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Thread: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

  1. #1
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    Default Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Hello group,

    I have a pile of printed plans that Iím not sure if I will ever use, easily $1000 worth. I feel, given that the plans are printed, that selling them at 60% is ethnically okay, if not great.

    Anyone else have insight?

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    There have been vigorous discussions on here about this. I have bought plans secondhand or been given them without qualms. Others believe that a plan sold to an individual is expressly for him alone. If that is specified on the plan, I think it carries some weight. Generally I think that plans give the right to build one boat. If they haven't been used, the right could be transferred in my opinion. If in doubt, perhaps contact the designer. I think that anyone would agree that building plans were intended to create a boat rather than collect dust. Good luck with all of it.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    I'm certain that the laws of copyright apply here. It's my understanding that the papers would contain the intellectual property of the naval architect who drew them, and it is therefore up to them whether or not they can be sold on legally. My own drawings contain a message to this effect, and I would be more than a little miffed if I found out someone had sold my (architectural) drawings on to a third person without my consent.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Contact the designer and ask his permission. If denied, don't sell.

    If the designer (or his/her heirs or assigned legacy administrators) cannot be contacted, assume that you can't sell the plans.

    If the plans are over 75 years old and NOT copyrighted by anybody else, you can do what you want with them.

    Plans are the intellectual property of the designer and are normally issued with permission for the buyer to build a specified number of boats (usually one) from the plans. The plans are not a commodity that you can buy and sell. Some designers stipulate that all drawings are to be returned to the designer after the boat is completed so that they can control the distribution of the plans.

    Selling plans is how most boat designers make their living. If you re-sell the plans that the designer has supplied to you, you taking the opportunity to sell a set of plans to a new customer away from the designer, and are essentially robbing him of income to feed his family.


    BTW, I am one of those boat designers who sell plans to feed my family...
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    What Mike says. It is far too easy for the rest of us to be casual about this, but designers have to live, if we want to benefit from their years of study and experience…
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Sell away, disregard the designers talking their own book and business.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    I firmly side with the don't resell plans camp.

    I have found, in engaging in these discussions here, that some folks will take the, " right to build one boat," clause the wrong way. This has been used to justify the reselling of plans, i.e.:" I didn't build a boat from the plans so therefore I can sell the plans."

    This is not correct. The right to build one, or any number, of boats has nothing to do with the right to resell plans.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    The plans are not yours to sell. What you bought was the rights to information to build one boat, not the information itself.

    Disregard Conway's comment above.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    ....disregard the designers talking their own book and business.
    .....and the law too, presumably. I'm presuming this is sarcasm.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    If you can’t sell or transfer the plans what happens when you die? Where does this property that apparently isn’t yours go?
    Last edited by Hugh Conway; 09-09-2021 at 10:19 AM.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike-in-Suffolk View Post
    .....and the law, presumably. I'm presuming this is sarcasm.
    I know the legal status of the plans I’ve purchased, yes. You want me to disregard that, yes.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    If you can’t sell or transfer the plans what happens when you die?
    Your heirs or executor should either return them to the designer and/or heirs, or burn them.

    Oh, and thank-you for the disrespect, Hugh.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    Your heirs or executor should either return them to the designer and/or heirs, or burn them.
    Im supposed to pay for the caretaking of your intellectual property?

    you are clearly taling your book mmd. You speak of your contracts and the rights your lawyer told you you have. That’s not an insult, that’s fact.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    I generally consider purchasing plans to be supporting designers, and thus if I didn't build the boat, fine, I'm not going to try to recoup money, but is it really so black and white?

    I can resell a book, and a book similarly contains a reproduction of an intellectual piece of work. With a book, there is no limitation on only reading once, but it's not hard to imagine that if there was, then you would still be able to resell an unread book. Of course, if you had a book that explicitly said it could not be resold, that's a different story (though, I'd want to hear from a lawyer if that's legally enforceable... buying things does give you some rights).
    Daniel

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    In a similar vein, I worked for a major technology company for many years, and accumulated a significant amount of proprietary intellectual property ( needed to do my job) . Upon my retirement, I kept 2 paper shredders busy for a good while. -- It was the right thing to do.

    Rick

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    I am not familiar with copyright law for boat designs, but for other copyrighted works, the First-sale Doctrine applies https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine

    The first-sale doctrine creates a basic exception to the copyright holder's distribution right. Once the work is lawfully sold or even transferred gratuitously, the copyright owner's interest in the material object in which the copyrighted work is embodied is exhausted. The owner of the material object can then dispose of it as they see fit. Thus, one who buys a copy of a book is entitled to resell it, rent it, give it away, or destroy it. However, the owner of the copy of the book will not be able to make new copies of the book because the first-sale doctrine does not limit the restrictions allowed by the copyright owner's reproduction right.
    This suggests that as far as the physical plans are concerned, the selling of that physical object is legal and doesn't violate the copyright holder's distribution right.

    Whether the buyer of those physical plans would be licensed to build the boat represented in the plans seems like a much more complicated question. I don't think that the designers of the types of boats that we are talking about here are registering their boats under the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act (https://www.copyright.gov/vessels/) so I'm not sure what legal protections they are relying on for their designs, beyond the copyright that they hold on the plans themselves?

    Is there someone who would be willing to explain to a beginner what the legal structures are that support the "one copy of the plans is a license to build one boat from them" language that we often see?

    -Neil

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Quote Originally Posted by hawkeye54 View Post
    In a similar vein, I worked for a major technology company for many years, and accumulated a significant amount of proprietary intellectual property ( needed to do my job) . Upon my retirement, I kept 2 paper shredders busy for a good while. -- It was the right thing to do.

    Rick
    you were paid to safeguard their property, it’s not similar at all.


    If I legally purchase a physical set of drawings of a boat, those physical plans are mine to sell, to lend, to rent, to donate, to destroy by lining a birdcage with. But possession of a set of physical plans doesn’t necessarily convey the right to build a boat from them.
    Last edited by Hugh Conway; 09-09-2021 at 12:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Hugh does not appear to have read the plain English of what NAs and others facing similar issues face. Another question for Hugh: Do you realize that most columns are copywrited and have you any idea of what that means after you buy the paper?

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    I'm firmly in the "Ask the designer" camp. Along with the courtesy of the inquiry, it may give the designer some feedback on just why ​the decision to not build was made.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Yes, Hugh, by purchasing the plans you have assumed responsibility for them. Part of that responsibility is disposing of them responsibly. You may dispute how that disposal should be carried out, but if you read the thoughts of the majority of the posters on this thread you will see that you are in the minority.

    That's it for me - this subject has been talked to death here in the Bilge and on the upper decks. I have stated my opinion of the subject, and the readers may take that as they will.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    I won’t. Don’t worry and continue to debate please!

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Never mind. I'm outta here.......
    Last edited by Mike-in-Suffolk; 09-09-2021 at 01:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    The last time I purchased a set of plans (20 years ago), it clearly stated in the lower right corner the plans were the license to build one boat and they were not transferrable. These were for an 11-1/2 foot canoe, by the way.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    Hugh does not appear to have read the plain English of what NAs and others facing similar issues face
    plain English Ian is he bought plans. Like I have many times. That they are his property. Not that he contracted a naval architect to design a boat, for which the naval architect supplied drawings for, and that those drawings remain the property of the naval architect. Which can be the case, in which case they aren’t his to sell because they aren’t his property. But it’s bluntly flat out wrong to assert that’s the case with every drawing or plan.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Seems the risk to the buyer at your proposed 40% discount is still pretty great if they plan to build. I'd rather be in a position to approach the designer with any questions or issues knowing they'll be willing to provide support. Compared to the price of time and materials it's a small price to pay the difference. Especially with a set of old plans I'd be curious about updates since they were first drafted as well. Anything built would be akin to a motor vehicle with an obstructed title.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Not EVERY drawing. Just the ones covered by the original sale of plans, drawings, off-sets, et cetera. The party who bought the plans from the NA and then went to to sell them is the party in the first place in the wrong. Any party who subsequently buys the plans is in the wrong in the same way that a person who purchases whaty that knows is stolen property

    Let's take if further. What of a plans thief who makes a success of the design and turns it into a business?

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    ^ it would be very wrong of me to say “Laser”, at this point…^…
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    Not EVERY drawing. Just the ones covered by the original sale of plans, drawings, off-sets, et cetera. The party who bought the plans from the NA and then went to to sell them is the party in the first place in the wrong. Any party who subsequently buys the plans is in the wrong in the same way that a person who purchases whaty that knows is stolen property

    Let's take if further. What of a plans thief who makes a success of the design and turns it into a business?
    In the USA if you bought the plans you paid someone so you could take lawful physical ownership of a set of paper or Mylar or whatever material physical drawings, those drawings are yours to sell, to lend, to share, to dispose of. You may also have acquired the right to build a boat, ten boats, one thousand boats, or zero boats. That right may or may not be separate. You may think it poor form to sell on drawings which could then be used by someone unscrupulous to build a boat without the design copyright holders permission with little risk to themselves, but selling the plans is still legal. There is no droit de suite here. Other places are different. Electronic files may be different.

    the laser lawsuit was because
    For nearly two-and-a-half years, they deliberately produced and sold boats with plaques in the back of the boat that had my name on them and paid no royalties.
    Last edited by Hugh Conway; 09-09-2021 at 06:17 PM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Well, they bought the plans. Are not they free to enter the market with what's now their own property ? ? ?

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Heck, I'm a free American with an uninformed opinion so I'll weigh in - why not?

    If I understand mmd correctly, what he is saying is that the fee paid to the designer is for the license to build the boat, not for the pieces of paper that come with the license. The plans are merely the documentation that goes along with that license, and are not conveyed to the purchaser as property. Thus everyone arguing for ownership rights under the first-purchase doctrine are barking up the wrong tree because the plans were never purchased in the first place. So the obligation to return the plans to the designer when you are done with them is because you never owned the paper, you only "own" a license to build a boat.

    I'm making a bunch of assumptions here of course, and I don't know what the law says, nor whether the circumstances of the purchase need to be defined in a contract in order to establish what the purchaser is actually buying. But there are plenty of similar examples where one might pay a fee and receive a physical document but the value conveyed by that document is not transferable. When I purchased an airline ticket (back when those things were paper), I received both a piece of physical property and a "license" to travel on a specific flight. I may have paid money and received a piece of paper but that does not also convey to me the right to sell that piece of paper or transfer the value associated with it to another person.
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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    But there are plenty of similar examples where one might pay a fee and receive a physical document but the value conveyed by that document is not transferable. When I purchased an airline ticket (back when those things were paper), I received both a piece of physical property and a "license" to travel on a specific flight. I may have paid money and received a piece of paper but that does not also convey to me the right to sell that piece of paper or transfer the value associated with it to another person.
    back before the airline revenue protection changes post 9/11 in the us you could most definitely buy transferable airline tickets.you could most certainly transfer the value. You can most certainly buy the right to build a boat along with the plans for it from a third party. Like the forum host


    michael may be correct about what he licenses, but he disrespects himself and creators in general by grabbing rights. This is all pissing in the wind though, people can’t and won’t and dont care to read
    Last edited by Hugh Conway; 09-09-2021 at 07:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    back before the airline revenue protection changes post 9/11 in the us you could most definitely buy transferable airline tickets.you could most certainly transfer the value.
    Sure, I'm just using that as one example of purchasing a right without purchasing the physical property needed to exercise that right. There are many others. Movie theaters own the right to show a movie but they don't own the film itself and they are not free to dispose of the film in any way they choose after they are done showing it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    michael may be correct about what he licenses, but he disrespects himself and creators in general by grabbing rights. This is all pissing in the wind though, people can’t and won’t and dont care to read
    I won't presume to speak for Michael, nor do I for one second think that he needs anyone to do so. However I will say that any amateur (meaning us chickens) is on shaky ground when arguing points of art with a professional in their own domain. Intellectual property ownership is a complex business, and maritime law is a complex business, and I expect that any area of law that combines those two domains is going to be so arcane that anyone who does not have specific expertise is going to be sadly... well, at sea I suppose. And telling any professional that he or she "disrespects himself" over a point of ownership over their work product is not likely to go over well in any pub, bar, or tavern where said professionals convene. Just to say that I wouldn't say that to a man's face on his own ground.

    But I've said my piece.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    michael may be correct about what he licenses, but he disrespects himself and creators in general by grabbing rights.
    MMD is not "grabbing rights." He is protecting his livelihood (and also the livelihood and reputation of the yards that build to his designs).

    It's people who are unwilling to go to the original designer to get their own license and set of plans who are disrespecting creators.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    I have said it before, there are three different and separate things when it comes to "plans":

    1. The information. This can be sold and inherited and what gets reproduced. The creator does not always have the rights to the information, often they are sold beforehand (for example if your employment contract specifies that anything you design is property of the employer), or sold individually (the customer buys all or some of them them specifically). Whoever holds the rights to the information then controls the next two points.

    2. The license to build. This represents the right to use the information, and can be tied to a specific person or company and be non-transferable, or to a physical object (the printed plans) and be transferable with or without the right holders consent.

    3. The physical plans themself. This can be owned by the information rights owner and rented out or provided for free, or by the customer. If they are sold they become the sole property of the buyer and can be resold forever.

    The big problem is that a lot of designers and most of the private customers have no clue how the three things relate to each other when plans are "sold". There should be a clear contract specifying what exactly one buys, and what the status of the three things is, and this is seldom the case. Often you don't get a separate document that says "building license" on it, and the invoice makes no mention of such a thing.

    If the designer does not want to sell plans, he should specifically say so, and all physical documents should be marked accordingly ("property of XYZ design, to be returned after use"). Otherwise the assumption is that the plans were paid for and are the property of the buyer.

    If the building license is non-transferable it should be clear in the documentation ("this license allows XYZ to build N boats and is non-transferable"). If not, the assumption is that whoever holds the piece of paper saying "this plan allows the building of one boat" actually has this right, and can sell it.

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    Default Re: Selling boat plans (purchased) that I will not use?

    This may be something of a strawman argument but .....

    If I finish building a boat from purchased plans, am I allowed to sell it, or do I need to ask the designer?

    Is there a logical difference?

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