open-source toys

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i’ve classified the goodwood deconstruction blocks series as “open-source toys” in the past.  i’ve assigned them a creative commons license “attribution; share-alike” (CC-BY-SA).  in plain language this means that anyone can use or modify the designs for themselves.. all they need to do is attribute the design to aroundsquare, and provide the same license for all derivative works.. they can make and sell the blocks, and they can come up with modifications or new version of the blocks..

my intention in doing this was to put the designs out there with hopes that they may do good for somebody.  ideas are free after all.. it isn’t costing me anything.  there is always a risk that i’ll get ripped off by some profit-driven toy company, but i’m not really concerned about that.  it would be much more of a shame for an idea which may do some good to languish.. and if some big company wants to rip me off, well, then, it still gets the toys out there, and i think the toys are beneficial in themselves.. so bring it on.

but my real hope, is that the designs can be used by wood workers here or there to make a little money for their families and bring a little work to their communities.  i always feel a little disappointed when i go into fair trade stores because so much of the stuff being sold there is so generic, especially the toys.  it leaves people who buy the stuff feeling like they are doing charity work, rather than getting a great product.  the goodwood designs are intentionally easy to manufacture.  they can be made without sophisticated equipment or setup.  the designs are free for the taking, and for full specifications, just write to matt (

this site provides a nice overview of some of what's happening in the field of free cultural works, and the different kinds of licenses available.  the idea of open-source has yet to gain much traction in the field of industrial design, and so the idea of open-source toys and the application of a cc license may be pushing the boundaries a little bit, but that's all part of the shift towards the new economy.