Using Copyrighted Plans

I have recently made a few pieces of furniture from plans I found either in magazines or from a web site. If I choose to make more of this furniture and sell it, where do I stand legally? I haven’t yet perfected the design process (and maybe never will) so can I make, then sell items I built from plans I buy or get out of a magazine?

Michael Dresdner: It is generally understood that publishing or selling plans implies that you are allowing others to reproduce them in exchange for the price of the plan, or for the remuneration the writer received for his/her article.

Lee Grindinger: Some designs are in the public domain, some are not. Some copyright holders will come after you, some won’t. The safest route for you to take would be to find the copyright holder if there is a copyright and ask for permission. Recently a case was prosecuted when a person like yourself took a design from a published book of drawings, produced work from the book and sold it. The author sued. It’s worth checking and generally a message sent to the published source will verify the copyright status.

Rob Johnstone: Speaking for the Woodworker’s Journal, if you build one or a hundred of our projects, feel free to sell them. If I catch you selling our plans & hoo-boy, then you are in trouble!

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