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Getting inspired by someone elses work?


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Hello,

There is a store which went out of business, and i asked the maker of a product, if i can make something like that, and if i can even make it "look similar" to theirs. But i didn't get an answer. Does that mean i can do it? Or do they care?

I really liked this product and would like to make something like that too and sell it. So i am trying to make my own, just getting inspired by the other product. Is that ok?

Dani

 

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Absolutely. :D

A lot of the things for sale in SL can be made better, or just differently in a way that makes them better for you.

Provided you don't use any of the original creators materials, and try and do your own thing with it to make it a little special, I'm sure you'll be encouraged.

Many older creators have now left SL, just their accounts are left.

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Ideas can't be copyrighted.  Designs are a gray area.  You can't rebuild it so that it looks substantially like the other creators.  Everyone talks about copy bots but you can illegally copy something using regular building methods too.  You can however use it as an inspiration to do your own version of it.  But someone seeing it should not mistake it for the original or you have a possible IP problem.

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  • 3 weeks later...

There are many things that anyone making them would look very similar. If you made a realistic shark it would look a lot like any one else's shark. I saw someone else's space frame support and noticed that a real one would break built the way it was built. I built another to show someone the difference and put it in the market just because I had it, not expecting it to sell, but have sold a lot of them. The same is true of a wide variety of common items.

 

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I would assume if the original maker went out of business and isn't responding that they may have left sl all together.

As for making knock offs... well it's legal in rl so why not here. The main down side of copying someone else's design is that people may be board of it already. Also you don't know why they went out of business. Maybe their stuff wasn't selling. Wonder why. :smileywink:

As for taking inspiration from others... well some design schools that have courses on topics just like this..... well they teach that people , designers weather cloths cars, interior designers etc take some of their cues from popular culture such as current movies, musicians, tv shows etc. Look at how many shows there are based on the knock offs of the Oscar runway cloths. We all take inspiration from things we see and hear the question is how much do we make it the same and how much do we redesign to make our own. That is where the balance lays and we all have to find what works best.

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TishaRogue wrote:

I would assume if the original maker went out of business and isn't responding that they may have left sl all together.


Whether or not that assumption turns out to be true, it's not relevant.  Just because someone leaves SL doesn't mean they magically surrender their IP rights.  SL is merely one distribution platform among countless thousands of other platforms.  Copyright exists in RL, and spans all platforms, regardless of which ones an author might choose to use, or not use.

In any cases, when an IP owner does not respond to a request for permission to copy, the answer is automatically no.  The right to choose when, how, whether, and where a work can be copied belongs exclusively to the owner.  By definition, and by default, you do not have permission until and unless the owner grants it to you. 

Simply saying, "He didn't respond, so I guess he's not objecting," doesn't cut it.  That's just not how it works.  The fact that I haven't told you not to take my car for a spin doesn't mean you wouldn't be stealing it if you did.  By the same token, the fact that I haven't told you not to use my artwork doesn't mean you wouldn't be stealing it if you did.

 

 


TishaRogue wrote:

As for making knock offs... well it's legal in rl so why not here.

Careful with that statement.  There are a lot of important answers to "why not here".

First, knock-offs in RL are only legal for items which cannot be copyrighted, trademarked, patented, or otherwise protected under IP law.  Garments can be copied, for example, because they are considered under the law to be utilitarian items, rather than artistic works.  The print pattern on the fabric that a garment is made out of, however, may be a different story.  That absolutely can be copyrighted.  The print is artwork, even if the garment is printed on is not.

Make all the knock-offs you want of that hot dress you saw on the runway, you'll be just fine, legally speaking, as long as you only copy the utilitarian aspects of it.  But if you go too far, and you also copy incorporated artistic elements, then you'd be breaking the law.

You may ask then why does knock-off clothing so often look exactly like the original, including the fabric prints.  The answer is simple.  If the fabric the original designer used is available on the open market, as fabrics usually are, then anyone can buy it.  If I buy the same fabric, I can make the same dress out of it, since the dress itself is utilitarian, and I will have broken no copyright laws, since I did not copy the print.

If the dress is too complex of an example, here's a simpler one that may help get the point across.  Let's go with a Mikey Mouse T-shirt.  Under the law, there's nothing artistic about a T-shirt itself.  It's a purely utilitarian item.  Every garment company in the world makes T-shirts, and they all look basically the same.  I can copy the design of whatever T-shirt Disney is putting Mickey on these days, including every last measurement, in perfect detail, and it would be totally legal.  But it would have to be just the shirt; I would NOT be able to include Mickey.  The picture of him on the real thing is a copyrighted image, and Mickey himself is a trademarked character.  So, I can knock off the shirt all day long, but if I want Mickey to be on it, Disney needs to give me the OK first.

 

That's how it works in RL.  Now let's talk about SL.

In a simulated environment like SL, nothing is utilitarian.  The dress isn't a dress, and the T-shirt isn't a T-shirt.  Both are pieces of digital art.  As such, they are protected in their entirety under copyright law.  If "Virtual Versace" creates a new digital dress, that 3D model is copyrighted artwork, and we can't just knock it off.

So what happens if you and I both independently take inspiration from the same RL dress, and decide to make a virtual version of it.  Our two 3D models are going to look similar to each other.  Will either of us have broken the law in that case? 

With respect to each other, the answer is no.  Independent design is considered and protected by the law.  If you and I independently create similar things at the same time, and neither of us is aware of the other before or during the process, then neither of us can have copied the other.  In that case, we'd each independently enjoy copyright protections on our works. (And yes, that can get quite complicated, commercially, but that's another matter.)

With respect to the original creator of the RL dress, that's a gray area.  The RL garment is utilitarian, but any drawings, 3D models, sculptures, etc., that may have been created during the design process are all copyrightable artworks.  So, when you make a 3D model of a RL dress, are you simply making a new artistic representation of a utilitarian item, or are you making an unauthorized copy of the design artwork that utilitarian item happens to look like?  There's no universally applicable answer to that question.  Courts decide it on a case by case basis.

And of course, some things are too mundane to protect.  You can't copyright the color red, for example.  If I make a red wall, I don't get to stop you from making your own red wall.  In order for a work to be protected, the law does require a degree of originality.

 


TishaRogue wrote:

We all take inspiration from things we see and hear the question is how much do we make it the same and how much do we redesign to make our own. That is where the balance lays and we all have to find what works best.

Agreed.

The main thing is to respect the difference between "inspired by" and "copy of".  Star Trek was inspired by Wagon Train, for example, but the differences between the two are fairly obvious.

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