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Drawing Copyright - if any?

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Russ B05/12/2018 13:51:35
615 forum posts
26 photos

Just a question regarding copyright.

I've picked up a set of castings for the Jacobs Hobber (CES version + drawings).

If I create my own drawings to metric standards - is that copyright infringement, CES own the copyright of their drawings, but I guess the Jacobs machine isn't copyrighted or patented in itself.

- just to add to the above, I'd want to share my work freely/however I like if that's possible.

Edited By Russ B on 05/12/2018 13:53:57

Ady105/12/2018 14:10:14
5065 forum posts
734 photos

If memory serves, the new drawings must clearly be your own work, and not rehashed originals

Michael Gilligan05/12/2018 14:11:31
20070 forum posts
1040 photos

Interesting question, Russ

In my opinion [*] : If you are making 'something else' from a set of commercially available castings, you would be within your rights to publish your design, however you see fit.



[*] no liability expressed or implied !!

blowlamp05/12/2018 14:23:29
1595 forum posts
102 photos

Do you mean changing things like bar size from 7/16" to 11mm etc?

If so, then I can't see what anyone would persue you for - isn't this done all the time with model drawings?


JasonB05/12/2018 14:28:30
22574 forum posts
2634 photos
1 articles

I suppose it depends on what you want to do with the drawings, if it is just so you can make it in metric then no problem for personal use, if you start selling them then there may be issues.

Ady105/12/2018 15:48:22
5065 forum posts
734 photos

If you take someone elses work and change the drawings from inch to metric this is fine for you but it's not really

your own work so these altered drawings can't be resold or passed about

It's a form of plagiarism

You've got to do the whole drawing yourself

If the original copyright holder(creator) says no problem then that's different

Drawings are like photos, they are covered for something like 70 years after the creator croaks

Russ B05/12/2018 16:27:39
615 forum posts
26 photos

I'm not just converting the drawing, this would be an entirely new set of drawings from scratch generated from 3D part and assembly files. It wouldn't be a straight 7/16" to 11mm conversion, I would use nominal sizes, whatever is cheaply available, I may even cheapen it off to more easily available "things" if I see fit.

I'd also be creating 3D printed items (certainly the gears for the drivetrain which I can accurately print from ABS and then make steel/aluminium copies as and when required (although it's far easier to just print another)

The original Jacobs machine (based on a prototype unit made by Tom Jacobs to demonstrate the process) was featured in Model Engineer from January to August 1976 and was fabricated not cast, intended to made at home, and then Helix Company made a set of castings some years after, followed by College Engineering Supplies, who also provided drawings.

Presumably, this is no different to what CES did when they created their drawings based on the original Jacobs hobbing machine?

I'm unsure who if anyone actually owns the design in principal, College Engineering Supplies clearly own the copyright for their own drawings, and Model Engineer magazine no doubt own copyright for the fabricated Jacobs unless used under licence from Tom Jacobs himself - or perhaps just accepted to free to use ??

I don't know?

What I want is for my drawings to be available to anyone free of charge, forever.

blowlamp05/12/2018 16:37:45
1595 forum posts
102 photos

It sounds like it would be your own design that just follows the principle of the Jacobs Hobber - is that close to your intention?


HOWARDT05/12/2018 16:38:03
900 forum posts
39 photos

If I remember right the design has to be substantially different from anything else. Merely making it look different, cosmetics, or imperial to metric does not make enough change. The design has to be a new way to produce the similar product. There have been numerous court cases on likeness of product. As said any drawings you create solely for your use commit no design infringement. Some companies in the real world require all copies of drawings to be returned to them on completion of a contract.

ega05/12/2018 16:51:27
2496 forum posts
200 photos
Posted by HOWARDT on 05/12/2018 16:38:03:

Some companies in the real world require all copies of drawings to be returned to them on completion of a contract.

Prudent step, but not necessarily proof against the Far East as the Brompton Bicycle Company found to their cost.

Chris Trice05/12/2018 17:25:33
1375 forum posts
10 photos

Copyright concerns itself with works of artistic merit and the drawings in themselves fit that criteria but the actual design they depict comes under industrial design which in this case can be deemed to be in public domain unless there is something special or unique about the design for which either a patent or Intellectual property rights exist. Basically, as long as you create wholly new drawings that are not directly derivative of CES's, you're in the clear.

John Haine05/12/2018 17:38:08
4623 forum posts
273 photos

I think it is correct to say that copyright applies to copies - so if you photocopy a copyright work and sell the copy you are infringing the holder's rights. But if you recreate it, by redrawing for example and changing the dimensions to metric, I don't think it's so clear cut. For example, Linux was created as a copy of Unix as a complete re-write because a company was claiming to own the rights to Unix at the time. It's up to the copyright holder to enforce their rights, but that may not be CES. The design was published in ME in 1976, I don't think the copyright in the design as such would have been assigned to ME though they would own rights to the article as published. I wonder what rights CES actually have?

It's an interesting question how long copyright in a design like this lasts as it is not an artistic work for which the period is 70 years after the artist's death. According to a website: <next post>

John Haine05/12/2018 17:38:26
4623 forum posts
273 photos


Type of work How long copyright usually lasts
Written, dramatic, musical and artistic work 70 years after the author’s death
Sound and music recording 70 years from when it’s first published
Films 70 years after the death of the director, screenplay author and composer
Broadcasts 50 years from when it’s first broadcast
Layout of published editions of written, dramatic or musical works 25 years from when it’s first published

So 25 years after publication for the ME article, or 2001? There are also "unregistered design rights" which might apply which seem to last for 15 years after the design was made.

Frankly, I'd just do it - redrawing in a modern CAD package and making available as pdf's would be doing everyone a favour including CES.

Nick Clarke 305/12/2018 18:10:04
1392 forum posts
61 photos

Copyright is incredibly complex and to obtain a definitive answer you need to know a great deal of detail, however a few pointers that may help you make up your mind:

You have bought some castings and some drawings. The drawings are copyright.

The design is copyright, however by publishing the original machine in a magazine it was clearly intended that people build them, although there might be some discussion over commercial exploitation.

The CES design using castings is probably a different design, certainly copyright, however by selling the castings you are obviously intended to assemble a machine.

You may make your own sketches to help you assemble the machine - whether on the back of the proverbial fag packet or on 3D CAD is irrelevant. That these have different dimensions are minor changes that neither affect the copyright, or your right to make a machine from the castings in my opinion. If everything I made had to be exactly the same as the drawings I bought I would be unlikely to be able to make anything!

Where there could be a question is over you distributing your drawings, and for that you might need more legal advice and permission. Why not write to CES - as another poster has suggested they may approve as it will prolong the life of their casting sales?


Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 05/12/2018 18:12:39

John Haine05/12/2018 18:37:15
4623 forum posts
273 photos

CES seem to have stopped selling castings except for these. I suspect that's because almost no one builds them so they have unsold sets in stock. I must say it seems odd tome to be building an all-mechanical hobber these days when it can be better done with some electronics and a stepper driven RT.

(Pass me the hard hat.)

Ron Colvin05/12/2018 18:48:28
81 forum posts
6 photos

As aside to the issue of producing 3D models from published plans just for your own use. What if you are using the free subscription version of Onshape to produce those models?. This version requires any models produced to be in public domain.

Emgee05/12/2018 18:54:09
2404 forum posts
285 photos

CES changed ownership recently so any rights may not have been aquired by the new owners.


SillyOldDuffer05/12/2018 20:23:33
8487 forum posts
1890 photos
Posted by Mick Charity on 05/12/2018 19:29:22:

Just copy them & be damned.

There has to be a heck of a lot of money involved for anyone in their right mind to begin a copyright legal fight.

I'd need a really good reason for taking the risk.

There are grounds why someone in their right mind might start a fight. They might want to make an example of you pour encourager les autres. There's a financial opportunity too. If you copy and distribute the design and the copyright owner contacts you demanding a hefty out-of-court settlement or else, what will you do? Chances are it will be far cheaper to pay him off than to defend a court case, let alone to lose it.

Trouble with the law is it favours the big boys, who might be insured. They can afford to lose; the rest of us can't. Legal advice is expensive, defending is very expensive, and if the case goes badly you pay their costs too. Not a good idea to be on the receiving end unless you have no assets.

Copyright is a complete minefield and - if someone comes after you - the penalties are severe.

A better approach would be to ask permission. Alternatively, do the designs and send them to Mick. Apparently he's happy to take the risk of distributing them!



Jon Lawes05/12/2018 20:26:40
876 forum posts

My great-grandfathers music has been reprinted and sold by a company whom I once asked where they had got the copyright from. They replied that if I wanted to be difficult about it they would just stop selling his music and his legacy would die; they were quite funny about it. I genuinely hadn't been trying to obtain anything from them, I was just trying to trace more of his original works and any additional info.

It's a complicated subject.

Hopper06/12/2018 00:33:09
6192 forum posts
321 photos

If you make up your own drawings, in metric, and distribute them for free to the very small handful of people worldwide likely to want a set, it's unlikely any copyright holder will spend the money to mount a serious legal challenge to defend the equally small handful of sales they might make worldwide in the next decade.

The usual first step in such matters would be they send you a "cease and desist" order. If so, you simply stop distributing your drawings. Unlikely to happen though, even if they think they could prove in a legal battle that your drawings were a rehash of theirs and not your own original work. Way too expensive and time consuming and the outcome would not be guaranteed for them.

Case in point: You can go on eBay right now and for 3.99 Pounds buy a two-CD set of copies of Model Engineer's Workshop issues 1 through 163. Obviously MyTime Media does not see it as worthwhile to pursue the abuse of their copyright. Perhaps the bootleg back issues might even promote the sales of subsciptions to the current editions?

Maybe CES would be happy to see your metric drawings out there? It might help them sell off their remaining stock of castings. Have you thought of offering your metric drawings for sale through CES? They might be interested.

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