DIY ‘Meta Clock’ with 24 Analog Clocks

Human since 1982 claims

“Human since 1982 have the copyright to works displaying digital time using a grid arrangement of analog clocks…”

I’m not a lawyer, but without obligations (imho) I have removed the content.

You can read more of the details here: Copyright Law for Makers and Educators

Thanks for understanding,


18 thoughts on “DIY ‘Meta Clock’ with 24 Analog Clocks

  1. Wow. Now it actually makes a whole lot of sense why there are so few online guides for a DIY ClockClock…
    Care to share your post privately? I am currently also working on a similar project and would enjoy some exchange of ideas and implementations.


  2. That takedown claim is almost certainly bogus. Copyright protects the expressive work, not a general concept or idea. Telling people how to construct a machine is not a copyright infringement on another similar-looking conceptual art work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The problem here is that copyright laws may vary depending upon where you live and so who really wants to take a chance? For example who really would like to have to hire a lawyer to respond to a demand letter, or appear in front of a judge and/or magistrate etc?

      With that said, I do agree that the “Human since 1982” claim that they have complete and full control of any style of kinetic based clocks seems quite incredulous. However, like Erich I would do the same thing rather than take on such a battle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the law applies where you live. So what they can protect is their ‘design’: how their products look: the material, the colors, the 3D form, as shown on their web site.
        They only can copyright this, and not the idea (moving clock hands making an interesting effect). What they have ‘registered’ in the EU (there is no evidence for other countries, even Switzerland which is not part of the EU) are images of their clock. So exactly that: the design. The question is: is my design ‘the same’ or different enough? I thought so: different material for the cover, different color and material for the hands, different size. That question might be up to the court (“is it different enough or not?”), that’s why I agreed in my first response to remove the images of the ‘design’ (showing exactly that, the design) as I did not wanted to create any concern. Who wants to go to court for that? But I can build such a thing with a a 3×4 instead of 3×8 arrangement, because their ‘design’ only covers the arrangements they have on their web site. Now they cannot do a 3×4 arrangement because I have the copyright on this, plus I own the copyright on the design of a 2×2 clock version. And Firelefranz and his team owns the copyright on the 2×4 design too:-).


        • Hi Erich,
          I’m pretty sure that if nothing else, this would count as fair use. It’s a private, open-source project, not for sale. Also, a copyright is not a patent which covers the method of production or other aspects of the design.

          I get that you don’t want to go through any further harassment by them but I still think that this is a pretty pathetic move on their part.

          Thanks for the amazing work that you have provided all of us with over the years!


        • Hi Matteo,
          thank you, I appreciate that. I have been in touch with our legal department. On one end I feel treated unfair, on the other end there has been much worse examples out there (check ‘Word Clock’ projects).
          The problem is: even if not doing anything wrong, who wants to go to court and spend time and money even if you know you would win a case?


  3. Hi Erich, how are you? I’m trying to see if I can make a replica of the “a millon times clock”, my knowledge is intermediate been programming in Arduino for 7 years, but far from pro.

    I’m writing to you to see if you could give me some info or guide for how to start the project, and to ask you if you think that it’s possible to do this. Find some other projects but not to many info. Well… appreciate a lot your help !!

    Have a nice day.


    • Hi Matías,
      by now you might have found out why there is not much information about it available.
      I would not use Arduino (I mean the libraries, less the IDE, the HW would be fine) because it might be very difficult to meet the realtime aspects of such a project.
      Plus if you are restricted by ‘printf’ style debugging, you won’t get far: that’s why many ‘Arduino’ projects can fail if it does not work out of the box.
      I recommend to learn C/C++ with ‘real’ IDE’s and debugging tools for such a project.

      I hope this helps,


  4. Pingback: Copyright Law for Makers and Educators | MCU on Eclipse

  5. Hi Eric,

    Are you able to share details about the project privately, I’ve started designing it using a raspberry pi but need more guidance to put things together physically.



  6. hello sir i am very excited to start working on this amazing project.i want to make this by self.could you please share the hardware and working details .
    i will be waiting for your good response.


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