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Ok to sell projects made from purchased plans?

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Forum topic by pashley posted 09-04-2012 10:41 PM 1563 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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pashley

1025 posts in 2407 days


09-04-2012 10:41 PM

Is it ok to sell a project piece from purchased plans? For example, I buy a plan on FWW for a table. Can I advertise it on my website and sell it? I wouldn’t represent it as MY design, certainly.

I don’t THINK it would be illegal, but I don’t know….

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com


19 replies so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13342 posts in 2362 days


#1 posted 09-04-2012 10:45 PM

I dont think that would be a good idea.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

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ShaneA

5351 posts in 1287 days


#2 posted 09-04-2012 11:00 PM

While I am not certain, seems I have seen some plans that say not to make/sell more than “X” number of them. But have no clue how it would be monitored or enforced.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1687 days


#3 posted 09-04-2012 11:03 PM

If not stated in the documentation of the plans, I would check with the publisher. They own the copyright.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

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huff

2804 posts in 1974 days


#4 posted 09-04-2012 11:07 PM

You may want to watch out for TradeMark infringement. The only safe way to handle that would be to ask permission directly from FWW., but don’t be suprised if they say NO! I could see where that could be a real legal nightmare if not handled correctly.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

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pashley

1025 posts in 2407 days


#5 posted 09-04-2012 11:09 PM

I could understand it being illegal to buy the plans, copy and sell them, just as you would, say, a DVD. You can’t buy a DVD and rip and sell copies. I’m just not sure about a design they put out there for the expressed purpose of being built. If it IS illegal, do you break the law if you build it, keep it for 10 years, then sell it? How long would you have to wait before it’s ok?

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

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pashley

1025 posts in 2407 days


#6 posted 09-04-2012 11:12 PM

Which also raises the question of replica tables. I believe the copyright for written works (like a song or book) is 100 years; If I made a replica Limbert table which can be traced to 1920, am I liable?

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

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AandCstyle

1381 posts in 946 days


#7 posted 09-04-2012 11:33 PM

I am not an attorney, but I think that if you buy the plans and make the project, it is your project to do with as you wish. If you buy a book or a car or plans, you have the right to sell it, don’t you? Making and selling something from purchased plans is a step removed from selling the item itself so I can’t imagine there would be an issue. However, having said this, it wouldn’t hurt to ask FWW their position on the matter. Of course, then you get into the question of how different an item would need to be to avoid any concerns on their part. FWIW

-- Art

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HorizontalMike

6948 posts in 1603 days


#8 posted 09-04-2012 11:40 PM

ORIGINAL SOURCE: http://blog.custommade.com/2010/10/intellectual-property/
”...Ironically, copyrights, which protect most manifestations of artistic design and expression, are available to protect sketches of furniture designs, and photographs contained in a furniture catalog, but do not provide much, if, any intellectual property protection to the physical furniture built based on the designs in those photographs. [Habersham Plantation Corporation v. Country Concepts et al, 209 U.S.P.Q. 711 (Ga. 1980)] Thus, an artisan is prohibited under copyright law from making a copy of a manufacturer’s own photo, but is not necessarily prohibited from recreating the piece of furniture shown in the photo, unless that furniture design incorporates some kind of sculpture work or graphic print embellishment that is in itself a design separate from the piece of furniture. This is what the law calls “conceptual separability.” Absent a plausible argument that the overall design of a piece of furniture can, in effect, exist by itself as a work of art apart from its functionality as a piece of furniture, copyright law is unavailable to guard against wholesale copying of the article. For example, an artisan cannot obtain copyright protection for a fabric-covered chair per se, but may copyright the design of the fabric that covers that chair or the elaborate sculpture work that adorns the back or leg of the chair ….”

What this basically means is that you can build and sell furniture from those plans. You just can’t label them / mark them / embellish them as being ”an original” XYZ Brand piece.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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MT_Stringer

1999 posts in 1920 days


#9 posted 09-04-2012 11:43 PM

I guess I won’t have any problem because I can’t seem to make anything from someone else’s plans. In fact, I can’t make anything from my own plans without making changes. :-(

But I thought if you bought the plans from someone (after all they are selling them to you), you could do what you wish. Maybe I am wrong.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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pashley

1025 posts in 2407 days


#10 posted 09-04-2012 11:46 PM

Well, HorizontalMike, that seems to be the answer. Thanks for chiming in!

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View William's profile

William

9149 posts in 1531 days


#11 posted 09-04-2012 11:49 PM

Mostly ever plan I’ve ever bought has somewhere on it in small print “you cannot make over “x” amount of items from these plans without written authorization from the designer”.
When you buy plans for woodworking, the people selling the plans know that a lot of people are buying these plans with the intent of making the item and attempting to sell the item. It’s a lot of wood worker’s dreams after all, to do wood work for a living. I think the small print legalese is simply to prevent anyone form legally doing something crazy, like setting up an assembly line and mass producing the item.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

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MT_Stringer

1999 posts in 1920 days


#12 posted 09-04-2012 11:52 PM

“I think the small print legalese is simply to prevent anyone form legally doing something crazy, like setting up an assembly line and mass producing the item.”

That hasn’t stopped the Chinese.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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William

9149 posts in 1531 days


#13 posted 09-04-2012 11:54 PM

Ok, I meant in the states where that small print acually means something that might get you a visit before a judge.
In China, violating this sort of aggreement only gets you a visit from whatever government official may want to take over the foctory.
Sorry for the mistake.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3047 posts in 1176 days


#14 posted 09-05-2012 12:24 AM

I don’t know about anyone else but I have no problem with someone buying plans and selling the articles built from those plans.

In other threads here on LJ and elsewhere there are many references that the plans are never correct and must be modified anyway, negating the value of the copyright or trademark.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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bondogaposis

2599 posts in 1040 days


#15 posted 09-05-2012 12:33 AM

The copyright generally protects the plans only. The intellectual property is the plan. If you copy the plans to sell you are in violation. Making furniture from the plans is the purpose of having them published and sold. Now if you were to open a factory and crank out thousands of pieces than that might be different. But as a small time builder and can’t see how anybody could go after you for selling a few pieces.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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