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View Full Version : doesn't inlay work entitle for copyright protection?



ogah
03-21-2013, 04:23 AM
I just stumbled onto this otherwise beautiful Uluru instrument but can't help to think this is just not right.

I am a rabid fan of Chuck's Moore Bettah ukes and been visiting his webpage for so long.. one of his master piece dragon inlay was a bit too much for me but it is just too gorgeous I have it etched in my head.

This uluru looks to be nearly identical copy of his work. I understand many luthiers make Martin style 3 or Nunes style instruments but copying inlay work is another story I thought.. what is your thought on this?

50590

I am linking Chuck's page with pictures of his dragon uke..

http://www.moorebettahukes.com/GALLERY.html

*well if it was made with permission then I guess I jumped into conclusion too quick..

ukeeku
03-21-2013, 05:37 AM
I hope chuck jumps in, maybe message him and ask?
If this is a direct copy without permission, I think it is not cool, but copy right issues? I don't think so unless he filed for a copyright like he would for a logo. Art is a funny thing when it comes to stuff like this.
If they said it is a Moore Bettah or designed by him, and he did not authorize it, then he has possible standing if sold in the US

saltytri
03-21-2013, 06:00 AM
Not that I was ever ever tempted to buy an "Uluru," whatever that is, but I wouldn't knowingly deal with any company that views that standards of the marketplace with such disdain. Copyright or not, anyone ought to know the difference between right and wrong.

OldePhart
03-21-2013, 06:20 AM
That's just one more in a long line of reasons not to buy those ukes (and I use the term uke very loosely).

John

Stevelele
03-21-2013, 06:25 AM
Just to clarify, nobody needs to file for a copyright in order to obtain copyright protection. Chuck owns the copyright to his own work just as soon as his work is fixed in a tangible medium--in other words, once the inlay is on the fretboard, the copyright is his, provided his work is original and expressive, which of course it is.

It is pretty darn clear that we're looking at a copyright infringement here. I would bet the farm that Chuck did not authorize this--no way. The problem is that enforcing a copyright especially when someone lives on the other side of the world is tough. Chuck, if you want to discuss this and need any help with copyright issues, please contact me directly. I would be happy to assist you.


Not that I was ever ever tempted to buy an "Uluru," whatever that is, but I wouldn't knowingly deal with any company that views that standards of the marketplace with such disdain. Copyright or not, anyone ought to know the difference between right and wrong.

good_uke_boy
03-21-2013, 06:38 AM
From Mr. Moore's web site:

Enjoy the pictures you'll find here on these pages but please do not copy any of my designs or images in any manner without my permission. Mahalo!

Enough said.

hawaii 50
03-21-2013, 06:43 AM
Just to clarify, nobody needs to file for a copyright in order to obtain copyright protection. Chuck owns the copyright to his own work just as soon as his work is fixed in a tangible medium--in other words, once the inlay is on the fretboard, the copyright is his, provided his work is original and expressive, which of course it is.

It is pretty darn clear that we're looking at a copyright infringement here. I would bet the farm that Chuck did not authorize this--no way. The problem is that enforcing a copyright especially when someone lives on the other side of the world is tough. Chuck, if you want to discuss this and need any help with copyright issues, please contact me directly. I would be happy to assist you.



Steve always wondered what kind of work you do..mds725 and yourself good people to know

they have no shame or really don't care what they do when stealing someone else's beautiful work do they? Chuck everyone on the UU would pitch in to help you..so if anything I can do let me know..

aloha bruddah
Len

bluesuke
03-21-2013, 06:45 AM
I maybe wrong but I don't think China or Vietnam have copyright laws. But thats a whole other thread

Stevelele
03-21-2013, 06:55 AM
This is a Taiwanese, not a Chinese company. And they both have copyright laws, but more to the point, a US citizen whose copyrights are being violated by someone in another country is still entitled to protection under US law.


I maybe wrong but I don't think China or Vietnam has copyright laws. But thats a whole other thread

caukulele
03-21-2013, 07:03 AM
I've been following this thread with interest, because I am an artist (painter) and a few times over the years someone has "borrowed" my images to use (most often without giving me any recognition)...in this age of internet, images are copied so fast and it is impossible to keep up with it all....

pakhan
03-21-2013, 07:04 AM
That's just one more in a long line of reasons not to buy those ukes (and I use the term uke very loosely).

+1. Support the makers you like and find ethically sound!

laundromatt
03-21-2013, 07:28 AM
Just to clarify, nobody needs to file for a copyright in order to obtain copyright protection. Chuck owns the copyright to his own work just as soon as his work is fixed in a tangible medium--in other words, once the inlay is on the fretboard, the copyright is his, provided his work is original and expressive, which of course it is.

It is pretty darn clear that we're looking at a copyright infringement here. I would bet the farm that Chuck did not authorize this--no way. The problem is that enforcing a copyright especially when someone lives on the other side of the world is tough. Chuck, if you want to discuss this and need any help with copyright issues, please contact me directly. I would be happy to assist you.

Agree with the above. Though, I do wonder if Chuck filed for registration with the Copyright Office - it would be one less hurdle in case he did want to sue. If those Ulurus are sold in the US, he could sue them here, though service of process may be an issue if they don't have a presence in the US.

Chuck, I'd also be happy to assist if you'd like.

Stevelele
03-21-2013, 07:37 AM
Chuck can register, but it gets cumbersome and it costs money. The upside is that if he brings a suit, it's easier from an evidentiary standpoint and it also gives him more options to seek different types of damages. Without going into the details, he can seek punitive damages, rather than just receiving whatever the cost would be to license his artwork for this other company's use.


Agree with the above. Though, I do wonder if Chuck filed for registration with the Copyright Office - it would be one less hurdle in case he did want to sue. If those Ulurus are sold in the US, he could sue them here, though service of process may be an issue if they don't have a presence in the US.

Chuck, I'd also be happy to assist if you'd like.

hawaii 50
03-21-2013, 07:41 AM
I love it 2 ukulele playing lawyers..i would trust both of you.. haha

gyosh
03-21-2013, 07:49 AM
I thought an even more brazen rip off of his designs was the hibiscus soundhole. Might have been plumeria, I get my flowers mixed up :)

hawaii 50
03-21-2013, 07:57 AM
I thought an even more brazen rip off of his designs was the hibiscus soundhole. Might have been plumeria, I get my flowers mixed up :)


Hey Gary..you mean the flower design soundhole off of Eric Devine's Kasha uke..I have not seen any of those copy cat ukes around..

gyosh
03-21-2013, 08:01 AM
Hey Gary..you mean the flower design soundhole off of Eric Devine's Kasha uke..I have not seen any of those copy cat ukes around..

Apparently I get my luthiers confused as well. :)

Yep, someone posted pics of ukes they were making and they had that soundhole design on them. Awkward.

Dan Uke
03-21-2013, 08:02 AM
I love it 2 ukulele playing lawyers..i would trust both of you.. haha

There was a thread in general forums and it seemed like many teachers, nurses, IT guys and a few stragglers like me.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-21-2013, 08:12 AM
This kind of thing has happened before, and as long as there are lazy, unimaginative people it will likely continue. On my web site I have asked that my work not be reproduced or duplicated without my permission. (Maybe I need that translated into Vietnamese, Chinese, Taiwanese,etc.) I've never heard of that manufacturer so I certainly didn't give him permission. I'm sure there are some that will say I should be flattered buy this kind of imitation but who I really feel bad for is the customer who thought he was getting a unique work of art. We had worked together on this design for over a year and it is a collaboration between the two of us. Just so happens he's a lawyer. Maybe I should see how he feels about it. ;)

BTW, can anyone provide a clearer image of that uke?

hawaii 50
03-21-2013, 08:15 AM
Apparently I get my luthiers confused as well. :)

Yep, someone posted pics of ukes they were making and they had that soundhole design on them. Awkward.


Yeah I seen them..

hoosierhiver
03-21-2013, 08:17 AM
Just looked at the Uluru website, check out the "about us" for a good chuckle.

The only US store that carries them is, http://www.fleacircusmusic.com/
They might need a heads up about what they are buying.

hawaii 50
03-21-2013, 08:54 AM
http://www.uluruukulele.com/?post_type=news&p=843

As stated in this link the uses are made in Vietnam for ayers guitars, an Australian based company.
Uluru is the aboriginal name for ayer's rock in central Australia.
I am not sure about copyright, and it would be better to support Australian workers by making them in Australia, but it is also important to give the artisans of Vietnam some work so they can develop their country.



Bill I agree with what you say above..but don't you think Ayers guitars should know better..from what I can see they are a pretty large guitar company trying to break into the US market?

laundromatt
03-21-2013, 11:13 AM
Chuck can register, but it gets cumbersome and it costs money. The upside is that if he brings a suit, it's easier from an evidentiary standpoint and it also gives him more options to seek different types of damages. Without going into the details, he can seek punitive damages, rather than just receiving whatever the cost would be to license his artwork for this other company's use.

Copyright registration actually isn't that hard, compared to other forms of IP. I advise people to do it within the statutory period if their work is going to be widely seen. Also, if he (or the lawyer-customer) ever wanted to sue, they would have to file for registration first.

OldePhart
03-21-2013, 05:15 PM
I had a similiar experience...well not really...it seems that someone at the Kala Music company lifted one of my photos off my FB page...without my permission, and published it in their 2013 catalog...I emailed them and asked for compensation....I should be receiving it any day now...

When it arrives, let us know. We're all holding our breath...

(As hundreds of UU members around the globe turn blue and pass out...)

Seriously, I hope you get something.

John

AZChad
03-21-2013, 05:27 PM
Chuck, I love the pin up girl and mermaid inlays. So often people censor, but I like my art with a little sexy. Is a Soprano uke head big enough to inlay a redheaded pin up effectively? Love your work.

hawaii 50
03-21-2013, 10:24 PM
Ayers Guitars has had large 1 page ads in Acoustic Guitar magazine here..did not know they were an Australian company

The Big Kahuna
03-21-2013, 10:30 PM
I love it 2 ukulele playing lawyers..

It's a well known fact that if you throw a small rock at a large crowd of Americans, you will almost certainly hit at least 10 lawyers. I'm just surprised that there aren't more of 'em here on UU (I can see you lurking there, Pootsie) :)

Incidentally, when I was changing the strings on my KT-1, one of the pegs popped out of the bridge and flew across the room, startling me slightly. Under US law, can I sue Kanile'a for mental anguish ?

I'd be happy to settle out of court for, say, a GL6, and a Soprano to cover the lawyer's fees.

Tootler
03-21-2013, 11:01 PM
One of our local music shops stocks them. They are certainly not cheap - sopranos start at about 200 - but look well made and nicely finished. It seems they are pitching more at the quality end of the market.

Lifting someone else's design like that, especially if it's a straight copy, isn't going to do them any good in the long term. In the UK we have a system of design registration which provides protection separate from copyright. It was aimed at protecting ideas that didn't meet the stricter criteria for a patent. I don't know if the US has something similar?

Stevelele
03-22-2013, 02:25 AM
yes, we have design patents which are far easier and less complicated to get than a standard patent


One of our local music shops stocks them. They are certainly not cheap - sopranos start at about 200 - but look well made and nicely finished. It seems they are pitching more at the quality end of the market.

Lifting someone else's design like that, especially if it's a straight copy, isn't going to do them any good in the long term. In the UK we have a system of design registration which provides protection separate from copyright. It was aimed at protecting ideas that didn't meet the stricter criteria for a patent. I don't know if the US has something similar?

DeVineGuitars
03-22-2013, 06:32 AM
Any time you are at the top of your game, people are going to copy you. Chuck is at the top of the inlay game, so of course less creative people are going to "adopt" his work as there own. It happens more than we know and is very upsetting to builders that spend so much time honing their craft.
If I had a nickel for every time someone copied part of one of my ukes (or the whole thing), I'd have a lot of nickels. That is part of the reason I don't do very many flower sound holes anymore. It has been copied so many times that it is no longer unique. It sucks when your own design is no longer unique because of a copy cat.