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OK to copy design?

MarlonN

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I have seen a couple of truly unique ring designs here on this forum, and I was just wondering if it's alright to 'copy' the designs or if it's unethical to do so?
 

Shondra

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I don't think that there is anything wrong with that. I wonder how everyone else here feels, but I think that everything online today is just a remix of other people's information, designs, creativity - you name it. No one comes up with truly original ideas anymore.
 

missy

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It is a complicated issue.
Personally I feel flattered if someone wants to "copy" a piece I own but some pieces i.e. RDG for one are in a different category and I wouldn't copy a design like that. I would go to the original artist. It just becomes a more difficult discussion when the design is truly a unique one vs one that is not an original. If in doubt I would reach out to the owner of the piece I was inspired by and wanted to "copy" to ask them if it was OK with them.

Here are some previous threads on this issue.

[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/what-constitutes-an-inspired-by-piece-vs-stealing-designs.225184/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/what-constitutes-an-inspired-by-piece-vs-stealing-designs.225184/[/URL]

[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/copying-and-copying.186160/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/copying-and-copying.186160/[/URL]
 

Niel

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The first thing I'd do if you're copying a design from this forum is actually ask the person you're copying. Not hard to do and rarely would anyone say no.

Other than that I'd refer to the links Missy posted.
 

yssie

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Please don't do this.

Unless by "copy" you mean "ask the vendor who made the original to remake the design for you".
Or the original vendor is out of business (vintage pieces, etc.), in a different field, or for some other reason definitively has nothing to lose in terms of credit to reputation or monetary compensation for design time, effort, and cost.
Whilst it is true that all designs are composed of elements of other designs reused innumerable times, the details of composition and execution certainly can and do make some designs truly "unique".

Theft of intellectual property is theft. Please don't enable vendors who subvert professional courtesy and business ethic by blinding themselves to this inconvenient reality.
 

AdaBeta27

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There probably are thousands of rings out there that are copies of something that somebody saw somewhere. The only difference is those people didn't post pictures all over Pricescope or other public forums to announce that they copied. If anyone intends to actually protect to protect intellectual property, I think one needs to not only copyright the design but keep also refrain from distributing sketches and photos on literally a worldwide forum.
 

Wink

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Some designs are long since out of copyright protection, such as the antique Tiffany replicas, almost everyone has at least one such design variation of this piece. Another common theme current today are the halo style rings.

Some designs are fairly unique, such as Mark Morrells wonderful three prong design with one prong curved underneath the gem and between two prongs curving underneath the gem from the opposite direction. This creates an elegant ring and because the prongs are very thick, secure as well. It is NOT a generic design and should not be copied.

I have been twice asked, and both times said no to copying this design.

One day I was in a conversation with Mark and mentioned this to him. He said, "Wink, PLEASE steal the design. It is a pain to make correctly and the people who order it are almost ALWAYS difficult."

I laughed and said sometimes doing the right thing is its own reward.

Some people take the concept seriously, and others can not wait to steal designs they are not capable of creating themselves.

I was at the JCK show a few years ago and in a conversation with Vatche when he looked over my shoulder and got an angry expression on his face. I asked him what was up. He pointed out a man walking away from the Vatche booth with a camera in his hand. He had been taking photos of the new designs banner that Vatche had up. Vatche told me he was a well known rip off artist who would have a poorly made copy of Vatche's new designs up on his site within two weeks.

It is too expensive to fight the crooks unless you have deep pockets and a LOT of time on your hands. Tacori has patented some design elements on their rings and they are very protective of those elements. Most do not bother. However, Tiffany just had a successful resolution against Costco though, as Costco was using the Tiffany name in their show cases and in the opinion of the court creating the illusion of selling Tiffany rings rather than Tiffany style rings. It cost Costco 8.25 million dollars if my memory is correct. If Costco had simply said Tiffany style rings, I wonder if there would ever have been a lawsuit to begin with? I also wonder how much of the 8.25 million dollars was spent by Tiffany in legal fees?

Wink
 

Skhii

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Wink|1479831338|4101481 said:
Some designs are fairly unique, such as Mark Morrells wonderful three prong design with one prong curved underneath the gem and between two prongs curving underneath the gem from the opposite direction.
Wink
Hi Wink,
Are there any photos of the ring you described? I have checked Mark Morrell's website, but only see one bezel and various 4- and 6-prong rings. Thank you in advance.
 

Wink

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I do not have a photo of this design, perhaps he decided it was too much trouble and does not make it any more. I think there were some photos posted on Pricescope several years ago, but I do not know where to find them.

Wink
 

Rockdiamond

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Interesting subject.
From my perspective, there's very few designs that could actually be protected- maybe the three prong type of ring Wink described. Of course I'm not speaking of a seller trying to fool a buyer into thinking a given ring was made by a brand name maker..... that is absolutely wrong.
Same for copying trademark symbols- like stealing the hallmark of a maker- WRONG.

But as far as most designs- many elements of ring design are in "public domain" ( I'm not a lawyer...maybe wrong term) so others use the same elements.
How may different variations on a "Tiffany" solitaire can there be? Or- put another way: how may designs that use a simple shank and six prong head won't look like, or utilize elements of the "Tiffany" design.... for practical reasons?

Plus, we have the issue of hand made work- which will necessarily vary from one bench to another.
Take a five stone graduated design. Many people make it- but some just make it a lot better:)
Taking an existing idea and improving it is what I'm speaking of. Either by better workmanship, or improving the design.
In this way, interpreting designs seems a way to expand the artistic elements of ring design- and foster improvements that can be used by others- raising the bar as it were.
 

pyramid

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Wink|1479836869|4101518 said:
I do not have a photo of this design, perhaps he decided it was too much trouble and does not make it any more. I think there were some photos posted on Pricescope several years ago, but I do not know where to find them.

Wink
https://www.pricescope.com/forum/sh...gagement-ring-folder-eye-candy-t5429-180.html

I think it is on this page and is '8*Flash' s ring. I think pricescope member Pookarina had one made too.

I have seen this style in many jewellers in the UK, even in chain stores (our malls). Not as thick or well made sometimes though.
I do not think it is the only original design by Mark Morrell as it is very prevalent over here. Maybe his engineering of it under
the stone is different I don't know but it looks the same to me.
 

PintoBean

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Give credit where credit is due - the PSer and the vendor who created it.
If you want it done right, go back to the vendor that created the unique piece.
As for flat out copying the piece, I bet if you spend some good time analyzing the design you will figure out some details you would like to change to personalize the design. Inject some "you" into the design!
 

rubybeth

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MarlonN|1479814321|4101392 said:
I have seen a couple of truly unique ring designs here on this forum, and I was just wondering if it's alright to 'copy' the designs or if it's unethical to do so?
#1. If what you mean by "copy" is go and order the same ring from the same vendor, then that's fine. If it's a readily available design and the person shared where they purchased it, it's been posted to help other consumers find similar items. If they didn't share where they purchased it, you can post a reply to ask.

#2. If what you mean by "copy" is have a unique design replicated by another jeweler, then I would say no. Copyright issues aside, it's oftentimes very difficult to make a decent "copy" of a complicated design. And if it's not a complicated design, it probably is readily available, in which case, see #1.
 

kenny

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MarlonN|1479814321|4101392 said:
I have seen a couple of truly unique ring designs here on this forum, and I was just wondering if it's alright to 'copy' the designs or if it's unethical to do so?
Some people feel it's okay, others not.

You have to decide for yourself.
Even if 99% feel it's okay, you may be in the 1% who feel it's not.
Being part of a majority is not inherently superior to being in a minority any more than people with brown hair are superior to those with red hair.
People just vary.

Unless we're talking about things like murdering someone or what 2+2 is equal to, it is problematic to think there's only one correct way that everyone must conform.

All that said, there are intellectual property laws that may be violated by 'stealing' a design that holds a copywrite.
Those laws vary from state to state, and country to country.
 

Resonance.Of.Life

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Yssie said:
Please don't do this.

Unless by "copy" you mean "ask the vendor who made the original to remake the design for you".
Or the original vendor is out of business (vintage pieces, etc.), in a different field, or for some other reason definitively has nothing to lose in terms of credit to reputation or monetary compensation for design time, effort, and cost.
Whilst it is true that all designs are composed of elements of other designs reused innumerable times, the details of composition and execution certainly can and do make some designs truly "unique".

Theft of intellectual property is theft. Please don't enable vendors who subvert professional courtesy and business ethic by blinding themselves to this inconvenient reality.
missy|1479815079|4101399 said:
It is a complicated issue.
Personally I feel flattered if someone wants to "copy" a piece I own but some pieces i.e. RDG for one are in a different category and I wouldn't copy a design like that. I would go to the original artist. It just becomes a more difficult discussion when the design is truly a unique one vs one that is not an original. If in doubt I would reach out to the owner of the piece I was inspired by and wanted to "copy" to ask them if it was OK with them.

Here are some previous threads on this issue.

[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/what-constitutes-an-inspired-by-piece-vs-stealing-designs.225184/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/what-constitutes-an-inspired-by-piece-vs-stealing-designs.225184/[/URL]

[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/copying-and-copying.186160/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/copying-and-copying.186160/[/URL]
I echo the sentiments on both Missy's and Yssie's posts.

Even if you did go forward with the copy, you may be highly disappointed that the end product does not look like what you or your intended wanted to begin with. Many hand-forged rings do not look good in cad/cast and even between hand-forgers you get completely different looks even though it is the same design.. there are nuances and that is why they are considered artists in their craft. It would be best to go to the original designer and ask to replicate that design as they know the design well and can execute it to where you'd be happy with the end product.
 

Texas Leaguer

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kenny|1479846156|4101570 said:
MarlonN|1479814321|4101392 said:
I have seen a couple of truly unique ring designs here on this forum, and I was just wondering if it's alright to 'copy' the designs or if it's unethical to do so?
Some people feel it's okay, others not.

You have to decide for yourself.
Even if 99% feel it's okay, you may be in the 1% who feel it's not.
Being part of a majority is not inherently superior to being in a minority any more than people with brown hair are superior to those with red hair.
People just vary.

Unless we're talking about things like murdering someone or what 2+2 is equal to, it is problematic to think there's only one correct way that everyone must conform.

All that said, there are intellectual property laws that may be violated by 'stealing' a design that holds a copywrite.
Those laws vary from state to state, and country to country.
I agree with this assessment. Artists and brands have every right to expect protection under copyright laws. They invest their talents and resources into developing and marketing their creations. For someone to simply pirate it in order to get it cheaper, or to profit from someone else's work, is simply not right.

There are circumstances when you do not know that a design is copyrighted. And there are times when you want to incorporate some design elements that might be similar to existing designs. These are gray areas.

I think the guiding principle can be tied to intent. If you know a design belongs to someone else and instead of paying the creator for the product you have another jeweler knock it off, then you have crossed a clear ethical line.

And when you enter into this kind of transaction, it should come as a warning that the jeweler you are doing business with feels comfortable taking ethical liberties!
 

Rockdiamond

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Let me pose a question for the sake of discussion:
Say a person loves Monet.
They can't obtain an original, but they find an artist willing to replicate a Monet.
Say the buyer is not intending to misrepresent this painting- only to use it for personal enjoyment.
Is it wrong to commission the artist to copy it?
 

yssie

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Rockdiamond|1479866950|4101679 said:
Let me pose a question for the sake of discussion:
Say a person loves Monet.
They can't obtain an original, but they find an artist willing to replicate a Monet.
Say the buyer is not intending to misrepresent this painting- only to use it for personal enjoyment.
Is it wrong to commission the artist to copy it?
Is Monet alive and painting in this scenario? (Meaning - does he stand to lose monetary profit or credit to reputation as an artist if one of his works is copied?)

If yes, then IMO yes, it is wrong to have another artist copy a piece.
If not then my answer changes ::)
 

diamondseeker2006

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My tendency is to agree with Yssie and others. If the ring designer is still making that ring and you want that exact ring, go to the person who created it originally.

If the original ringmaker is no longer living or making jewelry, then it might be safe to remake a design. But I would try to make some changes.

I try to use antique rings for my inspiration so that I am not inadvertantly stepping on any toes.

Marlon, we could be much more precise in our answers if you told us what ring or rings you are talking about.
 

lambskin

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Who invented the first halo design? The first bypass? The first five stone band? The three stone engagement ring-side baguettes? A graduated pearl necklace. These designs are several decades old and are often replicated without issue or pause. Where copying is objectionable is when a specific artist's design or a jewelry house labeled piece (VCA Alahambra, Cartier Trinity ring etc) is exactly copied.
 

dollyanjuli

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I had a sort of similar question, and one of the threads posted above was started by me-

after lots of reading and informing myself and becoming more invested in the community of smaller jewelers that are popular here on PS, my opinion now is that for designs that are * truly * unique , and that jeweler makes a living off of people seeing a style that they created, then yes it is wrong. Purely because it directly takes money out of their pocket and it was their sweat equity that went into designing, refining, and testing designs over and over to make sure it had the right angles, finishes, proportions etc. For a person to say- AH HA you have done all the hard work now I am going to have someone make it for half the price- i feel like thats not ok.

On what is considered "classic" designs- a "Harry winston" halo, "tiffany solitaire", "cartier rolling ring" - i went back and forth on how i felt about this. Because the designs have been along for so so long and there is a huge price difference between those brands and the pieces that are more commonly found on the market, I personally feel ok because these companies are not hurting by you getting these designs made somewhere else. The people who care about these brands want the brand name. Vs those "original" designs, when the people who want those want what the jeweler made and is currently making their livelihood on

I too am curious about what is bringing this about. My thread was started because of a specific incident that happened on Instagram. Did you see a ring that you loved but you knew it was way our of your price range? Or a design that you would have never though of but you love and want the same one for yourself?
 

Rockdiamond

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Yssie|1479868048|4101683 said:
Rockdiamond|1479866950|4101679 said:
Let me pose a question for the sake of discussion:
Say a person loves Monet.
They can't obtain an original, but they find an artist willing to replicate a Monet.
Say the buyer is not intending to misrepresent this painting- only to use it for personal enjoyment.
Is it wrong to commission the artist to copy it?
Is Monet alive and painting in this scenario? (Meaning - does he stand to lose monetary profit or credit to reputation as an artist if one of his works is copied?)

If yes, then IMO yes, it is wrong to have another artist copy a piece.
If not then my answer changes ::)
Excellent point Yssie. In a hypertherical situation where the imitation takes bread directly out of the mouth of the originator there's a problem.

The whole issue of copying in the case of a large percentage of handmade jewelry seems different though. I see much of it as interpretations of concepts where the makers hand neccesarily creates individual examples. The Soleste design is like that.
I agree that a maker trying to copy a design exactly seems wrong.
 

Rhino

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Yssie|1479828605|4101468 said:
Please don't do this.

Unless by "copy" you mean "ask the vendor who made the original to remake the design for you".
Or the original vendor is out of business (vintage pieces, etc.), in a different field, or for some other reason definitively has nothing to lose in terms of credit to reputation or monetary compensation for design time, effort, and cost.
Whilst it is true that all designs are composed of elements of other designs reused innumerable times, the details of composition and execution certainly can and do make some designs truly "unique".

Theft of intellectual property is theft. Please don't enable vendors who subvert professional courtesy and business ethic by blinding themselves to this inconvenient reality.
This right here. Lots of good input here.
 

totallyfree

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If you want an exact copy then I vote for going back to the jeweller who produced the ring. Try to get an 'exact' copy from another jeweller without measurements/dimensions/size etc will, IMHO, end in disappointment. "I want this awesomely intricate design from XYZ".

If you want to copy elements or proportions or whatever then, I think, it's fine to seek another jeweller. Just don't expect it to look the same. "I want a solitaire bezel ring with a matte finish".
 

Skhii

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Thank you for replying, Wink!
Thanks for link and information, Pyramid!
 

LunaStar

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If someone asked me who made my ring because they wanted to have one made like it, I would be very flattered and kindly give them an honest answer. However, I do agree it is best to go to the original person who designed the ring and ask them to make it or ask for permission to have it copied. This is simply common courtesy. If the designer says no, respect that answer and choose a different style.
 

MarlonN

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Thanks you all for the replies. It's pretty clear to me now what course I would have to take if I liked a certain design and I wanted something similar.
 

Rockdiamond

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I'd be interested to know how many copyrighted jewelry designs exist. And how they are protected.

I remember working for A Jaffe, sometime in the late 1800's:) ( it was actually the 1980's)

They created a design, attempted to protect it- which was very easy because it was a dog. No one wanted to copy it.
IN another case, a design which was copyrighted back then proved extremely easy to copy without breaking copyright by changing a few elements. Not 100% sure but I believe it was the "Lucida" swoopy wire design.
I was a worker back then- had no say.
Now that I own a company that manufactures, and we do actually create designs- if anyone wants to copy them- ( and it's happened plenty of times)- I say go for it. So much of what draws me- and our clients- to the jewelry encompasses more than simple design.
Having said all that- when we are approached to copy a design we let the buyers know we don't do exact copies.
 

Texas Leaguer

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Rockdiamond|1479920221|4101917 said:
I'd be interested to know how many copyrighted jewelry designs exist. And how they are protected.

I remember working for A Jaffe, sometime in the late 1800's:) ( it was actually the 1980's)

They created a design, attempted to protect it- which was very easy because it was a dog. No one wanted to copy it.
IN another case, a design which was copyrighted back then proved extremely easy to copy without breaking copyright by changing a few elements. Not 100% sure but I believe it was the "Lucida" swoopy wire design.
I was a worker back then- had no say.
Now that I own a company that manufactures, and we do actually create designs- if anyone wants to copy them- ( and it's happened plenty of times)- I say go for it. So much of what draws me- and our clients- to the jewelry encompasses more than simple design.
Having said all that- when we are approached to copy a design we let the buyers know we don't do exact copies.
I'm not an attorney so take this with a grain of salt, but this is how I see it. (Maybe Molly Malone will chime in here). Copyrighting a design is just one step (but an important one) if you want to protect your creative property. You also must actively monitor infringement and attempt to enforce it.
The laws are designed to offer protection to those who create something truly distinctive. A design that is very simple will be difficult to actually protect. This is why so many basic designs have effectively become public domain.

Proud designers and brands that invest large sums in creating, developing, and marketing their designs are generally the ones who will defend their copyrights. And many do it quite aggressively.

But it seems to me a little like income tax. The system depends on citizens generally operating with integrity. Enforcement is certainly always a possibility, but if most people don't do the right thing, the system really doesn't work very well.
 
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