Public domain designs

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by twilli49, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. twilli49
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    twilli49 New Member

    I have started a boat building company and have been inspired by old designs. There are many of these designs found on the internet, some 40-50 years old. I would like to build these for resale and I'm concerned with copyright or patent issues. How do you tell if an old design is public domain? An example is Weston Farmer's designs. I believe his grandson owns his designs but do copyrights apply? Can these boats be built for commercial purposes?
     
  2. tinhorn
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    tinhorn Senior Member

    I don't have the answer to your question, but with as many opinionated characters as we have here, you should get several.

    Maybe they just haven't noticed this thread yet.
     
  3. DrKungPao
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    DrKungPao Junior Member

  4. kengrome
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    kengrome Senior Member

    In the case of Weston Farmers designs: Copyrights do apply, and no they cannot be built commercially without the proper licenses. In fact his plans are being marketed/sold by duckworks:

    http://www.duckworksbbs.com/plans/wf/index.htm
     
  5. Wood Gopher
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    Wood Gopher New Member

    Here is a link that lists manufacturers with vessell hull registration. Their designs are protected. I did not find Farmers designs on the site. If you are interested in building his boats, I believe his grandson Dave Farmer owns the designs. I have no idea on how to contact him. Kengrome Mentioned a proper license. I don't know what that is or where you would get one but I would like to know more on that subject

    http://www.copyright.gov/vessels/list/index.html
     
  6. kengrome
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    kengrome Senior Member

    Normally when you buy a set of plans your purchase gives you the right to build ONE BOAT from those plans. That's the license I'm talking about. If you want to build two boats you have to buy two licenses.

    Some plans sellers offer a discount (such as Hartley for example). You can buy one set of plans and it comes with a license to build one boat. If you want to build more boats from the same set of plans, you simply send them 1/3 the cost of the plans for every additional boat you build.
     
  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Kenneth, the "royalty rights" you speak of (1/3 the cost of the plans . . .) is subject to the designer and not a specific ratio.
     
  8. kengrome
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    kengrome Senior Member

    I know, but Hartley charges this rate so I used them as an example for illustration purposes.

    I guess I didn't make it clear that "1/3 the plans price" is only Hartley's rate -- and that others will have their own rates -- so thanks for helping to clarify this issue for anyone who reads it in the future.

    :)
     
  9. Seafra
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    Seafra Sailing Nerd

    Maritime museums like Mystic Seaport have pretty extensive collections of plans which can be had reasonably. I'd talk to them.

    I don't really know that...I've just heard it FWIW YMMV.
     
  10. BHOFM
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    BHOFM Senior Member

    My wife is a lawyer, and her opinion
    is:

    If the plans are posted on the web with the consent or
    knowledge of the "owner" of the plans, they are public
    domain and not subject to any restriction!

    If they are posted by a reputable site and there are
    no notations of copyright, build and sell as many as
    you like!

    She want to know where to send the bill for her
    services in this matter??

    If they are posted by an individual on a forum or such
    use caution and do some investigation first!

    Or use the plans as a guide and build a boat of your own
    design! Just a few inches here and there will make it a
    "new" design!

    And plans that were published in a magazine or other
    public publication are public domain to start with!

    She would like to know who gets the bill for her
    services and where to send it??
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Actually you wife is incorrect (no offense intended). If the document is on the net, but is protected by patent or copyright, then you can't legally use it without express permission from the owner. There are cases where the copyright or patent information is to small to reproduce on the screen. It doesn't mean it not there, just that it's not easily visible.

    The same is true of TV broadcasts over the free air waves (for example). There're subject to the same protection, even though they are available to anyone with a TV antenna. If you record a program, then stop recording before the credits roll (with it's copyright protection disclaimers), it's still protected, even though you didn't see anything about it on the recording.
     
  12. BHOFM
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    BHOFM Senior Member

    What she was referring to was plans that are "Free" placed
    on the web by or with consent of the owner. As in the case
    of the Old magazine plans!

    Also, you can build the boat and sell it, but don't reprint
    the plans and sell them, that's a whole new can of worms!
     
  13. twilli49
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    twilli49 New Member

    I appreciate all of the input. I have continued my efforts at tracking down designers and/or licensing/patent/copyrights etc., with little result. I contacted the web site with Farmers designs and received no reply. Others I have not found any information at all. Most of these people are deceased by now. I will continue my efforts though and pass on any information I receive. Please continue to relate any information you find.
     
  14. kengrome
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    kengrome Senior Member

    You don't contact a website, you contact a person. Who did you try to contact, Chuck Leinweber or someone else? What email did you use? Chuck is active in the dwforum Yahoo group and he has always answered me promptly when I've emailed him unless he's out of town ...
     

  15. twilli49
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    twilli49 New Member

    I sent an e-mail to Chuck at the address listed on DuckWorks web site. I got a reply about screening for spam, went through the screening process and received notification the e-mail went through. I never received a reply.
     
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