If the Czech company makes an exact copy (no added design touches)
of a 2,000 year-old coin (very much out of copyright, assuming it
was ever in) and then I make a mold of the Czech company's copy
and sell the jewelry, am I violating any copyright laws?
Hmmm... interesting question. My take on it would be that your copy
of the copy would not violate any copyright law. Copyright protects
ORIGINAL works; designs can be and are refused copyright protection
because they fail to demonstrate originality. I would think the
Czech replica does not meet the requirement of originality.
Therefore, as an item unprotected by copyright, making a copy
wouldn't violate copyright laws. In other words, just because a
publisher issues a new edition of Dickens' A Christmas Carol doesn't
mean he now holds copyright to the work.
However, please note that I am NOT an expert in copyright, and you
may wish to consult an intellectual property attorney on this matter.
Also, this is an answer to the legal question, not the ethical one,
which may be quite different, depending on your point of view.
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (928) 563-8255