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When is using other peoples ideas not ok?
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Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
When is using other peoples ideas not ok? on 09/01/2011 12:45:03 MDT Print View

So I've been searching around trying to find a tarp/bivy/bug bivy combo that I like. The hard thing is that I'll find a tarp that I really like but then the bug bivy is too heavy or too small or whatever. Of course that led me to think "maybe I could make my own?" (emphasis on the maybe).

However in searching for patterns and ideas for tie outs etc, it seems like so many of the ideas I like have already been done and copied by ten other people. Some are fellow BPL members and others are small manufacturers. I guess my question is this: is it OK for me to use other peoples designs/ideas when trying to make my own tarp or should I be asking for permission?

I get the feeling that most people on this MYOG forum are sharing their ideas for everyone to look at and use. But what about the people like Henry Shires or Joe and Zpacks who are selling their products to make a living. Would using some of their designs to make something for myself be crossing a line?

As a side note, I'd only be making something for myself. Not to sell.

Thanks for all the insight!

Chris Lucas
(ChemE) - F

Locale: SC
Private Use is Fine on 09/01/2011 12:55:58 MDT Print View

I've purchased a number of items from Joe and also discussed with him my plans to bond a second zero with Hysol and CT2K.18. I'll continue to buy from Joe even if my second pack is an unqualified success. I can't speak for them, but I get the distinct impression that the cottage gear makers don't mind if it is just for your personal use. Now copying a design and then selling it I would suspect they would mind and they should since it is their intellectual property. If you really feel guilty about benefiting from their design, make a donation or buy something else from them.

David Bolduc
(boldav47) - F
using other ppls ideas on 09/01/2011 13:05:04 MDT Print View

I would imagine that in most cases the old saying that "imitation is the best form of flattery" applies. So, just as long as you don't try to capatilize financially on their hard work or give the impression that you came up with the concept originally, then you should be okay. However, it might be smarter in the long run to simply ask their permission beforehand. You may be surprised to find that they will happily give you the go-ahead to use their ideas, and you may even make a new friend in the process.

A. B.
re on 09/01/2011 13:17:24 MDT Print View

There is nothing wrong with copying someone else's idea for your own personal usage.

Pilate de Guerre
(deGuerre) - F

Locale: SE, USA
Re: re on 09/01/2011 13:52:04 MDT Print View

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."

That's a quote from one of the all time Giants. Anyone with a minimal respect to intellectual rigor and honesty recognises it as truth.

Evan wrote: "There is nothing wrong with copying someone else's idea for your own personal usage."


Edited by deGuerre on 09/01/2011 14:34:47 MDT.

Chris Lucas
(ChemE) - F

Locale: SC
ZPacks = Cool on 09/01/2011 15:27:03 MDT Print View

I pointed this thread out to Joe and ZPacks and he confirmed that he is fine with private use of his designs just not commercial use.

James Townsend
(j21a2t89) - MLife

Locale: South Wales
Re: When is using other peoples ideas not ok? on 09/01/2011 15:32:01 MDT Print View

When you don't recognise or show that you recognise, that the idea belongs to someone else.

Ahh philosophy's great init.

Practically on the other hand just don't make profit from it, like everyone else has said.

other peoples ideas......... on 09/01/2011 21:23:01 MDT Print View

Actually, it is usually OK to use other peoples ideas, even if you do profit from them. Sorry, but just because someone has a specific design, does not make it their right to exclude others from it. Unless it is unique enough and valuable enough to have had a patent applied for and granted. And even then, a great many patents are would not hold up if challenged. Patent examiners do a pretty crude job. It is left up to patent lawyers to sort things out.

This is also why we have the patent system. Disclosing your invention allows others to modify it, to improve it, and to further technology. In exchange you are allowed to profit from it for a specified period of time. The whole idea is to share inventions to further mankind. It is NOT to protect your technology. Companies, particularly drug companies, will NOT patent processes for making valuable drugs because to do so would require them to disclose it. However, they may obtain the composition of matter patent for a new compound.

What would the world be like if no one made cars but one person, or wheels, or pants, etc. Your selection would be crappy and the products poor.

Even if a misguided manufacturer gets upset by someone using a similar design to theirs, truth is, in the long run it will benefit everyone as the competing design will have improvements, that he can then also copy into his product. It is a constant, iterative process to improve technology. To avoid it, is to stagnate.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: other peoples ideas......... on 09/02/2011 09:45:03 MDT Print View

and someone thinks how great they are for coming up with a good idea,

but we all "stand on the shoulders" of previous inventors

if Ray or whoever hadn't come up with some idea, like putting a "beak" on a tarp, someone else would. It's somewhat obvious. Silly for Ray to be upset that other tarp makers copy his "beaks"

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
tarp beaks on 09/02/2011 21:09:24 MDT Print View

This Idea has been around for ages. I learned the flying diamond with a beak pitch from an old bushman as did he. It is also called the forester pitch in the free publication " Tarp Shelters, an introduction by DBM, on the equipped to survive site.

As far as copying ideas, I usually ask, and end up modifying or combining several ideas to make a piece of gear to fit my situation.

My modular pack is a combination of the better ideas from 4 packs, I own the only prototype and I am current enjoying trying to beat it up in the woods. If I had $1000 to spend on packs I would have bought all 4 and saved myself a "few" hours in the shop...but what fun is that. Now, if I started selling them without asking the innovators, that may cross the line. I don't feel that I cost them sales, because I couldn't afford their packs anyway.

Do I copy...only the good ideas.



Edited by dmgoody on 09/02/2011 21:35:30 MDT.