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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 07-04-2010 06:08 PM 1020 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4189 posts in 3155 days

07-04-2010 06:08 PM

More than ever the topic on our minds these days is the theft of our plans or other original property. I once commented about how a producer of heritage furniture once published a book of his furniture designs. This designer/maker in Portland, Maine published a book full of drawings of his signature products, complete with scale drawings and dimensions, and astoundingly, placed a lawsuit on somebody that was building and selling furniture identical to his own, based on the contents of the book. Hey, wait a minute here…what could anyone expect, measured drawings in a book of a renowned furniture maker would almost certainly result in identical copies made by others, right?
And so it would be, in a gallery, one could easily get the dimensions and details from a piece on display, reverse-engineer it, and produce it in their own shop. Which brings me to this question: I wonder what the prevailing attitude is among cookbook publishers? Do their recipes become public domain in the eyes of the copiers? And what of the food produced as a result of these recipes? Should the writer of a said recipe be given a royalty whenever someone bakes a cake using his/her recipe? What if the world’s next Hostess Twinkie (i.e. a commercial success) was made from a recipe found in somebody’s cookbook of original recipes? Does this ever really happen in the real world? Or have the foodies already thrown in the towel as far as plagiarism/piracy goes. Jeez, seems like every school or church fundraising book of recipes is a collection of plagiarized material….right? Come to think of it, I know that mapmakers will put either a spelling error or a ‘watermark’ of sorts on their street maps, sometimes creating an imaginary street with an imaginary name, with which they can bust a competitor who is ‘borrowing’ their work. Please discuss.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

4 replies so far

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8523 posts in 3069 days

#1 posted 07-04-2010 06:19 PM

there was an interview with a renowned cook from Boston about a couple of weeks ago on the radio. he basically stated that amongst the chefs in the area they each know the other’s recipes, and the idea is not who’s recipe is who, but more how well they make it, and how they go about making it. cooking is very much like freehand routing/carving – you follow a pattern/drawing, but you really are free handed in the sense that a lot can vary between 2 executions.

Other than that – they said they are not stingy with their recipes, and that their work draws customers in either way. it’s not you pick one and done with it (considering people eat 3 times a day… the market is slightly different than someone buying 1 cabinet for the den…)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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4189 posts in 3155 days

#2 posted 07-04-2010 07:55 PM

Thanks, Purp for another great reply! You added the dimension i’d been missing in my attitude about blatant copying: That people have different skills and different levels of ability even when following a proscribed set of directions. Your point is well-taken, sir! This certainly must figure into bigger picture, whether it’s cooking, woodworking, software, music, or other artistic pursuit. Still, not much solace to scrollsaw patternmakers, designers of woodworking plans, or writers who must daily deal with the blatant piracy of their work.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 2691 days

#3 posted 07-04-2010 08:31 PM

You have to remember that new woodworkers usually have to copy to learn. When I was starting out…I would see something I like….measure it…look at the joints…and then try to duplicate them. I copied my grandfather’s work for quite a while. But Always, when asked or when describing the project, I would give the design credit to the designer. We also have to remember that almost every style has been done before somewhere …..Even some of the most innovative stuff is usually a combination of things that have been done before but the current designer has taken it a step further and made it their own. I would be very hard to copywrite dovetails, splines…or any of the general woodworking styles in use today.

I think we all are more concerned when these pirates take someone else’s ideas copies them exactly and calls them their own. I object to this most of all. Designing new projects takes alot of hard work, skill and artistry. I believe that the person who did all this work deserves the credit for what they have achieved. Anyone that wants to use a design should always ask the designer/builder if they can use their style before they go forward. Honest folks don’t mind paying a fair price for the ideas also – I did this for the Maloof inspired chair….and have done the same for any project that I duplicate from another. I believe it is also fair and honest to give the credit to where it is due.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View rhett's profile


734 posts in 3088 days

#4 posted 07-04-2010 08:57 PM

I’m with reggiek, if you copy it, then give credit where credit is due. If you publish a book with your designs and reep a profit from doing so, then you are asking people to build exactly what you put out there.

From my experience, there are two types of woodworkers. First is someone who needs to see a rigid set of plans with dimensions and directions. The later is someone who knows what they want to see as an end result and they make it happen.

When we first begin the journey that is woodworking, we all start out as the first woodworker, overtime we evolve into the second.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

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