direct or indirect copying of the pattern in any way to either be passed out at a group class, rewritten as a tutorial (with the student claiming the design as their own), taught by the student to a class as their own design, or the finished physical version being advertised and/or sold as an “original” design of the creator!
All of the Free Email Patterns and the Free Wire Patterns and Ideas presented by the Wire-Sculpture Faculty and me are available for you to use, make and resell the finished items. Thanks for asking!
Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong
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November 2, 2010 at 8:56 am
Thanks for your input about this subject and thanks for allowing us to use your patterns to make items to sell. I am concientious about giving credit to the artist when I use their patterns on the internet or my website. But here’s my question, how long should I give credit to the artist? Every time I design something even remotely like the one I learned from a tutorial, magazine or book it will be “inspired by” that artist.
November 2, 2010 at 10:58 pm
You are all very welcome Barbara, and we thank you for giving credit where it is due, however you don’t have to take things to the extreme – we want you to enjoy making and selling your pieces!
I have to tell you all about something that happened to me in Moscow this past August. In one of my master classes the lady sitting next to me (her name is Alla) had a really lovely, beaded pendant on; I told her I thought it was beautiful and she said:
“Thank-you, yes it is my work, but it is not my design.”
What a refreshing comment to hear from another accomplished jewelry artist!
November 2, 2010 at 9:28 am
I appreciate your answer so very much! I create tutorials & get asked this question too. I feel that you answered it perfectly!
November 2, 2010 at 9:46 am
When I create something that was originally designed by someone else, whether it is exact or not I always give thanks to the artist on a card attached to the piece…this way I can feel comfortable when selling it…Debbie
November 2, 2010 at 1:08 pm
Copyrighting is all but impossible. I recently seen a necklace online being sold by a jewelry site and it is one I thought I created. I had never seen one before, I had drawn it out on paper and created it months ago. So it may be new and original to you, but someone else may have had the same idea.
November 2, 2010 at 10:48 pm
Gina, just think–your creativity is heading the the ‘right’ direction. It is not impossible for two or more people in different parts of the world to come up with similar designs in the same time frame. Pretty amazing, brings to mind the phrase ‘everything old is new again’.
November 2, 2010 at 1:14 pm
AMEN! I’ve never understood the publishing of a pattern with the caveat that you cannot make the item to sell. Its a given as far as I’m concerned that a published pattern is for use, not just admiration. However, that said, credit goes where credit is due!!! When you had your clearance on the older DVDs I bought extras for friends and to sell to customers (for what I paid mostly). And I tell people all the time that I learned my skills from wiresculpture.com DVDs!!! Few of my designs are entirely original. Some great person, somewhere on the web or from a book taught me the basics and I am not ashamed to acknowledge them!!! My work is mine, my adaptations are mine but I bless those who inspired me!
November 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm
Thank you Dale! I have looked in a few places on the net and never seemed to find a simple, straight answer. I give great respect to the design work of others, and want to give credit where credit is due.
November 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm
Great question. Copyrights on jewelry seem to me to be crazy, I agree with Gina. I know of a silversmith in San Diego, California that makes wonderful Day of the Dead pieces, she has put a copyright on her pieces RIDICULOUS. I don’t even know how she can get away with this, because the pieces she has made are pieces that Posada, an artist from Mexico, made famous and now she has put a copyright on them because she has been making them in silver. She also uses many icons and symbols from the Mexican culture and tradition. I’m Mexican and have been doing that for years and would never think of putting a copyright on Day of the Dead jewelry or any of my traditions and cultures, they are already there it’s just my interpretation in silver. Go figure
November 10, 2011 at 9:48 am
Thank you for making this question clear. I never was quite sure how the copyright laws pertain to jewelry making of patterns from others.
February 1, 2012 at 4:52 pm
I agree with Deanna…I cannot find a straight answer to this question either! Recently, I encountered an incident where I had made a bracelet similar to a picture of one I had seen on the internet. The base of it was the same but the beads I had incorporated into it were different and I posted a picture of it on one of my favorite sites so my circle of friends there could see it. I never took credit for the design at all but must admit that I failed to mention were the ‘inspiration’ came from. I was just very pleased with myself that was able to figure out how to do it without buying a tutorial! Boy, I got raked over the coals for stealing! This design was made by using those new Tila beads and in my short experience, I feel that they are quite limited in how they will fit together compared to other beads. My question is, can you actually put a copyright on the basic technique of the base of a design like this or does the copyright really only apply to the written tutorial for it? And can a person actually run into problems from looking at a picture?
February 12, 2012 at 11:11 am
I totally understand your confusion, Elaine, however I am not a licensed attorney therefore I really cannot give you more advice than I have – – – BUT I can send you to a blog where you will find most of the answers to your questions!! Please take the time to search through and read: artsandcraftslaw
February 13, 2012 at 7:36 pm
Thank you so very much, Dale! I will definitely check it out…thanks!
February 12, 2012 at 10:59 am
For an update on this subject, please visit:
all my best,
June 13, 2013 at 11:39 am
I am going crazy with this copyright issue. I just checked with companies that have tutorials on their sites and sell the material necessary to make the jewelry. They are telling me flat out “No” I can not sell the jewelry I make at craft fairs around the holidays. This is not logical to me – if you teach the how and sell the material, how can you stop people from selling. What is you position, opinion. Thanks for your time.
June 13, 2013 at 11:39 am
I am going crazy with this copyright issue. I just checked with companies that have tutorials on their sites and sell the material necessary to make the jewelry. They are telling me flat out \"No\" I can not sell the jewelry I make at craft fairs around the holidays. This is not logical to me – if you teach the how and sell the material, how can you stop people from selling. What is you position, opinion. Thanks for your time.