Saturday, September 25, 2010
Over the years I have taken a variety of metals techniques courses. There was fold forming with Cynthia Eid, weaving with wire with Munya Upin, Forging with Cynthia Eid, making texture plates with Michela Verani, Anticlastic raising with Michael Good and many others as well. Never in all of my classes has anyone ever said that I could not use these techniques to create and sell my own line of jewelry.
So it came as a great shock to me when I picked up the most recent copy of Beadwork magazine with an article by Marlene Blessing dealing with copyright designs in beadwork. Kathi Khaladkar designed a necklace using shaped peyote triangles. Apparently she had to ask for and get permission from the designer of the triangles to use them in her necklace design.
My question is: why, if the necklace was her own design did she need permission to use these elements? Why are beading techniques any different than regular metalsmithing techniques? Why are they proprietary? When I pick up a beading magazine, many of the designs look like other designs I have seen. But through the skillful use of color and perhaps different beads, the designer has made it his or her own.
In fact, with the triangles the designer asked permission from Phyliss Dintenfass whereas I got my instruction for the very same triangles from Diane Fitzgerald’s book Shaped Peyote”?
Does someone really own the copyright to this peyote shape?
Right now I am in the midst of designing a necklace using a variety of these shapes. The necklace is my own design incorporating the shapes. If I wanted to sell this, then is it possible I cannot sell it when finished? What is the point then of learning techniques if I cannot utilize them and sell my designs. I would never copy someone else’s design for a piece of jewelry on purpose. So where are the boundaries on this? Why is it only in beading? Am I missing something?
Do I need to contact the book author for permission to use these shapes in my work?