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David Spencer




Location: Australia
Joined: 29 May 2010
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Aug, 2010 12:27 am    Post subject: Permission Denied         Reply with quote

Having been looking at some of the most enviable swords in the "Coverting thy neighbors Toys topic.
As a new member who has not seen many of them before, I am truly envious of these stunning pieces.

I want to ask a question on etiquette, If I see a sword I would like made, is my first obligation to ask the owner for permission to have one similar made, I say similar because i feel some details should be different so no two are identical, or is it a matter between the swordmaker and his customer to only make the one. As most of these swords are based on ideas from pieces in museums they are essentially copies themselves. So is it a free for all on getting what you want regardless of who owns something similar.
For an example i would look at Nathan Robinson's Swiss Saber after having seen this sword, I would love too have one made in the future, now his was the first version of this sword i have seen so do I ask his permission or because it was based on a 15th century sword am I free to do as I want. Personally I would ask his permission first, explaining how I would make mine slightly different from his, Or do I just ask the Sword Maker to make me one similar. What if he said no, what would you do any thoughts.
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Aug, 2010 2:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you give your smith a picture of Nathan's saber and say: "Make me something like this!", you definitely need nathan's permission. But if you show your smith a picture of the original Nathan's saber is based on, I think you don't need to ask for his permission although it would be a rather nice gesture to let him know what you are doing and that his saber inspired you to do this. Happy
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Scott Hrouda




Location: Minnesota, USA
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Aug, 2010 6:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm in agreement with Luka. For example, I'm in lust with Scott Kowalski's early glaive made by Michael Pikula. I believe there's a few methods to go about having Michael make an early glaive:

1 - Provide period artwork or pictures of an original and say "make this exact piece".
2 - Provide period artwork or pictures of an original and say "make a piece based upon this".
3 - Ask Michael to "surprise you" and make an early glaive that tickles his fancy.
4 - Provide pictures of a modern custom piece and ask him to "make this exact piece".
5 - Provide pictures of a modern custom piece and ask him to "make a piece based upon this".

I personally believe example #4 would require you to ask permission from the owner and weaponsmith as well as requiring deep reflection as to whether this is a good idea or not.

Example #5, in my opinion, would still require you to ask permission from the owner and weaponsmith, but not require "deep reflection".

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Fri 27 Aug, 2010 7:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I owned a beautiful sword that you really like (and it was a replica of an original) I wouldn't mind it being replicated. If I owned a sword that you wanted that was based on originals, but was a combination of elements that I chose for design purposes... I would at least like someone to ask. I would then tell them it was ok. No two swords are identical. They will always have something about them that makes them unique, especially if they are hand made. I feel that if i really really loved a sword, I wouldn't care who else owned one similar, as long as they didn't try to touch mine. Laughing Out Loud
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Aug, 2010 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with what has been said above. One can also achieve personalization through variations in the grip style, hilt materials, or engravings.

Having said that, there are so many great original swords that have not yet been 'revived' through modern replication. I think that part of the full excitement of going the custom route is seeking one of these out, and possibly being the first person to have it replicated. This makes the experience more personal. For example, with some research, you might find another saber that you like as much, or more, than the one Nathan chose to replicate. Just a thought.
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Sean Flynt
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Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Aug, 2010 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Always use originals as much as possible. The problem with slavish copying--for which it would be at least polite to inform the owner of your intentions--is that it can repeat a-historical errors and make them common. Sometimes modern cutlers and smiths just have to guess how something was done, historically. Their solution might be historically appropriate and it might not. Sometimes in these fora, a generous maker (there are MANY here) will publish a solution to some problem, and I think it's fair game to apply those lessons to one's own work.

As I recently heard someone say: "Light your fire where you may...but burn your own wood." In other words, take your inspiration from reproductions, antiques, artwork, etc., but either figure out the details through experimentation and research or work with your smith/cutler to make something inspired, but unique.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Aug, 2010 12:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Hrouda wrote:
I'm in agreement with Luka. For example, I'm in lust with Scott Kowalski's early glaive made by Michael Pikula. I believe there's a few methods to go about having Michael make an early glaive:

1 - Provide period artwork or pictures of an original and say "make this exact piece".
2 - Provide period artwork or pictures of an original and say "make a piece based upon this".
3 - Ask Michael to "surprise you" and make an early glaive that tickles his fancy.
4 - Provide pictures of a modern custom piece and ask him to "make this exact piece".
5 - Provide pictures of a modern custom piece and ask him to "make a piece based upon this".

I personally believe example #4 would require you to ask permission from the owner and weaponsmith as well as requiring deep reflection as to whether this is a good idea or not.

Example #5, in my opinion, would still require you to ask permission from the owner and weaponsmith, but not require "deep reflection".


One distinction to make is what would be legal and what is just the right and ethical thing to do !

Legally I doubt there is much stopping one from having anything copied at least as one-off custom work is concerned: A company copying the work of another company and passing it off as being made by the first company is something we see in counterfeiting products coming from China or other places that won't respect copyright or where it would be almost impossible to sue them in that country.

Well, the above is not what we are discussing but I thought I should at least mention it.

I agree with #4 being the most problematic and the closet to being unethical but not illegal unless one fraudulently tries to sell the piece as being made by the original maker: In all cases fraud is fraud !

I would add #6 asking the original maker to make another sword ( or whatever ) identical to the one we admired that he made and sold to someone else.

Now this could be divided into 2 cases:

A) Where the piece was a commission, asked for and designed by the customer, or designed for a specific customer where " exclusivity " was agreed upon by the maker and the customer.

B) The maker's design sold without any promise of exclusivity: In that case the maker has the complete right to make more of the same at his/her discretion and does not need the permission of the original buyer.

Note when buying original work one should not assume exclusivity unless it has been explicitly discussed and promised and I would expect the maker to ask and demand more money for one of his designs if he can't make more of the same. ( Not more money, possibly, if the design actually comes mostly from the customer ).

Personally with my RavenWolf sword made by OlliN, my Langue de Boeuf made by A & A, my Rondel made by A & A, the Winged Spear made by Michael Pikula as well as my Cinquedea I would be happy to have others made and other's liking them enough to want to have the same or very similar pieces: I would rather that my designs be enjoyed by other's rather than my having the only one in existence. Wink Laughing Out Loud Cool

Now with my custom Tinker Rondel, Tinker Type XVII sword, Eric McHugh axe ...... etc ( others I might be forgetting about: They are their designs that I liked and bought I have zero expectation or even desire for exclusivity as they are their designs to replicate in whatever numbers they see fit or desire ..... not mine to tell them what to do. Wink Razz Laughing Out Loud

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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David Spencer




Location: Australia
Joined: 29 May 2010
Likes: 9 pages

Posts: 43

PostPosted: Sat 28 Aug, 2010 4:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies
The reason I used Nathan's Swiss Saber as an example was. I have never seen that style of saber before being fairly new to sword collecting, so my mental association will always refer back to that even though it was a replica of a 15th century sword, I have since seen other custom pieces with similar blades and hilts but they don't quite hit the mark now after seeing the stunning replica Nathan has. Would I get a sword like this made in the future definitely, would it be identical to Nathan's no, I would have a different guard. The blade I would want to be identical because how can you improve on perfection. Would I ask Nathan's permission yes as I would want the blade made by the same smith he used, And if he said no, the sword would not be made because sometimes according to Mick Jagger "you can't always get want you want".
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Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin


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PostPosted: Sat 28 Aug, 2010 6:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi David-

Great topic you posted and I intend to respond to it... just haven't had the time to post more than a few sentences here and there... but I didn't want you to think I was purposely ignoring it because my name was mentioned! So here's a quick response from me:

(the following refers to historical interpretations, not modern-made designs)

The bottom line is that I personally have no problem with people using stuff I might have owned or currently own as inspiration... but would generally encourage people to look at originals rather than repros because the final product would produce a better item. It's sort of like making a photocopy of a photocopy: that will never produce as good of a result as going right to the original. Every interpretation is going to have concessions and subtle changes from the original and so each subsequent copy would add their own until eventually these copies of copies would be very, very different than the original. And that's a shame.

Reading this topic in its entirety makes me realize this echos Sean Flynt's feelings, too.

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David Spencer




Location: Australia
Joined: 29 May 2010
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Posts: 43

PostPosted: Fri 12 Nov, 2010 1:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a quick note when this came up I couldn't say no.
If you will excuse me for once again quoteing "Jagger"
"You get what you need"



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Matt Corbin




Location: U.S.A.
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PostPosted: Fri 12 Nov, 2010 9:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful blade. Who did you get to make it for you?
“This was the age of heroes, some legendary, some historical . . . the misty borderland of history where fact and legend mingle.”
- R. Ewart Oakeshott
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David Spencer




Location: Australia
Joined: 29 May 2010
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Posts: 43

PostPosted: Fri 12 Nov, 2010 11:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Matt
The blade is from Ollin Swords (details on his custom blades page) and the Hilt is from Christian Flectcher (there are photos in the gallery section of his website) but I carn' take any credit as it was bought from fellow forumite Tim Lison, Who gets all the credit for putting this great sabre together.
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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

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PostPosted: Sat 13 Nov, 2010 12:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personaly I'd go with Scot's #3.
That is too say "Here is the sort of things I like, now experiment!"

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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Tim Lison




Location: Chicago, Illinois
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PostPosted: Sat 13 Nov, 2010 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glad you like it David! It is funny how things work out in this hobby sometimes. I've had times where I've considered getting a new sword and then there it is on the marketplace here at myArmoury! At a discount too! I check the marketplace forum daily even when I'm not thinking of getting something new just because you never know what might become available...
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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

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PostPosted: Sat 13 Nov, 2010 2:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I probably wouldn't ask for permission to copy someone else's sword. They're pretty open source, I'd say. Though, frankly, I have so many ideas for sword concepts in my head already that I really don't need to snag someone else's design.

I would ask for permission to use pictures of said sword, though, even if it's not for an exact copy. For example, I have this idea for a sword hilt somewhat based on that katzbalger of Nathan's. It wouldn't be the same as his and would probably go on a radically different sword, but if I wanted to use Nathan's pictures to illustrate the idea, I'd feel obliged to ask for permission.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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