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Basic Copyright Laws


#1

I know just about as much about copyright laws as a brick does, so
this may just sound out right dumb. But if it really came down to it,
and the originator has documentation that their design was published,
internet, brochure, bill of sale, ect, at a time that pre dates the
so called forgery, would that buy you any authenticity in a court?
Then again, you would be probably talking a lot more money to stop
the imitations if you had to take it to court.

Also, does a copyright or patent really do any good with all of
today’s knock offs from overseas ? An importer may not be able to
sell in the States, but the rest of the world seems to be a
free-for-all from what I have heard.

Another curiosity about rip offs, I have read that they can change
one little thing, and most of the time get away with stealing
someone’s designs.

As for myself, I don’t worry to much about it at this time. If
someone is going to steal a design, they will do it regardless of the
law. Look at all the Disney knock offs. If the Mouse cant stop it,
what chance would someone like myself have?

Daniel


#2

I know that each contry has it’s own copyright law and to make
patents stick you need them in many countries. The other big concern
is money. Even if you do hold copyright or patent on something, if
you don’t have the resourse to watch dog for infringment and to take
them to court then you can potentially lose out anyways.

One of the problems with knock off mass production if of course the
whole outsource to China deal. I know they do have laws concerning
that kind of thing, but there is a hell of a lot of rip-off designs
and the whole concept of fakes and “fake fakes” which are the real
thing taken from the factories and sold for cheep so… hard for the
little guy, easy to get shafted.

That’s at least some of your question.

Zoe Hardisty


#3
and the originator has documentation that their design was
published, internet, brochure, bill of sale, ect,, at a time that
pre dates the so called forgery, would that buy you any
authenticity in a court? 

Virtually none at all. Go read the law, it’s still out there on
www.copyright.gov. You are mistaking a patent concept (first to
invent [or file]) for a copyright concept. The two bodies of law are
very different with very few (if any) equivalent legal concepts.

Then again, you would be probably talking a lot more money to stop
the imitations if you had to take it to court. 

Certainly. And you’d certainly take a whole bunch of NON-imitators
to court to and probably lose your shirt in the process. COPYright is
called COPYright for a reason.

Also, does a copyright or patent really do any good with all of
today's knock offs from overseas ? 

Yes, absolutely. Enforcement rarely requires a law suit (it does
still cost time and money though).

An importer may not be able to sell in the States, but the rest of
the world seems to be a free-for-all from what I have heard. 

Certainly true for patents but not for Copyright. The catch, of
course, is it has to be detected and the effort made to enforce it.

Another curiosity about rip offs, I have read that they can change
one little thing, and most of the time get away with stealing
someone's designs. 

Total MYTH (as has been repeatedly noted on this forum). Copyright
law gives the copyright owner the right to prohibit derivative works
also. Patent law gives the broader, earlier patent precedence.

As for myself, I don't worry to much about it at this time. If 

A very good plan. Copyright violations happen but it’s pretty rare.
Why would they pick YOUR designs anyway (just kidding!:-).

someone is going to steal a design, they will do it regardless of
the law. 

Very true.

Look at all the Disney knock offs. If the Mouse cant stop it, what
chance would someone like myself have? 

I think you’ll find the mouse does a VERY good job stopping it. The
vast majority of what you mistake as knockoff sales are probably
fully licensed and very happy to be.

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of “Will It Sell? How to Determine If
Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable (Before Wasting Money on a
Patent)” Info Sites: www.willitsell.com www.inventorhome.com,
www.idearights.com www.taletyano.com www.booksforinventors.com


#4

Hi Daniel,

Your questions are most likely best answered by a qualified
intellectual property attorney.

I am a designer and metalsmith and not a lawyer, and can speak to a
couple of your questions only from my own personal experience.

Generally, in order to go after an infringer in federal district
court, I have had to register a copyright with the Copyright office
of the Library of Congress in Washington DC. My work does not have to
be published in order for me to register it, but I have been advised
that registering within three months after publication provides
better protection.

Proof of publication has been very helpful to me, and I have been
advised that if the work is registered within three months after
first publication it may afford enhanced protection under the law.

Copyright registration won’t stop others from infringing (copying a
work without permission), but it does potentially provide tools to
make their life a living hell if they do.

Having registered copyrights has enabled me to seize infringing
copies(at times by the suitcase full), have the infringing copies
destroyed (many of these originated overseas), to file lawsuits for
copyright infringement, to obtain jail sentences for contempt of court
by infringers, to obtain judgements for money damages, and to obtain
money settlements in conjunction with copyright claims.

The last time I sent in a registration, it ran $30.00. I do them
myself now, but recommend that you have a qualified attorney assist
you with this process until you thoroughly understand the ins and
outs of registration.

The 10% rule - basically, an urban legend that if one takes a
copyrighted work and changes it a little - is absolute nonsense. Lots
of lawyers have gotten rich from people who think they can do this.

To the best of my knowledge, Disney vigilantly protects its
intellectual property. I would imagine that if you were to research
this you would find that Disney has successfully sued infringers many
times, and is most likely doing so on several fronts at this very
moment.

I hope this has been helpful to you.

With best regards,

Michael Rogers
M. M. Rogers Design
Albuquerque, NM


#5

Hi Daniel,

Also, does a copyright or patent really do any good with all of
today's knock offs from overseas ? An importer may not be able to
sell in the States, but the rest of the world seems to be a
free-for-all from what I have heard. 

Allthough this may be correct in some parts of the world, it is not
the case in any country outside US. Here in Denmark and in a majority
of the (old West-)European countries authorities are spending a lot
of time and efford fighting import of copied goods. Sorrily the
crooks also intensivate their effords. Last year Danish authorities
confiscated copy-ware worth about USD 37 mill, while the figure for
2005 til now is more than 3.2 billion USD.

I also just learned that in Italy for an example you are risking
severe sentences by only buying a single piece of copy-ware, - and
who wants to rist a jail sentence just for owning a cheap Nike-cap?

But the best advice I have seen - here on the list - is to be ahead
of the copycats, design and make something that is difficult to copy.

Niels Lovschal
Viking and Contemporary Jewellery in Gold and Silver
Bornholm
Denmark