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  #1  
Old 01-03-2011, 08:52 AM
nalbright nalbright is offline
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Legally Protecting an Idea

While preparing for a 3-man show recently I slopped across and new idea. Have done several internet searches for anything related and can not find anything like it (how rare)... So, in order to protect this idea / technique from my fellow artists how do I protect it? Internet seems to say TM.... But is that common? It is unique and does need further development - But I'd like to show the 'first-off' at the opening.... But not to have someone else go out and mass produce them. Any thoughts or knowledge would be greatly helpful.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:07 AM
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Ries Ries is offline
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Re: Legally Protecting an Idea

only one thing can "protect" an idea.

Money.

If you have enough of it, you can sue, if you have even more, like, Disney, you can pay lawmakers to change the copyright laws to your benefit.


But in the real world, forget it.

Everything has been done before.
Mark Twain once said- I hate the Greeks- they already stole all the good ideas.

Sure, put a copyright mark on it.
But even inventors with truly new concepts often lose out to big money, or to worse ideas that are backed- Beta versus VHS, for example, where the clearly inferior system won.

And in ART, there is no owning ideas.

You gonna copyright the idea of painting a female nude, perhaps?
Or a bowl of fruit?
Get a TM on the idea of a realistic carving of an animal?
Patent the paint drip?

Art is about how YOU interpret your ideas in the real world.

A hundred artists can all use a pencil and a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 paper, and draw the same thing, and some will be great, some terrible, and none "new".

Make the work, move on.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:17 PM
Mack Mack is offline
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Re: Legally Protecting an Idea

With a few of my first sculpture designs,I was concerned they would get copied so I took pictures of the bronzes, filled out a copyright application and sent them off to Wash. DC...many months later I got a copyright. I suppose thats the minimum you can do. It would give you some proof that you had the idea (design) at such and such a date if you had to go ahead and sue. Whether you'd win and whether it would be worth it depends...My sister sends me catalogs with crappy bronzes that could be rip-offs of mine,stuff cast overseas...One of the galleries that shows my work told me, he had to throw a foreign tourist guy with a camera out of the gallery who was photographing my piece from every possible angle with probably the idea of reproducing it back home. Nothing I can do about any of that. Like Ries said: develop the idea and move on. Maybe you might reconsider showing it at this show until you've gotten it where you want it.
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:07 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Legally Protecting an Idea

Like the man said, you can't protect an artistic idea, just the physical form it takes. So even if you "slopped across" something truly significant, like Cubism, for instance, you wouldn't be able to prevent other artists from working in that style. The best you could do would be to prevent them from copying some particular piece, and even that would be open to debate (if the copy differed somewhat from the original, or fell under a "fair use" exception to the copyright law, like parody), and probably would cost a lot more than it's worth. Just use whatever it is in your own work; with luck, you'll become known as the first to do art in this new way (or not - every artistic innovation won't show up on an internet search.)

If you came up with a new process for making art, like a revolutionary new type of paint or something, that's different. You can get a process patent on something like that. But again, a patent is only a license to sue someone - if you don't have the money to finance a protracted legal struggle, it won't do you any good.

Andrew Werby
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nalbright View Post
While preparing for a 3-man show recently I slopped across and new idea. Have done several internet searches for anything related and can not find anything like it (how rare)... So, in order to protect this idea / technique from my fellow artists how do I protect it? Internet seems to say TM.... But is that common? It is unique and does need further development - But I'd like to show the 'first-off' at the opening.... But not to have someone else go out and mass produce them. Any thoughts or knowledge would be greatly helpful.
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  #5  
Old 01-03-2011, 06:42 PM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: Legally Protecting an Idea

This is why ideas are lame....a dime a dozen ALL, no matter how "unique" they seem. If you make your work right it will be impossible to copy it once, let alone en-masse. Just make sure its all YOU and no one in their right mind would attempt it.
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:53 PM
nalbright nalbright is offline
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Re: Legally Protecting an Idea

Thanks for the reality check!

ned
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