Is tracing/vectorizing furniture (everything in my home) for commercial use in violation of copyright?

How can designers make arrows, buttons, tiles, etc. that maybe accidentally copied? I have button ideas but I worry I maybe accidentally copy.

  • This sounds very similar to a recent question: Is it plagiarism if my logo looks similar to an existing one?
    – JohnB
    Dec 2, 2013 at 22:45
  • 1
    Ultimately, the answer is: a) it depends and b) ask a lawyer. But it's more complicated than that. Furniture design has some intellectual property protection, but not in the same sense as copyright does. However, a particular pattern on a particular fabric on a particular piece of furniture may have copyright protection. That said, you could still take a photo of said piece, and you'd then own the copyright to the photo. Long story short, you're likely fine, but as always, it depends...
    – DA01
    Dec 3, 2013 at 0:54
  • Just like there are multiple different styles for the same icons made by different designers, there are multiple styles of buttons. You are certainly not in trouble with a button design. If you're worried it isn't unique enough, rejoice - that would make you very unlikely to get sued since others probably have variations of the design (afterall, you can only copyright to a point... I don't think the ideas of buttons can be copyrighted, for example). Honestly, I'm pretty sure that tracing your furniture for vector art will not be a problem as long as you do something to make it your own.
    – person27
    Dec 17, 2013 at 6:42
  • The best guidance on these questions I've seen is that to infringe, there has to be substantial similarity with protectible elements of the original. So in your case I'd imagine (not a lawyer) that it would need to be a) recognisable and b) of something distinctive or unique. Generic features (e.g. the shape of an average sofa): no problem. Distinctive features (e.g. a particular pattern, or distinctive chair design): a problem unless you use it as only inspiration, creating something that is not "substantially similar". Dec 17, 2013 at 16:58
  • Be aware there is no such thing as a "Change it by 10% or more and it's legal" factor.
    – Scott
    Dec 17, 2013 at 17:46


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