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  • Another copyright question

    This weekend I finished a portrait I've been working on for a gift. The pattern was found on one of the free MSN groups, but the name/title really didn't explain much about the pattern itself. Well, yesterday I did some research on the internet after somebody told me that it looked like a picture from a comic series. Sure enough, I found a picture that matches the portrait exactly. On the same web site I found a picture for another portrait I had also done a couple months ago.

    Here's my question: I know patterns can be made from pictures that are found in public domain, and the internet has a lot of places like that, but can they be shared on free sites like that? I downloaded these patterns some time ago and had no idea they were actually a part of comic series like this, so I don't feel like I really did anything wrong (at least not yet). I also have no intention of distributing the patterns or selling the finished portraits. But am I still in violation of copyright? How about if I post pictures here of the finished portraits?

    I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing here before I post anything.
    DeWalt DW788 & Dremel 1680

  • #2
    Jim, I am not a legal expert but the way I understand it if you are making it for your own use ( personal or giving it as a gift ) then you are ok. I do not know the answer about you posting a sample on this site. I will let one of the "experts" address the question. Good luck.
    Creator of fine designer sawdust.


    • #3

      After several years of reading and posting on several scroll saw sites, the only consistent answers to copyright questions are:

      1. Rick Hudcheson's web site scroll way down on the left hand side has some long dry reading on the subject.

      2. There are a few MSN groups is dedicated to the exchange of patterns. They have their own legal counsel.

      3. A lot depends on "How-Deep-Are-Your-Pockets." Most scroll sawyers have very modest pockets. Not worth the effort.

      4. The owners of this site, Fox Chapel Publication, DO have pockets that a lawyer will go after. It would be worth the effort.

      5. Some Trademark items are very, VERY protected from any copyright infringement. Disney is one of several examples.

      6. If you take a photo graphic image of a public person, in a public place, you own that photographic image and may do as you see fit. However, you will need a quick course on what is a "public place", and what defines a "public person" and what does the term "as you see fit" really mean?

      7. Getting an image off the Internet does not qualify as "public." The poster of the image may not have the legal permission to post the image in the first place.

      8. There are HUGE differences between:
      - An actor VS an actor in makeup and costume for a specific copyrighted role the actor portrays in film or on the stage.
      - Music performers same problem: the person VS musical performer on stage.
      - A person, an animated cartoon character, an editorial cartoon of a public politician, and an advertisement symbol (logo) for a product.
      - Commercial brand symbols being used in good or bad light. (Logo enforcement depends a lot on how the logo is being used. If used to trash the brand, show disrepute, or project a very negative image, yes you will get a letter a lot quicker.)

      9. When someone post an image of a completed project on this forum, think about if that image, as is, can be used to create a scroll saw copy, without further effort. For most scroll saw work (fretwork and Intarsia for example) this not usually the case. For some portrait projects, they can be downloaded, printed and used directly as patterns for cutting.

      10. You want the short version of my opinion:
      Thou shalt not steal.
      Do onto others as you would.....



      • #4
        Copyright is a minefield that specialist lawyers are paid a fortune to negotiate. Much will depend on the specific nature of each individual case. Of course, there will be instances when it's abundantly clear that copyright is being broken and there will be cries of "Foul!", but most breaches are not that easy to recognise. When the Admin & Mod Team on this forum believes a breach of copyright has taken place, we will act to correct the situation as soon as possible. However, this action is administrative, designed to promote the reputation and smooth running of the forum rather than an expression of a legal opinion.

        Advice from people who do not hold legal qualifications can often be useful but it would be unsafe to regard it as authoritative. Furthermore, opinions expressed on this forum by well-meaning members should not be taken to represent the views of the owners or management of this forum.

        If you are concerned about copyright issues, please seek the opinion of professionally qualified counsel.

        Last edited by Gill; 02-06-2007, 03:42 AM.
        There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
        (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


        • #5
          Just because a picture is posted on the internet does not mean it is in the public domain. If one to were use an actual public domain image (from the US Fish and Wildlife service for example) then the short answer is yes, the pattern can be posted. As far as finished pieces, the only lawsuits I've been able to find have been brought by the Winfield Collection (which they've lost btw) so I don't feel there's an issue with that.
          As far as the specific cartoon you're referring to, if it was posted on AFSP and is copyrighted, you should let one of the managers of AFSP know as we do not allow the posting of copyrighted material, period.
          If ya really want to get bored, you can do a search for USC 17 or intellectual property copyrights and spend all day reading up on it. Stanford has a great legal website regarding this topic.
          Scrollsaw Patterns Online
          Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671


          • #6
            Thanks for the replies on this, simple and too the point. I know there is so much more to this than what was explained here, and everything else I looked at on the net is pretty confusing and long winded. I totally agree with everything you said Gill and Phil, and I do understand the whole concept of ownership of the original photo and public domain/places. I'm just concerned that proper permission may not have been attained to make the last couple patterns I used. I guess I'll just have to make a judgment call on my own and not post these particular pictures here until I can contact the pattern designer and find out more info from him/her.

            Again, thanks for your input and opinions.
            DeWalt DW788 & Dremel 1680


            • #7
              Out of boredom the other day (it was either that or toothpicks under the nails) I visited the US copy right site just to cruise around and get some info. It has a section with a 'search' feature that you could even try to 'locate' the copyright and owner on the piece if you have the time to spend. I had used it a few times to see if any of my circuit drawings were already copy righted elsewhere when I was still working in communications. You can do the same at the site where you register an invention (US Patents).
              Delta 16" 40-530
              Ryobi 16" VS

              "Never be afraid to try something new. Remember it was amateurs that built the ARK but Professionals that built the Titanic!"


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