Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Re: Copying jewelry [Jewelry Discussion] [Ganoksin Orchid Jewelry Forum Community for Jewelers and Metalsmiths]

Unfortunately, the concept of Poor Man’s Copyright is a myth. From the copyright.gov FAQ page:
I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it? The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.”

1 Like

The “poor man’s copyright” isn’t entirely a myth, but it also isn’t an official substitute for registration. Copyright is automatic upon creation of a work. To be able to bring suit in court for copyright infringement, however, the copyright must be registered with the Copyright Office. Where the “poor man’s copyright” would be useful would be a situation where someone copied your design, registered your design under their own copyright and then sued you for infringement. Your sealed letter could then be used as evidence of you being the originator, and thus the original copyright holder, regardless of the registration by the other party.
The bottom line, though, is that you shouldn’t copy someone else’s design. If you like someone’s design and want to render it yourself, ask for permission. Unless you’re going to copy and market it en mass, they’ll probably give permission. Otherwise, use your creativity to make something different, and better.