WoodworkersWorkshop® - Copyright Infringement and how it affects everybody.
Some companies offer a free woodworking plan on their web site from time to time. It is offered to their customers and site visitors to build projects and to promote good will. The free offer does not extend to such situations that a person can take that free offer and compile it with other free offers and sell as a "package" or as a "service". U.S. copyright law clearly indicates that the copyright belongs to the creator of the image/product, from the moment the image or product was created. Even if you paid for the image or product, its not yours (read more).
In similar scenarios;
- An individual who acquires possession of a woodworking plan (document), whether given freely or made with payment (a sales's transaction), does not outright own that document.
- The copyright holder (designer of the plan) is only making available to the individual a copy of the document for personal use.
- The individual who takes possession of a copy of the document, does so for the purposes of building a woodworking project. Generally a person can build a project using the document's instructions and their permission of use of that document stops there. There are some designers who allow an individual to build several projects and sell them at craft fairs. We are working towards each designer to submit their copyright permissions. When available, those permissions will be made public on the product pages of our online store.
- If an individual wishes to build projects for sale (for example, at a craft show), permission should allways FIRST be obtained from the designer.
- Irregardless of how a person obtains a copy of the document, whether by payment, or for free, the customer is NOT allowed:
- to sell copies of that document, or,
- include a copy of that document in a product or service they are selling, or,
- make available or distribute by any means a copy, online or offline, in any format, under any type of media file transmission, a free copy version of that document.
November 18, 2008 - (revised from February 27, 2011) We are NOT affiliated in any way with sellers of CDs or DVDs featuring PDFs and web site links to hundreds or thousands of projects.
There are some people online that are selling cd's and dvd's (or any other media) that contain free woodworking plans and links to woodworking plans. The content contained within the product(s) that these people are selling is copyright protected and they are most likely selling without permission from the respective copyright holders. Copyright holders range from individuals, company's, corporate entities, educational and government institutions.
Some of the content on these products will direct you to plans on our web sites, and most of the plans are pay plans like those found in our online store. People who bought the cd's are expecting free plans so when they land at our web pages and see the plans cost money, they are mad. They express their anger onto us because they think we are the company who sold them the cd/dvd. They assume we are the seller because the web site links send them to our site. So we have to place this disclaimer on our Copyright Policy page to prevent "guilty by association" which many people automatically assume.
We simply do not have the financial resources to go after the hundreds of people who are selling these cds/dvds and torrents online. So we feel the best way to confront this issue is to educate the public using a highly visible link to this web page.
If you bought a cd or dvd that promotes "hundreds" or "thousands" of plans, then you most likely bought one of the products we are discussing here. You basically paid for information that is freely available online. This web site and our network of web sites, like www.FreeWoodworkingPlan.com lists much of the information and more, that is found on those cd's. The difference is we work with the web sites who offer the free information by promoting their information free of charge. We do not, and never will, charge for accessing this free information. And just as important, we maintain and update our information daily.
There is not one company we know of, and we know a lot of people and companies in the industry, that offers such a product like a cd or download with hundreds (or thousands) of free woodworking plans. Its simply not cost effective.
In all the cases we have seen so far, people who are selling cd's or dvd's featuring all sorts of free information have this typical format: the product contains html pages or PDF's of free plans they found online, and a list of links where to find other plans (free or fee). We know one in particular that lists thousands of our web site links. So, if you get the product and see some of the links that point to WoodworkersWorkshop® then you bought a product that is first, illegal, and second, bought from a person who is infringing on copyright. We have not authorized any individual or company to issue a product that contains our links.
As we recommend to anybody who may have fallen victim to purchasing such product, we recommend you report this person to your Better Business Bureau, local authorities, your credit card company. And while on the phone with your credit card company, ask for your money back. If you bought it on:
- eBay, file a report with eBay about the seller selling a product that infringes on copyright.
- the PayPal.com's payment service, file a claim with PayPal.
- Google Checkout, file a claim with Google.
- the Clickbank system, you could try to file a claim however that company is not known for being very helpfull in such matters.
Most of these services offer links to reporting fraudulent activity through the use of their credit card processing systems. Its the only way to stop copyright infringement.
If you have knowingly purchased these products, or promote the sale of these products, you are contributing to the problem.
One final note, tell all your friends and contacts to avoid such products online.
If you are interested in learning how to investigate the copyright status of a work, the US government offers this document. Also, the university of Pennsylvania offers: How Can I Tell Whether a Copyright Was Renewed?.
This list has been compiled over time and is being posted here today February 27, 2011 so that you as the reader can see the impact that copyright infringement has. The following companies and individuals have been victims of these fraudulent activities. To date, products from the following companies and individuals have been found on these CD/download products:
- Ace Hardware
- American Woodshop
- American Woodworker Magazine
- Arch Chemicals
- Area Guides
- August Home Publishing
- Back Wood Home Magazine
- Black and Decker
- Blueprints for the Handyman
- Bob Cosman
- CabinsandSheds web site
- Canadian HomeWorkshop Magazine
- Christopher Swingley
- Colorado CICC
- Doug Carson
- Ducks Unlimited Canada
- EasyWoodPlans.com (Meredith Corporation)
- Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
- Fine Home Building Magazine
- Fine Woodworking Magazine
- Fox Chapel Publishing
- Gabe Burnett
- Garden Gate Magazine (August Home Publishing)
- Garden Life Magazine (no longer in print)
- Glen Walling
- Harry Hawkings
- J.G. Oddy
- Ken Eubanks
- L&R Designs
- Lowes Home Improvement
- Mark M. Lambert
- Matthias Wandel
- MD Erickson
- Mechanix Illustrated
- Michael Martin
- Missouri Dept of Conservation
- Mr. Wizard - Dale Austin
- MWPS: Midwest Plan Service - United States Dept of Agriculture
- NapaValley (personal web site)
- Ontario Barn
- Paul Sawyers
- Penninsula Woodworkers Guild
- Pinewood Derby Supersite
- PlansNow.com (August Home Publishing)
- Popular Mechanics (Hearst Publications)
- Popular Woodworking Magazine
- R.C. Bell
- Rob Stone
- Science and Mechanics Magazine
- Southern Pine Products Association
- ST Custom Toys
- Stanley Tools
- Sundance Supply web site
- Sunset Magazine
- Taunton Press
- Time Life Magazine - Art of Woodworking series
- Tom Riley
- ToolGirl.com (AnythingICanDo.com)
- U-Bild / Ryobi
- United States Department of Agriculture Bureau of Agricultural Engineering
- United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service
- United States Department of Defence
- United States Environmental Protection Agency web site
- United States Kansas State Agricultural College
- United States Oklahoma State Cooperative Extension Services
- United States Oregon State City of Wilsonville
- United States University of Connecticut web site
- United States University of Maryland web site
- United States University of Mississippi web site
- United States University of North Carolina Cooperative Extension Services
- United States University of North Dakota web site, North Dakota Agricultural College
- United States University of Tennessee web site
- United States University of Virginia
- University of Regina Faculty of Engineering
- USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
- Walt Akers
- Weekend Woodcrafts magazine
- William T. Huffstetler
- WOOD Magazine (Meredith Corporation)
- WoodShop Notebook
- Woodsmith Magazine (August Home Publishing)
- Woodworkers Journal Magazine (Rockler Corp.)
- Woodworkers Workshop® web site (that's us)
- Workbench Magazine (August Home Publishing)
For individuals and companies that are suffering from copyright loss, I will list resources and methods to report violators below. Choose one or all methods that are appropriate to your situation.
If you agree or disagree with our efforts to educate the public on copyright infringement and would like to add your unedited comments below, please feel free to email Jim Barry or send him a Tweet.
- November 15, 2015, Jonas Zahn - President, NorthwoodsCaskets Jim, thank you for this article. I found this article after learning my free woodworking plans for casket were pirated and made part of Ted's ... collection. Feel free to add my name/company to your list. I may pursue copywright infringement after hearing from my attorney. cheers, web: http://www.NorthwoodsCasket.com/ | facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NorthwoodsCasket
- December 28, 2008, Les Kenny - Auckland, New Zealand writes:
I have had contact with Jim for a number of years. I am pleased to see that he is making an effort to curb copyright theft and I support everything that Jim is doing. I have a website where I publish (for free) a lot of my own woodworking plans and it is not uncommon to find them being sold on Ebay or such places either separately (by unauthorized people) or bundled with other peoples plans. I also get reports on a weekly basis of other websites copying (stealing) my material. The fight to stop it is neverending but I think that it is important to try to do something and not just throw it in the 'to hard' basket. I agree with other comments, we all need to pitch in and "do the right thing".
- November 18, 2008, Don Firth - Toronto, Canada writes:
A few years ago, I had a regular vistor to my site tell me he had found a similar DVD with a pile of my projects on it. He gave me the address/URL where he saw it. I went there and threatened, legal action etc. etc. The guy wrote back saying how sorry he was. And you see, "He had bought this collection from another guy and thought that guy owned it all and blah bah blah". He said he would remove my projects from his master disc. Yeah sure. . . . . An internet savvy friend told me if you're gonna take any legal action against this type of thing, you better be long on patience, time to waste, extreme effort & perseverance. Also you'll need a lot of cash and with the lack of international legal precidents (YIKES) it's a crapshoot at best. I felt it wasn't worth the effort and so I never did anything more about it.
Don Firth - Toronto, Canada
- November 18, 2008, Vicki H. in Maryland, USA writes:
We all (woodworkers) need to pitch in and "do the right thing" by only using copyrighted plans we paid for or legitimate free plans offered on various web sites. There is no need to be greedy and try to get something for nothing as there is plenty of free help, assistance and plans to be had on the web legally. Sincerely, Vicki H. in Maryland, USA