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Marcia Selsor

Where Is The Line For Intellectual Property Rights Vs. Copying Others

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

With several threads relating to this issue where does the line get drawn between copying and an artist's right to their intellectual property right. Do you respect that line?

I think it can be a hard call when so many people do workshop and willingly share their knowledge. Others work hard to develop a marketable process and don't want to share. How do you determine the difference?

 

Marcia

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Judith B    52

Sometimes I feel this copyrighting thing is just plain wrong. So many times I have been looking for internship with ceramists to learn some techniques, and so many times I've heard people being afraid of sharing their knowledge because they feared someone would copy what they do. So by not sharing the knowledge, it doesn't help the whole community. And I also believe that it is just impossible to do exactely the same thing. And also, if you have a specific style that people like, I don't see any reason why your clients would go someplace else. But overall, I feel each potter has his own way of working and even though you can learn the exact same technique as another potter, your results will be different.

I believe sharing and giving workshop and courses is a great way to allow people to learn and to discover something they don't know, and it is also very stimulating for the instructor to see how people interpet the techniques and what they do with it.

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

Paul Soldner used a stamp made from an impression of his naval to sign his work. He said everyone has one but none are the same.

Marcia

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Chris Campbell    1,088

In 1996 a woman named Judith Skinner invented a revolutionary new way of blending polymer clay colors. When fellow artists in her group studio saw her results they immediately wanted to know how she did it ...  AND SHE TOLD THEM.  She just called it a blending technique but they wanted to name it The Skinner Blend and they did. This new method spread like wildfire around the polymer clay world.

 

Less than ten years later you could not open any polymer clay book without seeing the use of Skinner Blends. It is the go to technique ... if you Google the term you come up with over 200,000 sites. So ... what if Judith had hidden her method, refused to tell anyone else, kept her secret to herself for her own work??? Is it a little bit better to have her story be a wonderful lesson on the power of open sharing??

 

Before I started to teach the Skinner Blend method for our earthen clays, I tried to contact Judith to see if it was OK with her but never got an answer. So I make sure to give her 100% credit for the basic method.

 

I think it is naive of any of us to pretend we learned in some kind of vacuum with no influences from others. To try to plant our flag in clay ( of all things ) and claim some hill in the territory for ourselves.

 

It is as difficult to throw off our influences as it is to try to copy someone.

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

I agree , Chris. Most potters I know openly share their knowledge. Look at the level you have taken the process in your own work and all the teaching you have done.  I have met some who don't share and get nasty about it, but they are few and far between. There have been two threads going about studio mates trying to copy techniques and the other from a student possibly mislead by an instructor.
They present two perspectives of not sharing or not sharing well. One professional doesn't want to share for business reasons. The Instructor just may have left out details.
I was intrique last year by someone here who posted a foil saggar pot but really couldn't say what had been used. I researched the concept and began experimenting. Met Ken Turner who taught it at the Alternative firing conference. I love it. I have been using lots of old chemicals from my stash that are 40+ years old.
On the other hand I have seen George Ohr knock-offs being sold online. SO where is the line?
I think you and I agree. Inspiration can trigger action to research and develop a direction of one's own. That is as it should be in my opinion.I also am having a great time with Obvara and have a circle of enthusiast like Up in Smoke from here.I love discovering something new and pushing the limits with it.
Marcia

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Benzine    611

As a teacher, it's hard for me to imagine not sharing knowledge.  Obviously, I'm teaching the students the basics; pigment mixing, shading, additive/ subtractive sculptural techniques, but it goes beyond that.  I made a sculpture a couple years ago, for my classroom.  A student was making their own sculpture, liked the look of my sculpture's base, and wondered how I made it.  I had no problem telling him.  I will also have students take interest in my glaze combinations, and application techniques.  They once again ask, how I accomplished them.  And once again, I have no problem telling them.  I may have been the one, who took the time to try different layering of the glazes, and methods for applying them.  But a couple things, one even if I tell them exactly how I accomplished something, will their work look exactly like mine?  I would say probably not.  Secondly, I am not dense enough to think that I am the only person to come up with that combination of glazes and/ or method for applying them.

 

It's like I tell my students, you can be inspired by something, but make it your own.  Don't copy, don't "borrow" heavily, but by all means be inspired.  

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

Benzine,

I have not doubt you are a dedicated teacher. Thanks for sharing your perspective. teachers are suppose to encourage intellectual growth of their students.

That is a problem with the "teach to the test" but lets not go there. Thanks.

Marcia

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bciskepottery    925

With regard to intellectual property, there are three avenues of protection: copyright, patent, and trademark. Each of these avenues has different criteria for obtaining protection. Google "intellectual property and the arts" and you'll get a number of responses to read up on; avoid the "cell-block lawyers" spouting advice in blogs; go with law firms, arts associations, etc. who have some expertise in the area -- because the area is quite complicated and nuanced.

 

Potters -- and some other artists/craftspersons -- share because of the common history and role of pottery in the world. The forms are pretty much all out there; doubt we'll come up with anything original. What we do add are our personal approaches for making the form, elements that make the form our own, e.g., many folks make large casseroles, but you can spot a Tony Clennell by the handles a mile away, or unique glazes, artwork etc.

 

You can copyright/trademark original templates that you came up with (Sandi Pierantozzi), tools (Michael Sherrill's mud ribs and sponges), Giffin grips, etc.

 

Will that stop someone from copying or making a "new, improved version", e.g, trimming tools with nice foam cushion handles -- no.

 

Hummel made beautiful small sculptures . . . which were followed by many copiers.

 

Sharing is good, but we must also respect people who chose not to share -- whatever their reasons. But, if you chose to share, then share everything -- including the 10% feldspar.

 

It's funny, we complain about Chinese knock-offs and mass produced copies of mugs, but er want the potter next door to give us the low down so we can make their wares or glazes, too.

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JBaymore    1,432

It's funny, we complain about Chinese knock-offs and mass produced copies of mugs, but er want the potter next door to give us the low down so we can make their wares or glazes, too.

 

THAT cuts to the chase, doesn't it.

 

best,

 

......................john

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Chris Campbell    1,088

Well, you cannot borrow or copy experience. You can't simulate it either

You can't steal how it should look or feel.

You can't teach gut instinct learned over time.

So let people take ... by the time they catch up you will be on to something else.

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Judith B    52

Chris, I totally agree with you! Even though you give someone your glaze recipe, if they don't fire the exactely way you do, it won't look the same. Or if they dip into the glaze whereas your brush it... These things are just a tiny part of such a huge and complicated process that I believe it is impossible (almost) to really copy something.

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Roberta12    135

I woke up the other morning with a project in my head.  I couldn't get it out.  I could see how I was going to glaze it, what size it would be, how I would "package" it, everything!   Then I spent two days wondering if I had seen this "project" somewhere else??  Was it an image I had seen, a plate I had used somewhere???   I finally had to go ahead and try to figure out how to make it.   While I was working on a variety of mold/form possibilities, I realized that even if I had seen it somewhere else,  by the time I was done, it wouldn't look like someone else's work.  (Maybe this goes under the Image Envy thread).....   but while I was trying to get the form the way I "see" it in my head, I knew that every teacher, every potter friend that ever shared tips/skills/information was right there with me!!   So, to alllll of them past and present, I say "Thanks for Sharing!"

 

Roberta

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