Digital sale of patterns in books/ebooks. Is it legal?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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dquelhas
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Digital sale of patterns in books/ebooks. Is it legal?

Post by dquelhas » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:20 am

Hi there, I want to offer an online service to trace patterns from existing pattern books into a specific file type. If the pattern doesn't exist, I'll remap it, if I have already remapped it, the user can download it automatically.

My apologies in advance for asking people to search for stuff on google and amazon, but I just started on this forum and I have no previleges to post links.

There are 2 possible scenarios:
1. A person has a paper book like (search Amazon for 0870406566) and wants to have one of the patterns of the book as a DFX digital file (please search Wikipedia for "AutoCAD DXF")

2. A person has an ebook like (please search google for "amazingpopup" and it's the first result) and wants to have one of the patterns of the book as a DFX digital file (please search Wikipedia for "AutoCAD DXF")

I have a couple of questions on this:
1. In terms of copyright, is this legal? I'm selling the service to put the diagram into a digital format, not selling the diagram itself

2. If yes, can the user agree to a disclaimer stating the user must own the original book in order to download the pattern in a digital format or the user must send a proof he owns the book (book page scan, receipt, etc..)?

3. If the user can agree to a disclaimer only, where can I find good example of disclaimers for similar services? I have found the following websites offering a similar service:

(please seach google for Drawing conversion or CAD digitizing services)

4. If none of the above is possible, can I just put something like "Based on the design so and so..."? And what changes would I have to make to make it "legal"?

Many thanks,
Dinis

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:18 pm

Hi Dinis,
I trust I have correctly understood exactly what you propose to do.
First of all, these designs and the books or pdf format they appear in are subject to copyright. Therefore copying a substantial part without permission is likely to infringe unless there is some exemption which covers it.
17 Infringement of copyright by copying.
(1) The copying of the work is an act restricted by the copyright in every description of copyright work; and references in this Part to copying and copies shall be construed as follows.
(2) Copying in relation to a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work means reproducing the work in any material form.
This includes storing the work in any medium by electronic means.
None of the fair dealing categories would appear to cover what you propose to do because you wish to charge for your services, and so this copying is for commercial purposes. This means it falls outside the private study exemption which would most likely cover the owner of one of these books. And it is unlikely that you would escape liability even if the customer signs a disclaimer to say that they own a copy of the relevant book, because they have no authority in law to let others make copies of something they own. At some stage in the future the government intends to bring in legislation (details here in pdf format) which will permit private copying for the purposes of format shifting (say from a music CD to MP3) for purely personal use, but it seems unlikely this dispensation will be extended to third parties to carry this out on behalf of individuals, especially on a commercial basis.
All of this is made more complicated by the fact that, in the case of the AmazingPopUp products you mentioned, (and no doubt the same applies to the Amazon product) it is clearly intended that the owner of these products may (indeed presumably, must) print copies of the various designs in order to cut them out and assemble them, so it is implicit that the copyright owner is permitting some limited copying of their work.
However, I think that what you propose would fall a long way outside this implied licence because there would be no linkage between your activities and sales of the original product, so that there would be nothing stopping you from directly competing with the publishers by selling Autocad files which effectively replaced the need to buy the books or ebooks at all. And it would not help your situation to claim your Dxf files 'were based on' these products, because they would in effect be exact copies, but just in a different format, which as you can see from Section 17(2) quoted above, is not permitted.
To turn this round, I cannot understand why if a customer owns one of these products, they cannot just use the books as the authors intended, without the need for Autocad exchange files. Unless of course this was to enable models to be scales up beyond the sizes envisaged by the authors/publishers. If this is the intention then I think would run serious risks for the customers (and you if you were instrumental in assisting) of infringing the designs, not only under copyright law, but also design right law.
But not wishing to end on an entirely negative note, maybe you could approach the publishers with a proposal to get a licence to make scalable versions for those who might want to make larger models.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

dquelhas
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Many thanks!

Post by dquelhas » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:43 am

Hi Andy,

your explanation was so useful and clear! Thank you for advising me to keep out of trouble. I guess I really would be in trouble.

The DfX files are to be used with cutter printers (instead of printing patterns with ink, cuts out the patterns in the paper) and there are not many files available especially in Origamic Architecture. Cheap printers like Silhouette or CraftRobo are becoming increasingly popular as a domestic appliance and I thought it could be a good opportunity to explore this new market.

Well, I will definitely follow your suggestion and contact the publishers. There may be an opportunity there as well.

Selling the patterns would be an add on to another project I'm doing with free tutorials on Origamic Architecture. The initial idea remains intact as I'm all for free quality learning and development sites.

Again, many many thanks for your sage and clear explanation. Your forum is a blessing!

Dinis

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:25 pm

Thanks for the feedback Dinis. And I presume that a DfX file, suitably modified, could drive a 3D printer, so opening up an entirely new market to that currently reached by the publishers.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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