Origami Copyright bible?

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Origami Copyright bible?

Postby happyfolder » July 2nd, 2008, 7:30 am

Hi All, from the feedback I'm getting I'm realising that it's very hard for origami artists to copyright their diagrams and models.

Is there any "bible" or online resource that advises on the proper procedures for giving proper credit when adapting new models from bases created by others? Also, is there a resource that lists the creators of the most common bases used in most models? This is important for giving proper credit.

If not, maybe some of the more experienced folders could consider producing a short "bible" to advise newbies like me. I think the benefits are obvious for the overall community.

Thanks & Cheers, HF
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Postby Ondrej.Cibulka » July 2nd, 2008, 9:06 am

This is not so bad idea. But why you post it into two sections?
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Postby happyfolder » July 2nd, 2008, 9:28 am

Ondrej.Cibulka wrote:This is not so bad idea.

Hi Ondrej, your response means that this "bible" doesn't exist right? That's too bad, that means a lot of people are probably copying stuff without giving proper credit.

Ondrej.Cibulka wrote:But why you post it into two sections?

Why not?


Thanks, HF
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Postby TheRealChris » July 2nd, 2008, 10:58 am

Ondrej.Cibulka wrote:This is not so bad idea. But why you post it into two sections?

I deleted the second one.
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Postby Goku » July 2nd, 2008, 11:12 am

Do you speak about this kind of article : http://www.langorigami.com/info/copyright.php4 ?
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Postby ahudson » July 2nd, 2008, 9:11 pm

There are several problems with origami copyright issues in general:

1) We all live in different countries, many of which have different copyright laws;

2) Copyright law, at least in the United States, is very complex, and often up to interpretation;

3) Even if a copyright is violated, it would be too expensive to take legal action. Origami has a small enough audience that legal costs would outweigh the potential benefits of a lawsuit.

Because of this, the origami community as a whole has found it simpler to merely give credit where credit is due, and trust each other to make ethical decisions about the use of a model.
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Postby origamimasterjared » July 2nd, 2008, 10:57 pm

Is origami an art or a technology?! (and I don't mean science)

Copyrighting a base is like laying claim to the human form in a painting, all books of 100 pages on the topic of photography, a certain combination of clothing, or Donald Trump trying to copyright "You're fired". Yes, you may have discovered or popularized it, but COME ON.

If you know anything about crease patterns, you will notice that the majority of origami pieces have very similar elements. Generally these boil down to some combination or tiling of the classic bases (or sections of them), the kite, fish, bird, frog and waterbomb bases, connected by creases in increments of 22.5 degrees.
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Postby happyfolder » July 3rd, 2008, 2:46 am

Goku wrote:Do you speak about this kind of article : http://www.langorigami.com/info/copyright.php4 ?


Hi Goku, Thanks for this -- there's some good info here in regards to adapting models. If I understand correctly, according to Robert you cannot create derivatives or reverse-engineer models for commercial use. I need to check with my lawyer about this, just to be sure.

But there's no mention about the creators of the most common bases. A list mentioning the creators would be useful for newbies like me, so that we can give proper credit when we use these bases in our own creations.

ahudson wrote:There are several problems with origami copyright issues in general:

1) We all live in different countries, many of which have different copyright laws;

2) Copyright law, at least in the United States, is very complex, and often up to interpretation;

3) Even if a copyright is violated, it would be too expensive to take legal action. Origami has a small enough audience that legal costs would outweigh the potential benefits of a lawsuit.

Because of this, the origami community as a whole has found it simpler to merely give credit where credit is due, and trust each other to make ethical decisions about the use of a model.


Yes, some countries have poor copyright protection. I think the link posted by Goku answers some of this, especially for those living in the US.

origamimasterjared wrote:Is origami an art or a technology?! (and I don't mean science)

Copyrighting a base is like laying claim to the human form in a painting, all books of 100 pages on the topic of photography, a certain combination of clothing, or Donald Trump trying to copyright "You're fired". Yes, you may have discovered or popularized it, but COME ON.

If you know anything about crease patterns, you will notice that the majority of origami pieces have very similar elements. Generally these boil down to some combination or tiling of the classic bases (or sections of them), the kite, fish, bird, frog and waterbomb bases, connected by creases in increments of 22.5 degrees.


If this is the case, then no model could ever be copyrighted? You could argue that every model is created out of common bases and folds, and therefore copyright does not apply? I'm pretty unclear at this point and will check with my lawyer. In the meantime, I think Robert's copyright FAQ gives some good general info we can follow.

===
OK, I checked with my lawyer. Although not an expert in IP, I respect his advise. To be safe, he says, I should follow Lang's FAQ. He also said to think of created origami models as songs, and look at how songs are copyrighted as a general guideline.

I thought about what he said; could we apply this analogy to origami?:
Song = origami model
Chord = origami base
Music note = origami fold
Music sheets = origami diagrams

You can always make new songs from the chords and notes. But you can't copy another artiste's song. If you use an existing artiste's song for commercial gain in some way, then you would have to pay some form of royalty to the artiste (for example, sampling the song, playing it on radio or using it in an advertisement). At the very least, you would have to credit the original artiste. The crane model would be like a folk song from the 1900s and has no enforceable copyright.

What do you think? Does this analogy between a song and an origami model make sense?

I think the real issue here is that there isn't any organization that enforces origami copyrights and collects royalties on behalf of the artists. Until that time, many will continue to copy the work of others without giving proper credit.

Thanks, HF
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Postby Joe the white » July 3rd, 2008, 3:11 pm

Yes, that is a good analogy. Usually people inside the community aren't the ones claiming ownership of a design. Its been in a few small cases (of most likely independent creation) ,but they usually end quickly. The debates inside the community are often on selling folded designs of others, and piracy of diagrams/books. For the former, its considered in bad form to sell folded models without contacting the artist(s) and getting permission. However, couldn't they sell them freely much like places of entertainment have bands perform songs for profit? I doubt they ask permission/pay royalties beforehand at that small of a scale, but since our community is so small and we have limited protection, its nice to see such etiquette between us. Piracy has its own thread here, so I'll leave it at that.

I believe there was recently a legal case on folded maps, very much a "simple" origami design, however it was noteworthy for there being such a case.
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Postby origami_8 » July 3rd, 2008, 5:53 pm

The comparison with music has been brought up many times before. For further informations on how the Origami community thinks about these kinds of copyright things you may want to search for relevant topics on the Forum as well as on the Origami Mailing List Archives.

Please everyone note, if this topic should degenerate in a copyright discussion like the ones we had in the past, it will be closed immediately.
As long as it is just a collection of informations it is ok, but no "personal opinions" please.
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Postby happyfolder » July 3rd, 2008, 7:10 pm

To Joe the white:
Hi Joe, from what I understand, if a band performs a well-known song in public without permission and for commercial gain, there are royalty enforcement agencies like the RIAA and ASCAP who will come after them. Even hotels have to pay royalties for the music they use in their elevators and washrooms!


Thanks Anna, for the link. I went through and got some good info. Found this excellent link to Dave Petty's website, where you can verify a number of traditional models: http://members.aol.com/ukpetd/

Regards, HF
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Postby origamimasterjared » July 3rd, 2008, 9:34 pm

Yeah, musical compositions--that's the one I was trying to think of. I would change parts of the analogy a little though:
    chord = molecule/flap
    the general form of the musical piece (timing, key, etc.) = the base (this is a really awkward analogy)
    the piece as performed by any orchestra/band = the folded figure as folded by anyone
    the piece as performed by the composer and his own orchestra/band = the folded figure as folded by the artist
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Postby HankSimon » July 3rd, 2008, 10:21 pm

I may be stepping over the "opinion" line. If so, feel free to delete my post, rather than the the entire thread.

I would consider that a musical riff ... or collection of notes/chords ... to be more like an Origami base. It is OK to take a small theme or riff from one artist and develop it differently... This was clearly done back in the time of Beethoven "stealing" from Mozart and Hayden... But the resulting music is clearly in the style of Beethoven, altho you can hear the similarities side by side. I believe the Beetles did this, as well as some pop music pianists.

This is not legal in fiction writing (altho it may be OK in non-fiction:-), however, themes are repeated forever - for example Romeo & Juliet vs. West Side Story, and so on.

So, I propose that a bird base might be considered to be a theme, yielding birds and dragons - from a simplistic perspective. And, Montroll's Dog bases is terrific for canine folds. I consider the bird base to be public, but Montroll's base to be a unique fold. ... And so on.

The important point is commercial use. Most Origami Artists are generous with their designs if you ask for permission for teaching and non-profit ... non-monetary activities. But if you try to take goods for someone else's design, there is a feeling of theft - whether or not it is legal. I might consider it to be like taking pictures of someone in a private residence... and then selling the pictures. Public photos are a different point. And, asking for permission to sell Origami models that you have folded from public diagrams may also be a different point... and asking is always recommended.

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