Origami Copyright Questions Regarding Artwork

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Origami Copyright Questions Regarding Artwork

Postby srqgami » March 23rd, 2019, 4:17 pm

Regarding origami copyright laws, I am trying to ensure that I am not infringing on another artist's rights. In creating wall art projects for my personal use, I have used repeated traditional origami bases and folds to join together a number of identical pieces to form a larger origami model. This has been done by using vintage maps and other used paper materials.

That said, my artwork may appear to be somewhat visually similar to the wall art projects of another origami/paper fold artist. However, I feel sure that I am not using the exact same folds or bases, but the overall look may appear somewhat visually similar as an overall project. I also do not have diagrams or folding instructions from the artist and do not own any of the person’s artwork, but we both appear to have used repurposed paper materials.

I would like to produce my own art commercially but am trying not to infringe upon the intellectual property rights of another artist. Am I safe or within my own rights as long as I am not using the exact origami folds or diagrams of the other artist and am not using the exact same used paper materials? What is legally permissible in this situation where an overall model may appear similar?

Thank you so much for your assistance with any information to help with my understanding of origami copyright laws!
Last edited by srqgami on March 23rd, 2019, 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Origami Copyright Questions Regarding Artwork

Postby Baltorigamist » March 23rd, 2019, 6:51 pm

It's difficult to visualize exactly what kind of art you're talking about. Do you have pictures?
I've read that there is no mention of origami is the US copyright law, but there was a case several years ago where an artist recolored existing origami crease patterns and sold them as her own. The person in question was sued for copyright infringement, though I don't know exactly what the result of the case was.

My hunch is that if your art looks similar to existing work, then it would be best not to sell it (so long as the existing work is copyrighted). If you're worried about getting sued, then the least you can do is make it explicitly clear that your work is original (assuming it is, in fact, original).

There are several threads regarding origami copyright already on this forum, so a look at those might give you more information than what I know off the top of my head.
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Re: Origami Copyright Questions Regarding Artwork

Postby steingar » March 25th, 2019, 2:36 pm

Baltorigamist wrote:It's difficult to visualize exactly what kind of art you're talking about. Do you have pictures?
I've read that there is no mention of origami is the US copyright law, but there was a case several years ago where an artist recolored existing origami crease patterns and sold them as her own. The person in question was sued for copyright infringement, though I don't know exactly what the result of the case was.


It was settled out of court and did not set a legal precedent.
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