Use of Designs in a Published Book

I’m working on a book on how to do filigree with around 12 of my own
designs used for teaching it…ranging from simple to advanced. Is
it reasonable to put a disclaimer in stating that said designs are
copyrighted and my property and are intended for educational and
personal use only? ie…joe smith cannot take my designs and produce
or mass produced them commercially, they have to comp up with their


I have a number of instructional jewelry books, and the designers
did just that. Even for a Chinese knotting book.

Your work is copyrighted. There is nothing preventing you from
making that statement.


Jeanne that is good thought but in reality many people (especially
new students or when trying something new) please will use what they
see as a model as it help when learning and seeing if you are doing
it correctly. You might include some designs in your book as projects
that people can use.


I don’t think the disclaimer will stop someone from producing your
designs once published, especially if the book gets overseas and
someone sees the market potential of an item. The question may be,
can you afford to go after each one who does turn it in to a
production item?

I have been asked if I am worried about students taking the designs
that I show them during classes or workshops and running with them.
Don’t care anymore, there are more designs where those came from. My
hope as a teacher is that they will take my ideas and improve on
them! Hopefully somewhere along the line they will think to mention
my name too.

Look at Charles Lewton-Brain. He puts out a fold form design and
lets us all have at it. The technique grows as a result as each of us
adds our own twist, so to speak.

Bill Churlik

it reasonable to put a disclaimer in stating that said designs are
copyrighted and my property and are intended for educational and 

Yes and no to all questions. First you need to talk it over with an
Intellectual Property attorney and second you need to take a good
hard business look at the impression you want to leave with your
readers. My suggestion would be to put a generic disclaimer and
personal license rights (i.e., the reader is granted a license to
personally make and use but not to sell the designs) IF, and only IF
you want to put in designs you will willingly want to enforce your
copyright rights on. If you won’t enforce your rights then it’s a
moot point anyway. Better might be that you create designs just for
the purposes of the book, designs you will still be proud of, and
then either grant all rights to them to the public domain or grant an
any-use license to anyone provided that your copyright notice (and
e-mail address or web site) be included with any SOLD copies. If you
want to show specific designs as examples that you don’t want copied
then you’ll probably want to put specific copyright statements and
notices with each image and separately register your copyright for
each piece and/or image. Again, consult your IP attorney. (Of course,
all the money you spend on an IP attorney will be money that eats
into any possible profits from book sales too.)

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:,

You might include some designs in your book as projects that people
can use.

that’s the basic idea…there will be around 11-12 projects which
are my designs. the student may do them for the learning experience,
or personal use, but not for commercial resale


Idea thievery is a tradition that goes back a long way in the
jewelry biz. I’m put in mind of a faintly remembered passage in one
of those Murray Bovin silversmithing or jewelry books where he talks
about how to do tabletop electroforming to beef up a purchased piece
of jewelry to compensate for mold shrinkage when you copy them.

Yes, as has been pointed out, they’re your copyrighted designs, so
feel free to put in any disclaimer you want. It won’t slow that type
down really, but it’ll at least give you some ammunition if you
decide to sue the worst offenders. Remember that anyone who sees or
buys your work could potentially copy it, and if you spend all day
obsessing about that, you won’t get anything done.

My take on it is this:

If I can’t be me better than you can be me, perhaps I’ve got bigger
problems than you.

Another point is simply that the idea thief is relying on you to
design for him, which by definition keeps you one jump ahead of him.
Also, I’m more than a little tool happy, so a lot of my designs tend
to rely on tools that your average jewelry production house wouldn’t
have, and couldn’t fake. That’s one way to solve the problem: stake
out your territory on top of a mountain they can’t climb.


Hello Jeanne,

A very similar issue broke out into one the the longest, bitterest
and very interesting threads on a Celtic Art group that I participate
in. In our case the authors of several “source books” were
complaining that others were using the designs comercially in
violation of the clearly stated copyright notice. While I understand
the concept of intellectual property rights fairly well, I do not
understand how someone can publish a design in this way without the
expectation that a certain number of people will copy the examples as
faithfully as they are able. You can tell them not to, but by showing
them how to do it in what is essentially a How-to-do-it book, most
readers will not understand. Even some very professional readers will
think that since it is a how-to book, it is your intention that they
copy the examples. In the case of the Celtic design controvesy, one
of the craftsmen expressed a great thanks to the author of a book that
he had based his entire line of work on. The author expressed outrage
that his copyrights had been violated. The craftsman expressed
amazement that this was not the purpose of the book. The author
roared, “did you not see the copyright notice?” The craftsman was
totally confused, things got very ugly. Other authors joined in with
a litany of complaints about how their artwork had been comercially
exploited without their permission. The lesson seems to be that no
matter what you say, if you publish a book that by its nature
invites people to copy the designs, some will, no matter how
explicit your statements that they should not.

Stephen Walker

...that is good thought but in reality many people (especially new
students or when trying something new) will use what they see as a
model as it helps when learning and seeing if you are doing it

–especially if the designs are part of a step by step instruction. I
think it is a little unrealistic to include designs as part of the
instruction of a technique and then expect people to refrain from
making them. I think if it were I, I would include a section saying
that it is fine to copy the designs in the book for learning
purposes, but gently remind readers that it is not OK to make more
than one of each, then they should then go on to develop their own
designs using what they learned. Otherwise, it seems to me that
people would reasonably feel that you wouldn’t tell them exactly how
to make something if it were not OK to do just that!


that's the basic idea...there will be around 11-12 projects which
are my designs. the student may do them for the learning
experience, or personal use, but not for commercial resale

Michael Boyd had an article in Lapidary Journal showing how to make a
signature bracelet, and it stated in the article that it had
copyright protection and could not be produced for commercial

The intention was never that they should NOT make them, just not mass
produce them commercially afterwards. I would just hate to go to some
show and see MY SPECIFIC designs being sold by someone as their own
designs (no credit given etc) and especially if they cast from an
original and end up underpricing me! Or I suddenly see a cast version
of one of them (identical, unchanged) being mass marketed to kmart
etc w/out getting credit or royalties. If they change the designs,
fine, and w/ the filigree, it doesn’t take much to change the
designs…it lends itself to an infinite number of combinations! So
there should be no reason for someone NOT to change it enough to
make it their own.


 The intention was never that they should NOT make them, just not
mass produce them commercially afterwards.

I was thinking some more about this issue as I read the posts today.
It seems to me that the people who read and use books on jewelry
making, as well as people in general, fall into two types.

There are people who take personal pride in their work, who would
never try to sell a design that was really not their own. These
folks would make something as a learning experience, as we all
probably do at workshops and the like, then somehow incorporate the
technique into their own style before allowing it to “see the light
of day” again.

Then there are people who don’t really have a style, or real
personal pride in their work, who can only copy the work of others.
These folks are going to copy, no matter what you tell them. Some of
them do it really well, and may even manage to market the copied
work better than the original artist does. It is very distressing to
run into knock-offs at the same shows as the original! But nothing
is going to change these folks-- or the other type, either.

So it makes sense to include a statement in a book or wherever,
saying not to make an industry out of what is offered. But it is a
legal precaution, and is unlikely to change anyone’s behavior.

Just my two cents’ worth–


When I was 5, many decades ago; I saw a Nun painting in the National
gallery in DC, she was copying a Rembrandt…I asked my mother
why she was doing it, and she said it was to learn. I said couldn’t
she think of a picture on her own? My mother said that she needed to
learn technique first. She (my mother) was right, at least I needed
to learn technique first and by example is the easiest way. For those
of you who complain, you publish to earn money and recognition. Well
if you are good enough, or appeal to enough people you will be
copied. So you all have a dilemma don’t publish, don’t teach, and
don’t make a living doing it, then you can make your one off and try
to live on that…or be happy that people like your stuff enough to
copy it and buy your books and take your classes and support you
while you make different one off pieces to satisfy your
creative soul.

“Good artists copy, Great artists steal…” Pablo Picasso, as quoted
by Steve Jobs

-my two Alaskan cents,
BK in AK

I’m confused.

You write a book. You have it published. It isnt copyrighted? If
someone decided to mass produce your work, you couldn’t recover

Hi Jeanne,

I realize that I’m going to upset a lot of people with what I’m about
to say, but I think it’s important enough to say it, anyway…

Now, I may be mistaken about the finer points of this – and I
welcome any dissenting perspectives from IP attorneys who may be
reading – but it’s my understanding that Copyright law only covers
the publication, itself, and not the contents of that publication.
So, for example, if you were to publish a book full of jewelry
designs and someone were to copy even the most subtle curves and
textures of one of those designs precisely, you would have no legal
claim aginst him or her, unless they copied the Book precisely, or
unless you had also undertaken the process of protecting the
design(s) in question via some other avenue, as well. A great many
people who haven’t bothered to read up on this confuse the
protections offerred by copyrights, trademarks and patents, and
erroneously assume that the least expensive of these carries with it
all of the protections and enforcabilities that the most expensive
forms do. All that a formally applied for and subsequently granted
copyright says is that you designed and created something on a given
date and that, to the best knowledge of the person issuing said
copyright, you were the first one to do so. Period. It does not say
that no one else has the right to produce something similar to it, or
that, in the case of your project(s) discussed or outlined in
exploded detail in a textbook, no one else may try it out for size.

Actually, if I’m not mistaken, the fact that you’ve gone out of your
way to diagram and explain each and every aspect of each of the
successive steps necessary for its completion would make it utterly
impossible for you to ever defend that piece against infringement, in
a court of law. That would be like standing up in a court of law, and
telling the judge, "Yes, your Honor, I DID bake the chocolate cake in
the front window of my bakery, and I DID televise each and every step
of its creation with full-color videotape, music and voice-overs, and
I DID use high-power fans to blow its sweet scent out the front door
of the shop to the sidewalk, where all of the homeless folks
congregate and then, after baking it, I DID place it, and a dozen
plastic forks and party plates on a card table on the sidewalk, in
front of the bakery window…

…But I NEVER formally gave anyone out there my permission to EAT
it!" (In other words, actions speak louder than words and, by virtue
of the steps leading up to your disclaimer, “yes, you did”.)

Oh, and for what it’s worth, Jeanne, I, too, am working on a book
that’ll be filled with and designs (in my case, they’re
faceting designs). Instead of asking folks not to copy your designs
(especially, after you’ve gone out of your way to tell them what
tools and supplies they’ll need to complete each project, and in
which order to do each of the steps – which, frankly, I think makes
it kind of silly, not to mention indefensibly unreasonable to then
assume that no one will do just that – I think the best you can
reasonably ask and hope for is, if they copy these designs for resale
to the general public, that they make an effort to acknowledge you
and/or your design by name, on their hang-tags. (i.e. “A pendant
inspired by the works of…”.) That way, you get your 15 minutes of
fame as both an author, educator and metalsmith, they get to enhance
their skillset and (if they did the job[s] well enough), recoup their
investments, and everyone goes home happy. Of course, if your pieces
are unique enough, and you have the tens of thousands of dollars
necessary to do patent searches and apply for design patents, and
then the hundreds of thousands of dollars necessary to defend each
infringement upon them, that’s another way to go, as is trademarking,
but that only works if the piece being copied contains the trademark,
or is exactly the same as the item submitted for patenting. As one of
my mentors used to say, "Sometimes, ya gotta just shrug your
shoulders and say, “Hey, it sucks, but it is… Next!”

Best regards,

Douglas Turet, G.J.,
Turet Design
P.O. Box 242 Avon, MA 02322-0242
Tel: (508) 586-5690 Fax: (508) 586-5677

I would think that copyrights are the same or similar from writing to
music, and in music, the song is actually copyrighted from the time
its written, but its very difficult to prove in court unless its
received copyright from the gov.

Ed in Kokomo

Forget it:

The jewelry business is like the schemata business, full of (idea &
design) thieves.

Very few have their own ideas.

I knew some people with a big sweater factory many years ago that
would go to Paris every spring to buy the latest to bring back home
to take apart and copy as their new lines. Now everything is made
(copied) in .

They couldn’t design, and couldn’t be bothered.

There have been a lot of people that have tried to copy my PFF
Clasps with great failure.

If they can make what you have they steal the design, go figure, and
you would never know.

No matter what you do to protect it. If they can’t make it, (too
difficult) you get to keep it!

Allan Creates
P.F.F. Hinged Ring Shanks

“Idea” thievery is, in fact, encouraged—intentionally—by law.
What is protected by copyright is a particular “expression” of an
idea and then only from direct copying BEYOND “fair use” and less so
from derivative works thus leaving exactly the same expression free
to be created–and ALSO owned–by another. While our present author
might think the designs are “original” they may not be but they are
likely also DERIVATIVE works of other’s earlier work. Derivative
works ALSO impinge upon the rights of those predecessors derived from
(up to some nebulous indistinct point which only the courts can
decide for any particular case).

A “book” copyright right is applicable to the book itself.
Individual item works depicted therein have their own copyright
rights and, as any IP attorney will tell you, if you wish to assert
them individually then you should provide notice and registration
individually also (generic statements have limited weight). If you
have no intention of enforcing these item copyright rights then it’s
not worth bothering to do anyway.

Virtually all copyright (patent, and trademark) “rights” violations
are CIVIL violations and therefore ALL responsibility (and effort and
cost) for enforcement of those rights falls to the rights owner.

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:,

"Good artists copy, Great artists steal..." Pablo Picasso, as
quoted by Steve Jobs 

I may be mistaken, but I think the original is “good poets borrow,
great poets steal” T. S. Eliot.