Unoriginal creation - moral dilemma?

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Forum topic by Synon posted 09-25-2011 06:50 AM 1425 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 2460 days

09-25-2011 06:50 AM

I’m still a very green woodworker and have never sold any creations for money. I enjoy making some of the small clever puzzles that I’ve seen designs for online or instructions on youtube. It just struck me this morning that some of the local shops we have here might be interested in having something like that in their shops on consignment (or however that usually works). Would it be illegal or wrong to make some of these puzzles to sell locally? What do you all think?

5 replies so far

View Servelan's profile


39 posts in 2776 days

#1 posted 09-25-2011 01:15 PM

You need to look at the specific terms of use to determine whether or not you can legally use the designs you find.

If someone posts something online for use and says personal use only, you can’t legally reproduce it for sale. If they say you can’t sell the design or pattern itself but can use the pattern to make things for sale, you’re ok, usually, within any limitations the creator may have set.

If you can’t find the terms of use, contact the poster/author; if you can’t get a hold of them, err on the side of caution and don’t use the pattern to make things for sale.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4214 days

#2 posted 09-25-2011 03:31 PM

It’s hard to say without knowing the specifics, but you are probably fine. It depends on how unique the design is and how exactly you are copying it. No one can really claim ownership of a basic design. But if there is something really unusual and original about these puzzles, and you are copying them exactly to sell them, that wouldn’t be right.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2981 days

#3 posted 09-25-2011 04:04 PM

Your best bet is likely a plan that you can buy to re-make for sale. But let’s assume you find a plan that allows you to either do whatever you want with them, or explicitly allows you to sell the wood items made from them.

I don’t see the moral dilemma. Look at a lot of other woodworking items that are for sale- and get sold often. A box is not an original concept, nor is a picture frame. And these are really common items. There’s nothing wrong with that. Not everything has to be bleeding edge, brand new idea. Sometimes they can just be well made and that’s good. :)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Synon's profile


9 posts in 2460 days

#4 posted 09-27-2011 04:59 AM

Thanks for the feedback!

Here is an example of a puzzle I was thinking of:

I’ve seen several sites that sell this particular puzzle, all basically the same idea but a slightly different look to it.

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3336 days

#5 posted 09-28-2011 06:32 PM

the way i see it

if someone posts what is basically a tutorial
then i assume it to be free
to do what you want with it

if they don’t specify
or leave out key secrets

then it is them showing their work

if the work is totally new and unique
and the poster doesn’t specify it’s privacy
then it is yours to use as you see fit

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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