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Old 2017-06-30, 2:54am
pswrd pswrd is offline
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Join Date: Jun 16, 2016
Posts: 18

I hope this is a helpful post and not seen as a newbie stepping into other people's business.

As a general approach and not just specific to lampworking tutorials let alone the specific events in this thread, it is always good to state in print in every piece what the user is and is not allowed to do with the tutorial. I am not just referring to the copyright of the written words/pictures themselves, but the designs and methods conveyed to the user. It tends to get very muddy in terms of pinning down what is special that need to be protected, but just thinking through that in itself would help set some boundaries which ought to be written down and acknowledged as a condition of sale/use. Someone not having bought or read a tutorial but has enough skills to reverse engineer a design is arguably just as questionable a practice. Distinction between advanced methods and basic methods for a novice and a skillful maker? Design versus technique versus steps? This is a huge minefield for all creative disciplines especially those involving technical skills.

Effectively, it is about a limited licence, something routinely done in say distribution of music (some restrict commercial use, or putting into youtube videos as background while others not for example).

Even free tutorials that are posted publicly can have restricted use. Just because I had not paid for it, it does not automatically give me the right to make and sell the product. I have bought a few of tutorials and all are totally silent on what is permissible use. I am hung up on plagiarism and safeguarding IP, but it gets grey very quickly and for those who are not even going to spare a moment to ponder the rights and wrongs and the in-betweens, silence could easily mean "use as you desire" which may not be the intention at all.

It is not good to rely on ethics which can be very different between individuals, cultures (not just trans-national or trans-ethnic) and upbringing. These differences are more often not driven by greed or malice. So, it is best to be very explicit about boundaries which are something an author can and should stipulate. Left unspoken, there can only be disappointments for both sides. Ultimately, reputation is at risk and only lawyers stand to gain from any dispute if pursued.

This might be a useful resource for ideas:

I would not want to rely on just copyright protection either. On the positive end, it lasts beyond your lifetime and it is likely to continually lengthen, but publishing a new tutorial using different words and pictures and so on while covering the same method and design is likely not copyright protected. Otherwise, many cookbooks would have been in deep trouble. Design rights (if you have it registered) may address that. It is just a minefield and endless source of grievances for all.