Have you ever gotten a copyright?

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Forum topic by kjwoodworking posted 02-16-2008 06:51 PM 1482 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View kjwoodworking's profile


266 posts in 5219 days

02-16-2008 06:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: copyright

I was curious if any one here had first hand experience with copyrighting a project?

I have designed three wood guitar stands.
I am interested in getting a copyright on the design and was wondering if anyone has done this by submitting there own copyright without the help of a lawyer? The only reason I’m contemplating doing this without a lawyer is because of money.

I like everyone who designs or invents something, thinks their idea is a good one and will sell. I feel my designs will appeal to a lot of guitar players and will compliment how their instrument is displayed.

Any advice on this subject is welcome.

-- Kirk H. --

10 replies so far

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 5638 days

#1 posted 02-16-2008 06:56 PM

Wouldn’t you start with a patent? What’s the difference between a copyright and a patent. Is one for written matter and one for actual objects?

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4074 posts in 5395 days

#2 posted 02-16-2008 07:14 PM

I believe copywrite only applies to reproduction of written work, music and photography. I think you are looking for a patent.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View kjwoodworking's profile


266 posts in 5219 days

#3 posted 02-16-2008 07:21 PM

Not sure exactly, that is why I’m asking.

I was thinking I wasn’t reinventing the guitar stand, just its look.
I was looking at the arts and crafts copyright for the design.

It has been a while since researching patents/copyrights, something I saw on here today reminded me. I have been wanting to do it for awhile now, have gone to US Patent and Trademark office and gotten Form VA. This is for copyrighting Visual Arts and guitar stand can be copyrighted as three dimensional sculpture. It is far cheaper and easier to obtain than patent. (The price difference is 30.00 for copyright to hundreds even thousands for patent.)
I heard of people getting the copyright for their crafts they build. That is why I am asking this question here. I am trying to do it the cheapest way possible, which isn’t always the best way, but you do what you have to do! I am hoping someone here has the experience and can guide me in the right direction.

-- Kirk H. --

View tpastore's profile


105 posts in 5147 days

#4 posted 02-16-2008 07:25 PM

Copyright is correct. My parents are jewelers and they looked into copyrighting their designs. The problem is that someone can take your design, make it slightly different and it is legal. Unfortunately, the amount it needs to be different is small enough that it is really a knock-off of your design. I wish the news was better. In the case of my parents, they have competitors that take their designs, send them overseas and then the market is flooded with items that are the exact same thing except poor quality. In one case they didnt even bother to grind off the stamped company logo before they made the mold for the casting.

You could try a patent but it will cost much more and have the same issues with people getting around the design. Your best bet is to design and build something that cannot be made easily by a machine or copied by an inexperienced craftsman.


View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 5220 days

#5 posted 02-17-2008 01:06 AM


You do not need anything special to enforce the copyright. If you want, you can register your copyright but that does not make it more enforceable. Unfortunately, you cannot copyright the look of something, especially if it is a craft. You can control the distribution of your work and reproductions of it but only of the actual work not a copy of your work. This effectively means that you can control who gets the picture of your work (faithful reproduction) but not the actual design. Any non mechanical means to reproduce the work is not considered reproduction and it is not covered by copyright. If I make a piece looking like yours, there is no way you can enforce the copyright since I did not use a mechanical copying technique. You could copyright the blueprint but you can only control how the blueprint is distributed not the actual product that results from using the blueprint. Re-engineering is done on a large scale in industry, by the way.

Now, you could get a patent on your “invention” but it better be the case that some kind of device is involved. You cannot patent the look of something. You cannot patent functionality either. You can only patent your way to achieve some functionality. If somebody finds another way to achieve the same functionality, your patent does not really apply. A patent though, is a really big hassle. It costs 5000$ to apply for a patent in US but as much as 90,000$ for an international patent. Unless a large enough entity is infringing on your patent, it is absolutely not worth enforcing.

By what you are describing neither the copyright or patent law can protect your design so you’d better keep is secret. By the way, if you sell a product, the customer is free to post pictures of it on the web since they own the physical object.


-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View Dave Maciel's profile

Dave Maciel

5 posts in 5097 days

#6 posted 02-17-2008 02:18 AM


I applied for a design patent for a lamp and it was granted in the middle 60’s. It was good for 13 years and could be renewed 1 time. I had the work done by a patent attorney for a total cost of $600.00.

Before you decide you should get the advice of an attorney which could be free for the initial visit.


-- DaveM -Always Learning

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5659 days

#7 posted 02-17-2008 02:44 AM

There’s always the supercheap version – mailing pictures, photocopies or whatever to yourself, and NOT opening the envelope unless before a judge. (the cancelled stamp proves the date – but works more with a manuscript, or other visual creative works you are trying to keep from being stolen and republished (which you can’t) but can only prove original authorship, which may be worth something. (more than the cost of the stamp.)
I’ve looked into this before with 2 dimensional artwork, and a character I created. Lots of good advice preceding this comment.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View kjwoodworking's profile


266 posts in 5219 days

#8 posted 02-17-2008 03:12 AM

Thanks for your advice all.

I may have to give the lawyer a try and see what they say when I can afford it. Like everything else there is no simple answer to anything I want to do. I have been excited about the guitar stands since I designed and built my first one. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to build them and maybe make a dollar or two.

Thanks again for all your replies.

-- Kirk H. --

View thewoodwhisperer's profile


605 posts in 5516 days

#9 posted 02-17-2008 04:28 AM

Unfortunately, as I understand it, patents and copyrights are really only as good as your ability to defend them. And given the “questionable” nature of patenting our work in the first place, I’m not sure many of us have pockets deep enough to do anything about an infringement.

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 5220 days

#10 posted 02-17-2008 06:17 AM


Copyright is fairly easy to enforce. Patents are atrociously hard to enforce. Somebody with deep enough pockets can bankrupt you (a patent lawsuit can last 10 years easily) and it is not worth going after somebody without deep pockets since the remedy is usually some licensing fee and possibly a injunction to prevent the future manufacture of the product. Only the method is patentable even the fees for the patent office are non-negligible. Unless you get one of the of the companies that manufacture new products that help inventors file the patent, your chance to file and enforce your patent is tiny. Even large organizations, like University of Florida for which I work, have trouble enforcing/licensing their patents.


-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

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