Earlier this year a rather large number of rubber molds were sold at
an auction I attended. I found this very troubling because for
several reasons. The sale was part of a court-ordered bankrupty
seizure. So the owner was not giving them up willingly. This
situation pointed up a lot of weird issues about design ownership.
I asked the auctioneer if there would be any copyright issues if I
bought the molds. He said that he didn’t think so because the auction
was ordered by the court. But he didn’t seem to really know anything
about the concept of copyright ownership by the simple fact that
someone is the original creator.
There was a possibility that some of the molds might not have been
the actual property of the jeweler who was seized, as he was known to
be a contract manufacturer.
I bid on the molds. They were very nice, but I was rather conflicted
about the ethics of using them had I been successful. Somebody is
going to get them. Why not me? But I had been in a situation myself
several years ago when a contract caster I was dealing with stopped
answering the phone. I went as far as calling the sherrif to get my
molds back. OK, if I buy them I will be very cooperative with anyone
who claims copyright ownership. As it turned out I didn’t win the
But here is another issue that maybe some of the legal minds on
orchid can chew on. For my own molds I usually stamp the model with a
copyright symbol and write “copyright S. Walker” on the mold with a
Sharpie before it is vulcanized, along with the date. My thoughts
about doing this was that this should prevent my molds and designs
from passing to another jeweler in case of any number of scenarios.
But if if my property was ever seized by a court order, for any
reason, wouldn’t the copyright be seized also? By attaching the
copyright declaration to the molds am I in fact making it more likely
that I or my estate would lose the copyright if I ever was in the
same unfortunate situation as the jeweler mentioned above?