selling origami online

General discussion about Origami, Papers, Diagramming, ...

selling origami online

Postby fefe105 » January 20th, 2017, 5:28 am

Hi, I have seen many other stores online selling origami. I have seen people selling non traditional origami creation. such as the Kawasaki rose, other flowers, Tomoko Fuse models, kusudama models, and those cute elephants designed by Fumiaki Kawahata. I thought you can only sell traditional models? Did they have permission from those authors? If so, how did they contact them in the first place? I thought of opening a shop selling origami cranes but I stumble upon other origami shops and saw all these listing.
fefe105
Newbie
 
Posts: 1
Joined: January 20th, 2017, 5:18 am

Re: selling origami online

Postby Gerardo » January 24th, 2017, 8:00 pm

Welcome fefe105 :).

The answer might be different between one case and another. Some may have acquired authorization, some others may be selling them without it. Those that asked for authorization might have asked around the web in order to reach the respective copyright-holder. Some of them might have specifically asked Origami Authors and Creators OAC.

Many many countries don't allow selling unauthorized copies of a copyright protected work. If you think that's the case regarding some of the origami shops you saw, you could inform OAC so they can let the copyright-holders know. Then they can decide what to do :).


Thanks for the question.
Please support Neorigami: http://neorigami.com. Share one of your own creations.
User avatar
Gerardo
Buddha
 
Posts: 1343
Joined: March 4th, 2010, 2:36 am

Re: selling origami online

Postby steingar » February 1st, 2017, 11:48 pm

It is not any any way clear that selling models folded by oneself from the designs of others is in any way contrary to any statute. In the US it is not specifically prohibited by law, and is thus legal until someone determines otherwise.
steingar
Senior Member
 
Posts: 346
Joined: May 27th, 2008, 11:34 pm

Re: selling origami online

Postby Gerardo » February 3rd, 2017, 3:47 am

Are you referring to the fact that there hasn't been a legal precedent, regarding origami, in the US? If so, you're right. Now, despite that, I completely agree with this document of OrigamiUSA which explains that original origami works are effectively copyright protected: https://origamiusa.org/files/OrigamiUSA ... is+FAQ.pdf

The following is the general idea shared by OrigamiUSA and other origamists, including myself. US copyright law, and similarly copyright laws from other countries, declare:

102. Subject matter of copyright: In general

(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:

(1) literary works;

(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;

(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;

(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;

(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;

(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

(7) sound recordings; and

(8) architectural works.

Source: https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html

An original origami work is fixed in a tangible medium: a folded material, being usually paper. It can be perceived and also reproduced. In other words, it meets the requirements to be protected by the US copyright law.


Now, among others, the copyright holder has the right:

(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

I highligthed the words. Source: https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html

Folds of someone else's origami model are copies of the original origami work. Being so, only the copyright holder can authorize the sale of your folds of his or her model.
Please support Neorigami: http://neorigami.com. Share one of your own creations.
User avatar
Gerardo
Buddha
 
Posts: 1343
Joined: March 4th, 2010, 2:36 am

Re: selling origami online

Postby steingar » February 3rd, 2017, 5:24 pm

You are quoting an interpretation by one of the most witless lawyers I have ever seen. My favorite is said lawyer decided that you couldn't teach a model at an Origami Convention without permission from the designer, when teaching such a thing is specifically permissible under US law.

Folding a model from copyright protected instructions is not reproducing said instructions. Moreover, copyright on art is a fickle thing. I can paint my own version of the Mona Lisa, and so long as I don't try and pass it off as the original I can sell it too. I can fold my own version of someone's model. Like I said, there's never been court case in the US, so there is no applicable precedent. That means it's legal in the US. If a precedent comes along we'll see, but I hope that never happens. A court of law is no place for an honest man, and you can never prejudge the outcome.
steingar
Senior Member
 
Posts: 346
Joined: May 27th, 2008, 11:34 pm

Re: selling origami online

Postby Gerardo » February 6th, 2017, 11:17 pm

Gerardo wrote:Folds of someone else's origami model are copies of the original origami work. Being so, only the copyright-holder can authorize the sale of your folds of his or her model.


steingar wrote:Folding a model from copyright protected instructions is not reproducing said instructions.


When I said "original origami work", I didn't mean the instructions, I meant the original and material folded object I accomplished as I created the respective model. For example, there's this specific folded object (I simply call it fold), the one shown here with that particular paper that has these colors:

Image

I folded it as I created my model Nativity Stable. That's the original origami work. I can make many more folds of the model; they become copies (reproductions). Others can also make many more folds of it; those are copies as well. That's where I state that, according to the US copyright law—among others, only the copyright-holder of the original work has the right to sell copies.

It's also the same case in painting. The reason why in the US, and some other countries, it's allowed to sell a copy of the Mona Lisa is because its author—Leonardo Da Vinci—died more than 70 years ago. Both in US and Italian copyright law, the work becomes part of the public domain 70 years after the death of its author. Now, selling copies isn't allowed regarding more recent paintings; that's an exclusive right of the copyright-holder for which that person can give authorization to others. That's why currently we can freely use traditional origami models; they are in the public domain as well. Akira Yoshizawa died in March 11, 2005. According to US and Japanese copyright law (but only since 2014), his works will become part of the public domain by March 11, 2075. From that moment on US and Japanese citizens will be able to sell copies of them without authorization.

As you mentioned, there hasn't been precedent regarding the sale of copies of original origami works of other copyright-holders. Now, that doesn't mean that it's legal till there is precedent. It just means that a judge will depend on other elements, such as copyright law and analogies (similar cases in other realms, like the realm of painting for example) to come to a decision in a given case.

So I must insist: according to the copyright law of many countries—including the US, in order to sell copies of someone else's original work, you need authorization from its copyright-holder. And yes, that includes original origami works.
Last edited by Gerardo on February 9th, 2017, 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Please support Neorigami: http://neorigami.com. Share one of your own creations.
User avatar
Gerardo
Buddha
 
Posts: 1343
Joined: March 4th, 2010, 2:36 am

Re: selling origami online

Postby steingar » February 8th, 2017, 8:42 pm

Folding an origami model is your own art. You aren't duplicating every aspect of the model you've copied. Moreover, it is considerably less than clear what actually holds the copyright. Is it the photo of the model you saw on the internet? Is it the instructions to make said model?

If the model itself hold the copyright, then the copyright is for a model of said object made of a certain paper of a certain color of a certain size. For example, if you design an origami bird you don't hold the copyright to all origami birds. I doubt you own the copyright to mine even if mine looks just like yours. If two people photograph the same balloon their photos might be identical, yet each holds the copyright to their own work.

However, the case in point is enormously simple in the US. You can look up copyright statutes in the US, they're part of the Federal Register and available freely to the public on the internet. Do so, and find some mention of Origami. Good luck, I don't think there is one but its been awhile since I checked.

The United States, despite some recent setbacks is still the land of freedom. If something isn't explicitly illegal then its legal, no exceptions. There isn't a law about the copyright of Origami, therefore selling someone else's design that you folded is legal, period. It will be so until one of two things happen:

1. The US Congress passes a law defining copyright of Origami. Honestly, I wouldn't hold my breath. They can't even pass a budget, no less an Origami law.

2. A US court sets a precedent. That has yet to happen to my understanding. Keep in mind that the recent imbroglio against Sarah Morris was about the use of crease patterns for artworks for lots of money, not selling the Origami works of other creators. I about strongly that sufficient funds will ever change hands for Origami artwork to so motivate litigation. If it does watch out, US courts are nothing if not unpredictable.

You can give your interpretation based on copyright statutes or precedent, but unless said statue or precedent mentions Origami specifically said interpretation is yours and yours alone, it means utterly nothing unless you are a Federal judge contributing to the legal record.

This principle is ingrained in our legal system that Chemists can devise narcotics that are subtly chemical different from contraband substances and sell them perfectly legally. If the substance isn't specifically illegal then its legal, period.

The saddest thing is selling artwork is hard work in and of itself. I suspect that serious artists spend just as much time promoting their work as they do creating it. If someone can sell works that I designed, I can only encourage them. I haven't the time for such promotion, I have a demanding career. Indeed, if someone is successfully selling my origami designs they are promoting and spreading an art form I love. I have a hard time frowning on that.
steingar
Senior Member
 
Posts: 346
Joined: May 27th, 2008, 11:34 pm

Re: selling origami online

Postby mkosmul » February 9th, 2017, 8:11 pm

I'm no expert in law (US or otherwise) and I think neither are you. Putting aside the discussion of what the actual legal status of selling other peoples' designs is, I think you are jumping to conclusions here. That is, even if you are right (and you might be - I know that I don't know), I am certain that the reasons are different than you outline.

Law is a complex subject, and things like gut feeling or common sense have little to do with it. The general rule that says "what is not explicitly forbidden is allowed" does not mean a lack of general laws which apply to whole broad sets of situations. Following your reasoning that since copyright laws do not explicitly mention origami designs, these laws do not apply to them, would be similar to saying that since criminal laws do not explicitly forbid stealing paper origami models, it is perfectly legal to steal them. There are general laws which penalize stealing of pretty much any physical object, so origami models are also covered by these general laws. The situation could be similar with regard to copyright laws. Of course, definitions may be vague, or indeed origami design might be excluded for one reason or another, but I just want to caution from reasoning such as "origami is not explicitly listed, so it's not covered", "I would be OK with someone copying my model, so it's legal", etc.

Law just does not work like that. Of course, at the end of the day it's your decision what you do and whether you care about the legality or morality of something (the two might be quite different things), but if you are looking for an answer to the question of what's legal and what's not, do not trust your intuition but ask a lawyer.

End of rant.
User avatar
mkosmul
Newbie
 
Posts: 33
Joined: September 24th, 2016, 10:00 pm
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Re: selling origami online

Postby Gerardo » February 10th, 2017, 11:46 pm

I'm really enjoying this conversation :D. I'll start with my reply to steingar's message.

I think it's awesome you approve selling folds of your models by others! I REALLY encourage every origami creator to explicitly state what they allow and what they don't regarding their models. I've only started doing that myself.

OK, so let's continue with the discussion. I'm copying here exactly what is copyright protected and what isn't according to the official document of the US copyright law.

102. Subject matter of copyright: In general

(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:

(1) literary works;

(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;

(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;

(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;

(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;

(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

(7) sound recordings; and

(8) architectural works.

(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

I highligthed the words. Source: https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html

That's it. That's the whole statement of what is and isn't protected by copyright in the US. What I want to emphasize is that techniques aren't a subject of the US copyright law. Original pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works of authorship are protected by copyright in the US... period. It doesn't matter if the work was painted using watercolors, carved in wood or folded in paper. What does matter is that the work must be original, instead of based on another work, it must also be fixed in a tangible medium, be percibable somehow as well as reproducible. If you insist in that the technique must appear in the copyright law document for its works to be protected, then none of them would be. Techniques aren't part of the document.

Besides that you question what is copyright protected between a picture of a fold of the model, instructions for folding the model, and the original fold of the model. The answer is that they can all be subject of copyright protection; although there are certain details to explain first. Now, since the subject of this discussion is if selling folds of someone else's model is allowed or not, particularly in the US, then only the copyright of the original fold, or folded work if you prefer, is of interest here. Its copyright is what is being infringed by the sale of those other folds of the same model.

You also mention that, if a original folded work was really copyright protected, then it would protect just that specific fold with that size, type of paper, colors, etc. OK, so let me quote now about "derivative works" also from the official document of the US copyright law:

101. Definitions

...A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”...


103. Subject matter of copyright:

Compilations and derivative works

(a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully...


106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works

Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work...

I highligthed the words. Source: https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html

OK, so a derivative work is one which is based on one or more prior works. Folds that are based in an existing model, that aren't the original fold, and have differences from the original, like size, type of paper, and color, among others, are derivative works. As the quotes mentions, derivative works that haven't been authorized by the copyright-holder of the original work, don't transfer the exclusive rights of the copyright-holder. That includes sales.

It's simple, if you created an original work, then the copyright protection is yours for the time being. There's the subject of transfering copyright ownership but that isn't the point here. If it's based in a copyright protected work and you didn't ask for authorization, then the copyright protection isn't yours. It's of the original author. If you obtained authorization or based it on a public domain work, then the copyright protection is exclusively over the significant new details you authored that weren't part of the original work. Finally, if there's a copyright-holder and it isn't you, then only he or she can sell and authorize sales of copies and derivative works from that particular work.

Now, a person could mention fair use, but if the use of the copyright protected work has a commercial nature, then it isn't complying with one of the factors of fair use.
Please support Neorigami: http://neorigami.com. Share one of your own creations.
User avatar
Gerardo
Buddha
 
Posts: 1343
Joined: March 4th, 2010, 2:36 am

Re: selling origami online

Postby origami_8 » February 11th, 2017, 9:18 am

I quote the above:

In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.


This somehow implicates that the original work has to be unique enough that it can not be broken down to just a procedure. So I guess with most simple Origami models you'd have a pretty hard time proving the originality. Like lets say you made a twist fold and ended up with a rose, or a blintzed frogbase turned into an octopus, or even the new box you folded that has a completely unique folding sequence. From my understanding those would all fall under technique. For something more unique, Robert Lang's Black Forest Cuckoo Clock would come to my mind. But yet it is based on a wooden version of the same, so basically it is a derivative work on its own, like are the majority of Origami models. A very tricky subject and you can never know how a court would decide.
User avatar
origami_8
Administrator
 
Posts: 4096
Joined: November 8th, 2004, 12:02 am
Location: Austria

Re: selling origami online

Postby Gerardo » February 20th, 2017, 12:55 am

First of all I wanted to reply to mkosmul's words: It's a very interesting point :).

Now let's continue with origami_8:
origami_8 wrote:This somehow implicates that the original work has to be unique enough that it can not be broken down to just a procedure.

I'd say it doesn't implicate that. In terms of origami it simply means that the folding process isn't an argument regarding copyright infringement, just the resulting work. It isn't a matter of complexity, just of having came up with the model yourself. Now having said that —like you mentioned— if someone had come up with a similar model before you, I don't think it would be easy to demonstrate that you didn't had knowledge of the prior model when you created yours.

About Black Forest Cuckoo Clock by Robert Lang, I actually discussed with him about that particular model. He told me that his model isn't based in any specific cuckoo clock, it just has different generalities related to that type of clocks. Besides that, looks like the original author —who was German— of this style of cuckoo clocks died in 1854, so more than 70 years have passed since his death. That's the duration of copyright protection in many countries, including EEUU and Germany.

In a different —and also hypothetical— case, if someone created an origami representation of one of Pablo Picasso's sculpture without having authorization from its copyright holder, that person wouldn't have copyright protection over his model since it's an unauthorized derivative work. Pablo Picasso died in 1973, so —in Spain, EEUU, and some other countries— his works are still protected by copyright.


You know? I think that thanks to all of us, this thread is becoming a very useful resource about origami and copyright :).
Please support Neorigami: http://neorigami.com. Share one of your own creations.
User avatar
Gerardo
Buddha
 
Posts: 1343
Joined: March 4th, 2010, 2:36 am


Return to General Origami Talk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests