Open Source Woodworking

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    I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Could what Paul is doing with the many hours of free content available on You Tube plus the paid instruction in his schools and Woodworking Master-classes on-line be considered a type of Open Source or maybe Shareware?

    David R.

    To me, open source in a larger sense suggests a kind of plan (source) to create something (a program, a piece of furniture). So Greg’s free plans he shares with us would fall into this category. For the free videos a relation to a non explicitly stated creative commons license would be more appropriate IMHO.


    from Germany


    Kevin to honest I don’t fully understand the meaning of your post. I am curious to where it is leading to though. 🙂

    John Purser


    I get your meaning but I think you’re talking about a related idea:

    Ubuntu (/uːˈbʊntuː/ oo-BUUN-too; Zulu/Xhosa pronunciation: [ùɓúntʼú]) is a Nguni Bantu term (literally, “human-ness”) roughly translating to “human kindness.” It is an idea from the Southern African region which means literally “human-ness,” and is often translated as “humanity towards others,” but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.

    Much of the content on the woodworking masterclass site is DEFINITELY and LEGALLY not “open source” which includes the right to freely share intellectual content.

    There is however a strong attitude of sharing and openness in the community sense is prevalant here.

    John Purser
    Hubert, NC


    John stated the position correctly.
    To expand; The U-TUBE videos are probably up for fair use generally, The Masterclass videos are DEFINATELY NOT. The popup which shows up when you click on the Download is very clear about the restrictions.
    Think Copyright Laws.

    SW Pennsylvania


    Craig said what I was thinking when first reading Kevin’s post. John covered some pretty neat stuff too. I’m positive though that the videos from this site are not considered shareware. Like Craig said, there is a notification on all of the videos that state they can not be shared outside of your family and your home.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein

    Greg Merritt

    Kevin…maybe you should simply state your intentions. Better yet, message Joseph directly.

    My take is…the YouTube videos are free for the public to view. All of the Masterclass videos are for paying members only, unless posted otherwise.

    I feel it is our responsibility as community members to respect how Paul and Joseph choose to make the content available.

    Again, message them directly for clarification.

    Joseph Sellers

    Hi everyone,

    Interesting topic. I am pleased that several of you have a feeling that we aren’t just the same as everyone else in regards to the use of content we create. At this point it may be a misunderstanding. With regard to the contents of this site we reserve all the rights a normal publishing company would. It is commercial content that we own and use commercially.

    With regards to the YouTube videos it isn’t something we ever really thought about. We started posting videos there entirely to help people to learn woodworking. It has grown but I like to think that is still the case but we aren’t going to specifically change the licensing of that content without a lot of thought/legal advice.

    Having said all of that, I really like the idea of some aspects of our future content being free to distribute and I may ask for some community opinion on that in the future. I am not entirely sure that ‘open source’, as I understand it, would be the correct licensing attribution. I believe open sourcing content would allow others to use it for a commercial purpose and while I love the concept in regards to community built projects I am not sure that would be appropriate for videos of Paul’s teaching. Perhaps a licence for non-commercial distribution would be more appropriate. I think this would be especially appropriate for videos of age-old techniques that have been passed down through generations of woodworkers. It would be nice to preserve them in a way that makes them free for others to share. We aren’t ready to work on this yet but it is worth thinking about.

    Thanks for bringing it up. Hopefully we can discuss this more fully in the future.

    If anyone has specific and/or professional knowledge of Creative Commons licensing and wouldn’t mind helping us to work on this when we are ready I would appreciate it if you would get in touch.

    Peter George

    Leaving aside the licensing considerations, I see a strong hacker (in the original sense of the word) vibe to the way Paul approaches woodworking.

    That may be what Kevin is getting at.

    Peter in
    Biggar SK
    "New York is big, but this is Biggar"


    Very interesting comments, one and all. I understand the content on Woodworking Masterclasses is copyright protected. I would never share said content with anyone outside this community. Thank you Mr. Purser for the explanation of the word Ubuntu which I have been meaning to look up for a while now. I was thinking what is offered here is in some ways similar to the Ubuntu distribution of the Linux operating system whre the OS is free to download and use but any support from Canonical Ltd., the company responsible for the distribution, must be paid for. That’s what I was thinking when I wrote the post. So, no I don’t think I got it right. What pjgeorge said might be more along the lines I was thinking of. I think it’s great that the videos are on YouTube. If my membership here helps to keep the free content flowing so much the better. The most important reason I could think of to join this site is that after taking one class in NY from Paul, buying all of the videos and the book, following the videos online I wanted some way to support Paul’s work with dollars not just good wishes on a blog somewhere.

    Keith Wyles

    Open Source means that you are free to modify the code as long as you share it for free. So that would mean that you could take Paul’s videos, edit them and reshare them. Not sure it would be useful?

    Andres B

    Well, this is an old post, but something here tickled my fancy.

    My take on what Kevin referred to on the original post, “Open Source Woodworking” IS what Paul Sellers does. By openly teaching the technique, plus sharing the step by step process to building a bench/chest/chair, he is saying “here’s the source of this chair, if you follow these 58 steps, you can make your own.”

    The content licensing and wherever the thread went to after the first post, are secondary to the concept of making useful stuff and sharing it to enable others to learn and build on. That’s the spirit of Open Source. Copyright is a separate, ugly, restrictive, outdated beast.


    “Copyright is a separate, ugly, restrictive, outdated beast.”
    The owners and lawyers don’t think so.
    Careful with this.

    SW Pennsylvania

    Keith Wyles

    If there is no incoe stream, then there will be a lot less sharing and everyone looses. Paul makes money from copyright material but shares other content. Mainly tools and techniques shared and projects need to be paid for.

    I forget who said it, but a long time ago now, that sharing things on the Internet for free was a good ay of publicing paid for content. Both are needed. Paul is altruistic, but also needs to make an income.

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