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Curt of appeals upholds designer rights


This appeals court document shows the opinion of congress on the
ability of copyright security. Get this; the main point:

  1. It will, so long as the statute remains in its present form,
    always be necessary to determine whether in a given case there is a
    physically or conceptually separable artistic sculpture or carving
    capable of existing independently as a work of art.

  2. … permitting copyright to extend only to ornamental or
    superfluous designs contained within useful objects while denying it
    to artistically designed functional components of useful objects.
    Generally they have favored representational art as opposed to
    non-representation artistic forms

[ Added section: Hanuman]


OPINION (Judge Oakes): 1. This case is on a razor’s edge of
copyright law. It involves belt buckles, utilitarian objects which
as such are not copyrightable. But these are not ordinary buckles;
they are sculptured designs cast in precious metals-decorative in
nature and used as jewelry is, principally for ornamentation. We say
"on a razor’s edge" because the case requires us to draw a fine
line under applicable copyright law and regulations. Drawing the
line in favor of the appellant designer, we uphold the copyrights
granted to him by the Copyright Office and reverse the district
court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the appellee, the
copier of appellant’s designs


Kinda fun “deja vu” to see this note, and i’m not surprised. Mr.
Kieselstein-cord seems to jog a memory that he’s somewhat aggressive
in pursuing copyright infringement. And, to make it pertinent, I
recall about a decade ago, a casting company who’d been doing work
for a local jewelry store. for a short time they’d been agreeing to
make rubber molds of Kieselstein’s belt buckles, and cast the
results, albeit after burning off the signatures in the rubber. Not
very honorable, and the caster rather quickly decided to turn away
such requests, even though it risked loosing a somewhat substantial
client. The decision was even clearer when they realized that the
store had been going to the local Macy’s department store, buying the
Kieselstein buckles at retail, having them molded, and then, get
this, were refinishing the things, putting the labels back on, and
returning them for credit to Macy’s! I later heard that the store
owner, when he decided to knock these things off like this, also put
ten thousand bucks aside for possible legal costs just in case he
got caught and sued over the practice. I don’t know if he ever did,
but he was enough of a slimeball that I rather hope that he didn’t
get to keep that ten grand untouched for too long…