about plans and copyright

i bought a set of plans from pygmy for a queen charlotte kayak. i studied the plans, read the booklet, learned a bunch of interesting stuff, and then did a redesign. the boat i built has longer and narrower bottom panels, lower sheerline with a different profile, different construction with a sheer clamp, bulkheads and hatches not in the plans. its a lower volume, longer waterline, narrower derivative with some of the look of a queen charlotte. so, just out of curiosity, can i still build a queen charlotte from my plan set? or have i used up my $65? (i thought the money was well spent)

Ask Pygmy
I doubt that anyone here could give you a better answer than Pygmy.




cool site : )

Building from plans…
You paid for the plans, you can make as many boats as you like. The problem would come if you used their design to build boats and then sold them. You can make as many as you want for your personal use.

Pat #2

Basic rule of copyright - change it 10%
and it is yours. I was reminded of this rule a few years back by a canoe manufacturer.

It so happens I was reminded again just recently of the rule by two more canoe manufacturers. What a coincidence you asking now.

Of course the final say is the laws and the courts. But if it were not for this basic rule all the boats being made and sold today would be an infringement on someone’s copyright or patent.

It sure sounds like you have changed the design you built far more than 10%. I would say it is free and clear to do with it what ever you wish. You also have the right to build from the plans you bought. But as said if you follow the plans then you are restricted as to what you can and can not do.

Happy Paddl’n!



I can just imagine…
…what John Lockwood’s response would be! Remember, this is the nut who thinks he owns exclusive rights to sell stitch-and-glue kayak kits.

Heavily disagree

– Last Updated: May-22-05 5:41 PM EST –

You have the right to make only one boat directly fron the pygmy plans unless you obtain further license. They are sold with that proviso and that right is reserved. Whether for profit of not.

I dont't know anything about what your rights are if you change the plans.

Treat good folks fairly.

Peter K, ex practicing paralegal, with some intellectual property background, academic and practical.

I’ve never heard such a thing
I assume that you have some factual information to back up this claim?




I agree

– Last Updated: May-22-05 5:51 PM EST –

Peter_k is right.

There are several other plans available that also follow these types of conditions.

I don't understand the reasoning of someone wanting to take something away from the creator of work such as original plans for a boat -- in most cases, you're going to save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars by building the boat yourself from a set of $50-$100 plans. It just seems right to reimburse the creator for their expertise and efforts.

If you want to save a few more bucks, design your own plans or use plans that don't have such restrictions.

With regard to altering or changing plans, I really don't have the answer to the question and can't offer an informed opinion.



RPD is mistaken
One set of plans, one boat. You’ve got to ask yourself, could I have created the modified boat I built without those plans?

Yeah, the 10 percent rule may still apply but you should do the right thing and ask for permission.

Glad you came up with a boat you enjoy! There’s nothing like the building process. Store bought is great but building it yourself just cannot be equaled. Enjoy!

I can see why Pygmy
might want to put the “one boat” per plans rule into their legal boilerplate, but I wonder if such a proviso has ever been upheld by a court of law. If someone is building multiple boats and selling them all from one set of plans–that’s one thing. But building a couple boats for yourself and spouse from one set would violate copyright? I’m skeptical.

general rule of thumb:
1 boat per set of plans.

But ask nicely and privately and perhaps you’ll get permission to go ahead with the second hull.

I’m going to disagree on the 10% rule when it comes to boat plans. And this is a unique animal…dealing with boat plans.

Like what was said earlier, if you just stretched it or shrunk it, then you used the plans, the dimensions, and how the dimensions related to each other.

If you read them, used concepts, general proportions, and drew you own from scratch, that would be different.

Spliting some mighty thin hairs here. But that’s how I see it.

I agree…
If there is a one boat stipulation, you should only build one boat. That is what you agreed to. I Bought Canoe Magazine’s stripper plans in the 80’s and don’t remember any stipulation on how many boats are allowed. I did not realize Pygmy had this restriction.

Pat #2

would it matter
Would it matter if they built the orginal boat (from the plans) first and then changed it by more than 10% on the second one?

one boat per set of plans
is faily universal in the boating plans world. I have recently built a S&G sailing canoe and an Osprey stripper in 2000. I have also looked at hundreds of other plans on the net from dinghies to cruisers. All of them stipulate the purchaser has the right to build ONE BOAT.

This was covered on another board and by chance the designer dropped in to comment. I’m not sure how he found the posts as he wasn’t a regular on the board. :-). The designer said his standard practice was to charge a reduced (1/2) price for the licence to build a second boat since he didn’t have to actually supply hard copy plans.

excellent point

What’s this 10% rubbish?
All the canoe/kayak plans I’ve seen or heard of are one set of plans equals one boat. Regardless of the changes you make, if the boat is derived from those plans then you have made your ‘one boat’.

This does not come under a ‘fair use’ - to derive more than one boat from a set of plans, regardless of the changes, or use - clause (e.g. cassette tapes); it is in fact ‘fair use’, for one boat to be made from one set of plans.

(the 10% reference I’m only aware of is when using deriving portion of material as part of an overall project - quoting from books, for example).

Of course, you can always ask permission to derive such a boat from the plans.

i say you change it up, it’s your …
boat design and not theirs. Unless I am mistaken the people selling these plans did not invent kayaks or canoes. So they must have at some point taken their design based off other boats they saw. Otherwise these plan sellers better start giving royalties to the Eskimos who invented the kayaks and the native americans with their canoes.

Take a look at Hennesey Hammocks…

– Last Updated: May-23-05 10:22 PM EST –

This was a design "taken" from the old military hammocks... Even though most everyone here says they are not, Tom Hennesey even states on his website that they are. People just don't want to claim they are similar......

_________________________________________________ Ok, I got bored with the recent babble..
Posted by: coffeeII on May-31-04 4:59 PM (EST)
So I actually read your "full" reply. Sure it doesn't say that he bought the design, BUT what was said is as follows:

At the age of 16, I would make 200 mile, weekend bicycle trips out of Washington D.C. into the Appalachian Mountains. I carried a minimum of food & water, a light sleeping bag and a WWII surplus U.S. Army jungle hammock. I loved this old thing because it rolled up so small and weighed so little and had no poles or stakes, perfect for moving light and fast.

I continued to miss that little piece of gear and finally decided to duplicate my old army hammock from memory


The duplicate of the army hammock took less than a day to finish."

Let's see... What did that say again?? The "DUPLICATE"??? Yea, I think that is what he said on his website... lol

So if he "NEVER" bought "ANY" rights to the design, then he stole it???? Hmmmmmmmm....

LOL!! Just givin ya alittle shit... After all you did say that Henneseys are "in no way similar".....

Paddle easy,


P.S. Gotcha!! ;)


I say, make as many boats off of those plans as you want!! JUST DO NOT: Sell, call them the same brand name, mark the brand name on them or make any sort of profit off the boats & you will be fine.

That is all a copyright is for: To assure that nobdy else makes profit off your design. Not to prevent someone from building it.

Paddle easy,


I know …
… than when Pygmy sells a kit boat there are only enough parts to make one boat… ???

Hope this helps…