I recently got at email from a retired public school woodworking teacher (30 years!) who had a wealth of information he'd been using in his classroom from magazines and books he'd scanned in. Most of these dated back to the 30's. The gentleman really sounded like a teacher I'd want to learn from. All that information he'd scanned in for educational use was perfectly legal. You see a teacher is allowed to create a 'classroom set' of material of copyrighted material if it's used for academic purposes. But only a single classroom set. And obviously to create a classroom set he'd of had to scan in and create files to print out. Once again, scanning an article for your personal use is not illegal as long as you also acquired the original legally. Backing up what you own is not illegal. But this gentleman was inquiring if I could help him somehow share all these files he'd acquired. I didn't get any impression he wanted to make money or profit from this endeavor in any manor. I believe he just wanted people to continue to benefit from the 30 years of work he put into teaching. Completely well meaning intent.

I believe there a lots of people out there with well meaning intents. But I wanted to share my response to this gentleman with you because I strongly believe the protection content creators deserve, and laws created to enforce them, are being completely ignored. To the detriment of all for if content creators don't have the opportunities to benefit from their work then they'll have no choice but to cull back or quit simply because they've got to eat.

So here was my response to this well meaning, nice gentleman.


Hello Mr. X,

Thanks for reaching out and congratulations on the 30 years as a woodworking shop teacher. I wish that was an option for me but times are a changing.

I'm afraid I can't advise you on what to do with all that scanned information you've accumulated even though there is a possibility it could benefit people. What you're asking is actually quite illegal, at least until 99 years after the person who wrote the article, or their aire, is dead. Since you mentioned many are from the 30's it's doubtful any would qualify under copyright law. That’s true even if you don't plan on making money from the republishing because it's opportunity loss for the works owner. And I'm sure someone out there is trying to figure out a way to monetize all the information from those old magazines they have the rights to as we speak.

There are people that reprint 'plans' from other sources online, companies such as Ted's Woodworking with 16,000 plans. But those are generally run as scams thru a multitude of corporate shell games to get the money out of other countries.

I'm sorry I can't advise you further but I've got a little skin in on this game. You see a lot of my material online gets repurposed by individuals without my permission so they can sell advertisements. You see this on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, etc... they just copy it, and republish it with their own ads. Takes em all of a minute or two to get an income stream that'll serve them for years. And many times they'll get advertisers that pay the most money so they have no problem selling ads on a video targeting teen education selling adult material.

In my mind these 'repurpessers' are taking the money I need to subsidize the school, teach and live.

So I hope you understand that I don't want to encourage you deny someone the opportunity to rightfully earn a living from their copyrighted material much less commit a felony.

Again, thanks for reaching out. I hope you'll look thru the catalog of information we're continually putting out there to educate the next generation of woodworkers.

Shawn Graham Teacher at wortheffort woodworking school in Austin Texas

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