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Copyright and Your Jewelry

By December 16, 2006

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The subtitle to this blog post could be "The Never Ending Question on Copyrights and Jewelry" because this seems to be an on-going topic on the forum. Most recently, we've been discussing how to go about copyrighting your jewelry designs for exmaple

As someone whose jewelry is all over the web and also in a number of hardcopy publications, this is an issue that really affects me. However, I have mixed feelings about it just the same.

First, I don't think anyone has the right to copy another designe's work without permission in order to profit from the design. That is just plain w-r-o-n-g. If you can't make and sell your own jewelry designs, then you should not be in the jewelry business.

On the other hand, I sometimes feel like a little too much concern surrounds this issue from designers who think everyone is copying their work, when very often (not always of course), multiple designers may come up with similar designs unknowingly. I can't tell you how many times I have come up with designs that I think are the most unique fan-tab-ulous in the world, only to see them pop up in a magazine or catalog a few weeks later. I actually used to joke with my husband about how I was being watched because I was so darn brilliant and talented.

What are your thoughts? Is this a huge problem or not?

Comments

December 17, 2006 at 9:04 am
(1) Tammy says:

I agree with your comments. If a person wants to create jewelry and sell it, he or she needs to design for themselves. I make and keep my own jewelry for myself, family and friends (and Christmas gift exchanges!) but I’m on this forum alot and see comments all the time – “I saw this in a magazine, how do I make it?” and I wonder, is this person going to copy and sell it? In most cases, lots of people jump in and help the person figure it out because we want to be helpful.
Whether you consider jewelry making an art or just a craft, it’s obviously growing by leaps and bounds and thousands of us are jumping it because it’s just plain fun. With classes, tutorials, internet learning, etc. it’s only a matter of time before designs are copied, whether on purpose or inadvertently.
This may be a rare problem for serious designers who make their sole living from jewelry sales, but I don’t see it as a widespread issue for most.
Fashion is fickle; we’re already seeing celebrities in their $5K gowns with NO necklaces and I foresee a lot of jewelry makers who may end up losing money because the market is flooded or the fashion trend disappears. I love my bead stringing and will continue, but as I said, I don’t even try to sell even though my friends and family rave about my pieces.

December 17, 2006 at 4:39 pm
(2) Paula Wilson says:

I agree with the comments so far as well. The main one being ‘we need to design our OWN creations’, or we shouldn’t be in the jewelry making business.’ I have trouble with people who need to create an identical replica of a piece. I feel like screaming at them, “Use some imagination and creativity!”. Differnt colored beads, or something! It’s quite another thing to re:create a piece and then put it up for sale without acknowleding the owner to the creation. That is low. Although I love it that people share their ideas online, if a piece is copied from this, acknowledgement is due. Most of us on the forums are creative individuals with a passion to make our own statement in jewelry making. Yes, we enjoy a style or idea of someone else’s, but then we take it and add our own signature to it. I always figure that you could give us all the same inital materials; beads and findings, and we would design our own individual, unique piece of jewelry. Creativity and imagination is what makes a jewelry maker. Not a copycat. Yes, we do need to copywrite some ideas. One recent incident of this in the forum, is the bracelet and cards a lady created and how the consignment store owner copied them for her own. This upset me, but I was glad the lady confronted the store owner. This is a good time for copywriting protection.

December 17, 2006 at 11:21 pm
(3) Maura Steele says:

I believe that one can gather inspiration from other jewelry designs, but definitely not copy them. That is why we are in this jewelry business, to create different, unique and beautiful pieces; not to copy from one another. I think to copy someone’s work exactly, and make a profit from it, is like defiling, degrading and robbing the designer.

December 18, 2006 at 9:50 am
(4) Maria Soto says:

I make jewelry, I wear it, give it away as gifts, and sell it too. I never copy from any one else, I don’t like this at all. I love to create art, in any shape or form, making jewelry too me is art. I don’t look for insiration, all the pieces I make and I have for many years. are my own, if I ever see anything like, well it must be someone else out there thinks like me. I take pride in my work, and I would feel terrible to take someone else’s work for my own, I only make one piece of each, so to all the people that buy from me, know that no one else out there has a piece like theirs. so I strongly believe that no one should take someone else design and make it their own.

December 18, 2006 at 11:23 pm
(5) Kathy says:

I think it’s important to never intentionally copy from someone and try to make a profit, but some people are FAR too sensitive about this. I used to sell pieces of a different form of art on eBay and made good money, until another designer started accusing me of copying her work. She would post right after me to “show” that I was copying her. They were designs she’d sold months before I even considered selling on eBay. I had seriously never seen her stuff and just happened to come up with a similar pattern in my work. She e-mailed my bidders to say that I’d been copying her. She was just plain mean! Her nastiness cost me my lucrative eBay business because it completely destroyed my reputation in the community.
I think people should try to be understanding. My best friend and I used to always sketch designs for clothes when we were in high school. I can’t tell you how many times we got together and showed our sketches, then laughed so hard because we’d drawn virtually the exact same thing.
I’d say, try to think the best of people. But also, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with copying a design exactly for your own personal use. I mean, I’ve seen some things that I just loved exactly the way they were and made my own. Granted, the beads would change, or whatever, because I tend to always add my own twist. But people learn the craft by copying. I don’t think these copies should be sold for personal profit, unless it’s okay to do so. But how is a person supposed to learn if they can’t copy a bit?
Beads are so diverse that a true copy is rare enough, I think. I mean, if I copy a design, even if I try to do it exactly, I won’t have the same sizes or colors, so I’ll use what sizes and colors I have and make a completely different looking thing. Do I sell this work? You bet! People are so hyper-sensitive about copying, I think. Jane Pollack put it best, in her book “Decorating Eggs”. She has a chapter entitled, “Original Designs Aren’t”. I think it’s the most concise way of saying it. Or, from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Don’t TRY to copy. But don’t be surprised if you find someone else has made your work, or you look like you’ve made someone else’s.

December 20, 2006 at 2:16 pm
(6) john says:

how is a simple round gold band of which there are examples from ancient civilizations an “original design”?

jewelry, especially the simple and ancient designs and techniques, is not easily classified as completely original.

i think that valuing this false sense of originality is based in an absurd american-western view of economics and ownership and is a detriment to the true an ancient way of creating jewelry

December 21, 2006 at 7:08 am
(7) Fiona Williams says:

I think it would be extremely difficult to copyright jewellery as it goes under the heading of intellectual property. I had exactly the same situation you had. I had designed a bracelet, and lo & behold in a store magazine – there was something virtually identical. There are so many jewellery making magazines out there to give you inspiration that I usually try making one or two pieces, but always try and do it differently and add my own twist to it, so it ends up looking completely different.

December 21, 2006 at 3:01 pm
(8) Kathy says:

How can you copyright a jewelry pattern? Are you the only person who EVER thought of it? Maybe you can be an awesome master who came up with some new technique. But, guess what? The buck doesn’t stop there. Other artists will take your discovery and morph it into something completely their own.
Every artist after Picasso who painted in an abstract way was copying, I swear.
I mean, come on. People can be ridiculous about this if they take it too far.

December 23, 2006 at 10:49 am
(9) Anne says:

I teach painting and am known for my hydrangeas. It’s really”technique” painting so I see my color combinations in many offerings in stores and gift shop ads but I don’t think of these items as copies, per se. I agree that there is nothing new under the sun – just variations.

December 23, 2006 at 12:17 pm
(10) Brenda says:

This topic can really drive me crazy. I have been making necklaces, earrings and head pieces using brass stampings. Head pieces generally sell to the Renaissance market and there are only certain styles and designs that work for that style. I tried selling on ebay. There were only about 3 competitors and even though we all used the same stampings all were different. Placement, bead color and size, types of beads, dangles or no dangles etc etc. Well one seller put on their auctions that they had discovered other sellers copying her work and basically stated she was the “original” seller of this type of jewelry and implied all other sellers were copying her. After that the 3 competitors’ sales dropped drastically and her sales almost tripled.

I was so mad.

I compare it to a pair of blue jeans. There are a ton of companies that make them all with their own flare but when you get to the bare bones of it a pair of jeans is generally denim, has pockets and a zipper. Same with renaissance jewelry. There is a center piece, chain, clasp and beads or stones. Just because two sellers both use the same center peice doesn’t mean one is copying the other.

Unless you can lay the pieces side by side and can’t tell which was made by which designer it’s not coping to me.

June 7, 2007 at 1:15 pm
(11) sanam says:

All this fuss over copyrighting evrything.
Well if you are one of the consistently creative people, then create a brand and not just a peice because trends change quickly and as soon as something “new” hits the market, everybody else is going to copy it because it SELLS! Remember circle pendnats,three stone rings, charm bracelets, and the lastest journey pendants.
One cannot copyright trendy peices, because usually its the big fishes like DeBeers that have the tools to agressively market a new design or peice, and in a way it kinda helps the freelance jewelers to sell the sure product or alter it to suit their market needs. For jewelers copywriting does not make much sense and selling brand peices are very difficult.
Originality is important, but in the end its the marketing strategies and the customer service that will make or break your sale. Its worth repeating, its great customer service that will make your sale, and as far as designs are concerned, stay creative

July 5, 2007 at 8:28 pm
(12) Robert Elliott says:

I feel you look at designs when creating and create with your signiture style. But when an artist cotacts you and says you have been selling there Copyright protected designs and maybe you just did’nt know. The artist makes a living on his or her works and you should respect this. There are alot of Jewelry designs not yet submitted or registered by Copyright. I found this out myself by paying the $45.00 fee and making claim. Now I feel right selling this signature style on the web. Give your style a chance and file the form, which can be found at uspto.gov.

September 1, 2007 at 12:29 am
(13) tlf says:

It looks like this thread has been put to rest but I was hoping for some advice if anyone is out there listening. I recently introduced a new line of jewelry on Etsy. Shortly after I began receiving “hate mail” emails from the friends of another Etsy seller. The initial email was from one of the “leaders” in our artistic community…someone with lots of contacts…lucky me, these two are friends! I’m sure word of me spread like wildfire and suddenly I was getting quadruple the amount of hits on my blog than I normally get (NOT for good reasons). It turned out that my jewelry was very much the same style as her jewelry…but she had been on Etsy much longer than I had and she had been published in a magazine at one point. Her friends assumed that I had “copied” her style and literally began abusing me via email. Because I was uncertain as to whether I had inadvartantly infringed on any copyright issues I removed my listings from Etsy and contacted a lawyer who specializes in copyright, trademark, intellectual property etc… The lawyer looked into the situation, looked at pictures of my jewelry and hers and agreed that they are very similar in STYLE but in no way had I infringed.

With that settled I now have to get over the little voice in my head asking me to take a good look at my morals. Is it fair for me to compete with her in the same market place? This jewelry really does define her entire business. If you were to place one of her necklaces next to one of mine you would not be able to tell who made which. Also, is it worth it to have her friends begin bullying me again to the point that I’m afraid to check my email or to the point that I feel so stressed that I throw up several times a day? My lawyer said that if it were to start up again that I could direct them right to her to deal with, but that just seems so ugly. This whole creative business is not supposed to be so ugly.

So, I thought long and hard about it today and asked myself WHY I want to continue to make this style of jewelry. The answer is not that I want to get rich or famous off of it. It’s because I love love love creating this style of jewelry and I’m proud to show it off (if someone wants to buy a piece that’s just icing on the cake). I dream about this jewelry at night. It’s really become an obsession…but I’m certain this other designer feels the same way.

Part of me wants to contact her directly and start a dialogue about this but I’m certain that she has already formed an opinion about me and I cannot change that. I also don’t think that I should have to ask for her permission.

I’m so conflicted. I’m not trying to steal business from her. I just want to do what I love, I honestly don’t know if I can give it up. It would feel like I was giving up a part of my soul. But I don’t want to hurt her either…even though her friends have obliterated me.

I feel like I have to choose between my feelings or hers. I don’t want to have to make that decision!!

Any thoughts? Please be nice, I’m conflicted about this because I am a nice person and I don’t want to go charging in and upturn her life. Plus, I’ve really been beat up this week already.

June 11, 2008 at 9:03 am
(14) Paula says:

I agree that each persons designs should
be there design and they should be the one collecting a profit/and or given credit for that particular design or designs. For those that may not know, there is a tool that you can get from some companies that sell jewelry making
products. Such as, showcases, velvet displays for jewelry etc. upon purchasing this tool from my experience, I was asked to come up with a marking of my choice, that marking is somehow made into the tip of that tool(done at another company of course) Then I will recieve it back. I was told that the marking is very tiny just as small as when you see 24k written on a piece of jewelry. I was told that for every piece of jewelry I make, all I do is stamp it with that tool. It may not seem like a good idea to some people, but along with copyrighting photos, and have your own personal marking at least identifies proof of that particular piece being your jewelry. leaving you some relief. However; jewelry making should be fun and enjoyable for everyone

July 27, 2008 at 10:29 am
(15) mlr says:

tlf, I am sorry you have been through so much! I hope by now you have continued enjoying making your pieces! I like you, do dream of ideas at night or at very odd times! That is what makes creating so fun!

But, I also have been hurt very badly – not from others on Itsy or EBay that I don’t know- but 3 people I knew personally, and two were very close friends. My problem is people/friends making jewelry exactly like mine, but taking my creativity to market or to craft shows and saturating the area with the exact same stuff! It has been a very hard last 3 years, but you know what? Something else pops into my head and I go crazy selling that until everyone catches on…. then time for something new. I know how hard it is but just be thankful you don’t have to run into these people often! :) Hold you head up high, continue to do what you love and remember that I think ALL designers go through this…… So whether you are being copied or “accussed of copying” it all is painful! :( Just move forward with what you are good at doing!!!!!! :)

October 11, 2008 at 5:34 pm
(16) krd says:

I am sickened by this whole thing. I have been creating my jewelry for seven years now and selling for almost four. I am working on building my brand as my pieces are very unique and distinctively mine. It makes me angry beyond words when someone is studying my work and asking all kinds of questions. Come up with your own ideas people!!! Are you an artist or aren’t you??? If you are truly an artist you will NEVER need to copy. For the true artists, please don’t copy our work. If you can’t come up with your own designs then GET A JOB!!! Don’t call yourself a jewelry designer. I am in the process of taking legal action against an artist who bought a piece from me back in May of 2008 and I caught at a local show selling the EXACT REPLICA of my necklace in different colors and stones. She was selling them in droves. To me, she is a thief with no ethics, creativity or morals. I am going to nail her to the wall if I can./

November 6, 2008 at 10:09 pm
(17) Rick says:

NOTHING is created in a vacuum. WE are ALL in-
fluenced by everything (yes subconsciously as well). If you are simply putting beads on wire
you are NOT doing anything a monkey couldn’t do.
Try SCULPTING..this will separate the HOBBYISTS
from the ARTISTS.

November 15, 2008 at 10:30 pm
(18) shasha says:

I agree. Beading and wire is fun, but anyone who thinks that they hold the key to a “new” way of working with the material is kidding themselves. Try going to RISD and learning a few more complicated techniques and maybe you won’t feel so possessive of the crafting materials. I have been working with wire for 18 yrs and have been “knocked off” by numerous people. It just means they are out of ideas and I need to step up difficulty of the work or come up with a new idea.

November 28, 2008 at 1:28 pm
(19) jeff hall says:

In our case 90% of all copyright infringement stems from Pakistan, India and China where enforcement of those rights is all but impossible. Even in the remote possibilty of locating the plagarist it is extremely difficult to find a local magistrate or judge that will entertain an action for copyright enforcement.
As soon we publish an image of our jewellery online then we write off the design copyright in it because we know that in weeks if the design is good it will be mass produced in Chinese factories.
The only way to protect your jewellery is to establish a brand name and link that item to the brand such as Tiffanys or playboy jewellery. Unless or until you establish a brand name forget any idea of enforcing your intellectual property rights as i fear with the utmost regret that in todays global market those rights will be trampled all over.

December 2, 2008 at 3:01 pm
(20) Observer1 says:

@ krd

I’m sorry, but you’re kidding yourself if you honestly believe that your style is UTTERLY unique and came into existence entirely of its own. No one is born with perfectly formed ideas in their head – we grow up watching the world around us and are influenced by everything we see. Then, as we form opinions and gather impressions into tangible ideas, we begin to create. This creative process, in and of itself, does not belong to you or me or anyone else, but to the human community as a whole.

Sure, I agree that it was wrong of someone to duplicate your style down to the smallest detail, but then, let’s be honest…how many ways are there to string a necklace? How many ways are there to wrap wire or attach a pendant? Of course there are wonderfully unusual items out there, but in each one you’ll ALWAYS find at least one thing you’ve seen somewhere else.

I don’t know…I’m just annoyed by the high and mighty attitude of “I’M an artist, but look at how pathetic YOU are, looking at what others do to get inspired! Obviously I am far greater than you, petty mortal!” ALL of us seek and find inspiration in the words, actions, and creativity of those around us.

In any case…in the writing community, there is a joke which says that, should you come up with an amazing idea for a novel, you had better write it very fast, because the idea will catch some kind of cosmic wave and crash into a dozen other minds a moment after it occurs to you. I believe this, as I am a writer and have seen it happen first-hand, on more than one occasion. I’ve had to abandon entire projects because, while writing, I bought a new novel to read before bed and discovered it was essentially the same thing I was working on. I suppose this is due to what some call the collective consciousness, and it surely applies to all creative endeavors…:-)

Now, before you jump down my throat…lol…I do know how you feel, somewhat. Many years ago I submitted a manuscript to an agent (who also wrote novels, as a lot of them do), and was soundly rejected. A few months later, I browsed the book store, saw her name on the spine of a book, picked it up to read the blurb, and discovered a plot so very close to the one I’d submitted to her, it almost certainly couldn’t have been coincidence. Did I whine, cry, or sue? Nawww. Why not? Well, I know very few writers make a lot of money, and I wasn’t about to stress myself out over a few dollars. My health is more important to me than that. Also, what if, by some small chance, the idea had occurred to her independently? If that had been the case and I had sued her, I’d have caused a lot of heartache and stress for nothing…both to her and to myself.

Just relax and design to your heart’s content. Every minute you waste worrying about who is copying you is a minute you could have spent being happy and doing what you love. People will steal. It’s a risk you take whenever you present something to the public. Ultimately, it helps to remember that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and that, in the grand scheme of things, money is little more than smoke and mirrors…:-)

December 23, 2008 at 12:20 am
(21) janice says:

Hi, I’m a novice in jewerly making. I enjoy it so much. It is therapy for me. Someone said that in the beginning everyone copies others designs. But, now I’m becoming more creative and obtaining inspiration from others designs. I wonder if there is such a thing as a history of jewerly design museum in the U.S. I would be so cool to compare jewerly designs through the centuries. I would venture to say that we would find that there is very little that is new under the sun.

October 3, 2009 at 6:39 pm
(22) bodhigirl says:

I am happy to have found this blog! I have just copyrighted three designs, through the US Copyright Office. They have a box, right on the copyright form, that is for jewelry design. Many people have won lawsuits in this country based on having made the copyrights formal before selling their items.
There are also trademarks, for logos, that may include a design. The lawyers make some money, but if you are looking to become a designer who makes a statement, e.g., “hello, kitty” or “gumby” or the simpsons, etc…then, looking into the real law of copyright is highly advisable.
it doesn’t guarantee that hong kong won’t rip you off in the long-run, but we can only control what we can.
best wishes to all,
bg

October 22, 2009 at 12:22 pm
(23) Oh My Gosh says:

I’m an artist (jewelry, silversmith), I also have a full time job. I would love to sit around and do art all day long, but it is really hard to earn a living from it, especially in this economy.

My thoughts on copyright:
1) Jewelry has been around almost as long as humans. What design do you see today that has not already been done? Processes cannot be copyrighted- that said, bezels, cold connections, etc, coupled with different beads, colors, sizes, if you think you have something unique, it’s probably because you don’t get out much. Most everything has been hung from a string or chain at some point. I recently went to a beach/sea show where a vendor had some really beautiful stuff- very well made- while I was there another person took a picture of her stand. The vendor became angry and told the person that no photography was allowed and that all her jewelry was copyrighted. My objections to this are that anything in the public is allowed to be photographed. Look at the papparazzi, they photograph everything and everybody. Second of all, the vendor’s jewelry was simply beach/sea glass (if you know beach glass, you know that no 2 pieces are ever alike and thus unable to be copied in a design) in bezels. the only thing added to the bezel work was a nautical theme shaped (octopus) cut out of the back of the bezel and somewhat visible through the glass. Now I can almost see a copyright for the octopus shape (although I would consider it a simple shape, like nobody else ever drew an octopus!), but people (myself included) have been cutting out shapes in the backs of bezels for years. Nothing unique. Plus later I visited the vendor’s website where she has pictures of her work for sale, saves people the trouble of even taking a picture when you can pull it right off the web. Once again you cannot copyright a process: cutting the back of a bezel!?

I’m not going to go on. There are not any original ideas with jewelry. It’s been done. There are set jewels in the pharaoh’s tombs.

I’ve made jewelry that was made public in shows, that I’ve later seen other people make. Did I make the original? Did they? I doubt either of us “created” it. Did I get mad, call a lawyer? No. Do you know why? Nobody owns a design. You can copyright your jewelry till you’re blue in the face. The people at the copyright office don’t sift through copyrighted jewelry to look for similarities. There could be 200 copyrights for the exact same design.

So here’s some advice for all my artist brethren:
If you make something that you think is unique, change your thoughts.
If you are absolutely too egotistical and isolated to do that and you see something “copied” that you think you “uniquely created”, feel flattered that somebody liked your art so much that they copied it. Be proud. Art for art’s sake.

Take care all of you- and good luck.

November 8, 2009 at 9:15 pm
(24) Alina says:

So this article is a little interesting, but my thing is, what if you want to copyright a jewelry design you created yourself and then want someone else to make that design into a reality and create it and then have them process it and sell it. Which in tell both you the artist of the design and the person who manufactured it and sold it would both get some profit out of it? How would I go about doing that while still having rights to my design? Thank you for any replies. I greatly appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Alina

November 26, 2009 at 10:37 am
(25) beatrice says:

I hope someone can help me here.
My concern is using famous people’s pictures as part of jewelry, should I ask for consent first? Say, I want to use Madonna’s picture, where do I get the permission to use her picture as a pendant to a necklace?
Thank you in advance.

April 29, 2010 at 1:00 pm
(26) bunkogirl says:

Great topic.
How about the ready t make jewelry kits many sell. Can I buy several kits and make to sell for profit. Do I need to add the kits company name?
I asked the owner of a large supply company that sells lovely kits for earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, and she stated I could make and sell these items. How do I let others know that these are not my design but that I made them?
Puzzled jewelry maker

May 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm
(27) Dkaping says:

Great discussion.

I am curious when a design patent is needed vs a copyright for my jewelry application.

Does a copyright really provide that much protection? Lawyers say yes though they make on average, $1000 per filing.

Help!

August 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm
(28) pat says:

Jewelry designs have been passed down through the ages and mostly are replicated in one form or another It is virtually impossible to be 100 % original unless you design and manufacture the components yourself…like a handmade pendant ( if you do the silver or gold work yourself and make the bead yourself it then is original ) anything made with ready made finedings or pendants is going be reproduced with minor variations in which case you cannot claim that you are the only one who can use this design and you have no right to copywrite it, or claim it belongs to you. Designs are taught in magazines,books,classes and online through bead companies..ideas are for everyone. No indiviual can claim that all their designs are there own and a design must be 100 % copied for any one to claim copywrite infringement.
What is copywriteable are your own pictures…no one can use your picture and put their name on it. Many people misunderstand what copywrite is. It usually applies to
•literary works
•musical works, including any accompanying words
•dramatic works, including any accompanying music
•pantomimes and choreographic works
•pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
•motion pictures and other audiovisual works
•sound recordings
•architectural works
Jewelry designs not concidered copywriteable. Just like fonts,graphics,borders,frames cannot be copywrited by the user because the copywrites belong to the company who produces the software and permission is given for the public to use them..you cannot claim a font or border on a picture can be used only by you…..they are made for public use.

April 6, 2011 at 12:21 am
(29) Val says:

Jewelry IS copyrightable. It falls under “sculputural”. Tiffany copyrights their designs…

May 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm
(30) svetlana says:

i recently came across a web-site selling patterns ( very pricey, by the way) for peyote stitch butterflies. They were very beautiful and the page included copyright infringement warnings as well as don’t attempt to figure it out on your own because that’s illegal too. I am familiar with a San Fransisco bead artist who makes wonderful jewelry, mostly nature themed, who sells the jewelry through a shop, on-line, and teaches classes on the techniques used to create the jewelry. Guess what!!! They both used the same technique and the only variation was the patterning ( bead colors) that were used. They both copyrighted it. What’s up? Yea, “there’s nothing you can do that ain’t been done – there’s nothing you can sing that ain’t been sung” sorry, John Lennon, for ripping off your line but then, didn’t you derive this from the Bible? Hope there’s not a lawsuit looming in my future. There is a disgusting trend these days of grabbing things out of the air and patenting it or copyrighting it.

Bless the jewelry artists who willingly share their designs and techniques and only ask that beaders not mass market their creations but allow for small local sales. Beading materials are very expensive for most and this allows the beader to make the material costs back plus a little extra. So this provides the opportunity to continue beading without going broke and perhaps in the future, the beader can learn enough and gain enough confidence to create their own designs. Thank you for your generosity.

July 27, 2011 at 2:45 am
(31) Angie says:

While you should never copy others work, it irritates me when I see people with copyright on wire wrapped crystal jewelry. I’m sorry, but due to the fact that gypsies 500 plus years ago were wire wrapping crystals, rocks, etc- I do not believe you should be able to copyright wire wrapping as it has been done before- like it or not.

September 19, 2011 at 8:59 pm
(32) Nia says:

This is basically a question, I have seen many New Orleans artist’s make “Ain’t Dere No More” jewelry with images like K&B, DH Holmes, Schwegmann’s, McKenzie’s Bakery all images are copyrighted. Would this fall under copyright infringement?

February 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm
(33) Celera says:

There is a bold line between “true originality” and “I have the copyright”.
The first is something done first time in human history. The second is the result from a $35 process. Yet US copyright system makes this line very fuzzy. It gives all applicants a sense that they have the certified originality of certain jewelry designs yet it doesn’t compare their works with all those submitted before. It certifies everything. So the real battle is in court decided by other authorities instead of the designers from either side. It simply doesn’t matter who says what on ebay and stuffs.
I would suggest those who have the true passion not to breakdown and to be intimidated. Because to accuse others of stealing your work, you should prove at first that no one else have ever have the same design or same part of the design before you. The rule applies to both sides. May be the accuser is also guilty.

January 24, 2013 at 10:34 pm
(34) rebecca says:

I have to ask though, what about people who outsource. Are we protected from people who outsource to China, have them made and then sell them in America for dirt cheap? Also, I was thinking about displaying my jewelry at a fashion show but then someone told me I’d be fresh meat because a bunch of innovators with lots of money in the fashion industry would steal the design, maybe alter it a little, and then mass produce it and distribute it through out stores in the U.S. How do I really know if my design is even stolen? If I see it being sold in a store months later…how would I even know if and who stole the design? All I would know is that it would be much mor affordable and my clients would be able to afford them and therefore choose the cheaper option…. my design would no longer carry the one of a kind value….how do I really know? I guess I really must just pay for a copyright?

February 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm
(35) Martha says:

This topic fascinates me. Over here, in the UK, you own your design once it hits the ‘outside world.’ My designs are unusual; whether or not they’ve been done before, I don’t know. I never look at how-to books and rarely look at other jewellery sites (unless I know they are not using the same materials or creating the same sort of jewellery) so that I can keep any subconscious influences at bay. But, here’s the thing. This is my job. I have to make money to live because I became disabled and unemployable (in a good economy, maybe, but pushing 60 in this economy, there is no way anyone would ever hire me). If I found someone selling a duplicate of one of my designs, I wouldn’t sue. But I would send them a very polite and anger-free cease and desist letter. I’ve had the problem in the past and, thankfully, that was all it took. (I should note that I’m an American ex-pat – grew up and lived in the States until I was 44 years old, so I do know how things are over there.)

It was someone searching design infringement after viewing my site (oh I do love the detail I get from Stat Counter) that prompted me to look at what this person may have found. It has been a fascinating read.

Martha

March 19, 2013 at 10:03 am
(36) julie says:

Ok, so maybe this is off the subject a bit, but not really,. ok, so I sell rings, pretty basic designs, I don’t copy, but tend to have same rings as everyone else in the end, plain bands are not copyrighted, correct> However, I do have others purchasing these bands, then reselling them in their own jewelry stores, and websites, as their own personal works, IS this legal, and if not, what can I do. I just recently found my work being worn by famous clients, such as the likes of denise Richards, felicity Huffman, and so on, not only that, someone else is taking full credit for the work, when they purchased my rings to enhance. Should I not be given rightful credit, Im not expecting to be paid a million dollars, but I was not told this person planned to use my jewelry to sell as their own, IM more concerned with the direct competition of my work.. thank you. Ive also seen my work in magazines, being worn in ads by Abercrombie and Fitch, and so on. Style magazine, and more. Should I not be made aware of this by the person taking credit for the work, when I in fact made the majority of the jewelry?

July 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm
(37) Patrick Hense says:

I agree completely that often we come up with designs that have already been thought up. Frankly, this stands to reason as “design” is often studied and taught, and there are only so many ways to reinvent a wheel. This is even more true when considering the number of designs through out history.
To accidentally duplicate on occasion (albeit unintentionally) is inevitable.

What is really difficult is that you or anyone else can go into almost ANY jewelry store and ask that jeweler for his or her best price on ANY designer’s design. They send the design to their CAD person and Viola; there is a perfect knock-off design at about 1/3 the price with no credit going to the original designer. This happens every day in our industry and I do not see any way around it.

September 25, 2013 at 9:47 am
(38) Kris says:

I too create jewelry on etsy. I believe my bracelets to be very unique. Although, I use a lot of the same charms and beads that are available to everyone. I have had another designer continuously accuse me of copyright infringement. It’s awful, she cause me a lot of anxiety.

I look at my designs and hers and they are very different, however once in a while there are a few similarities. Not sure what to do. I’ve taken down a couple of my listings because she scares me. I have google analytics and I know she visits my shop 5-7 times a day. It’s almost as if she is just waiting for one to be too similar. I don’t visit her shop, but once in a while to make sure I’m not infringing. I design my own jewelry, never copied anyone else. There are a lot of other shops that are nearly identical to hers, yet she continues to focus on mine.

I don’t know how to get a lawyers opinion, how much does that cost?
Any suggestions.

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