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"But the case that upset him was a guy who set up a whole business around the concept of: Come take a class with me and I'll show you how to build the Sam Maloof chair."
This isn't really a copyright issue, it's a trademark issue. The fix for this would have been to trademark the Sam Maloof name (as it applies to woodworking and related accessories) and possibly "Maloof rocking chair". This would prevent others from trading on the Maloof name and reputation.
With the protection of a trademark the woodworking instructor would only be able to say "take my class and I'll show you how to build a chair."
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