Intellectual property rights of design

Nelson platform benchThis is the Nelson platform bench. I love its simple, utilitarian design. The blonde maple looks great. It can act as a table, a seat, a stereo rack, anything. Timeless modernism, eh?

Now here's what bugs me. I want the bench but it costs around $600. I dabble with carpentry so I could probably make a good replica for $200. Can I simply copy the design and make my own?

George Nelson designed it for Herman Miller in 1948, so Miller owns the design and can manufacture it for commercial purposes. What about private, domestic use? I don't care about selling it. I would use it myself and enjoy its clean lines.

Is copying a design the same as downloading a ripped mp3? Both are for "private, domestic use." I think making the bench would be more like learning to play a song yourself.

Has anyone made a Nelson? How did it turn out?

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