As some of you may know, Fine Woodworking and PBS are now showing a new Rough Cut with host Tom McLaughlin.
It's showing locally here in the SF Bay Area but not yet on the premium PBS channel.
I saw one show an have another recorded which I expect to watch today or tomorrow.
I enjoyed the previous version of the show but can see that this one is not only different in scope but of a high level of craftsmanship. No dog houses will be built here.
What to you all think?
WGBH-TV is sued by woodworking show host Tommy Mac
By Emily Sweeney Globe Staff April 27, 2018
Thomas J. MacDonald, who goes by the nickname "Tommy Mac," spent
years filming himself while he built fine furniture. He posted the
videos online for his weekly webcast, "The Rough Cut Show," and
developed such a following that WGBH-TV eventually picked up the
MacDonald went on to host "Rough Cut: Woodworking With Tommy Mac,"
for seven seasons on WGBH, and after the last season ended in
December 2016, he thought the series was over.
But it wasn’t. Last fall, MacDonald was surprised to find out that
WGBH was promoting Season 8 of "Rough Cut," with a new host named Tom
MacDonald is now suing WGBH for trademark infringement.
After not renewing his contract, WGBH partnered with Fine Woodworking
magazine and changed the name of the show to "Rough Cut with Fine
Woodworking." In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court in
Boston, MacDonald alleges that WGBH pirated his name and image "to
produce a counterfeit show."
WGBH disagrees and says it owns all the trademarks related to the
"The claims in this case have no basis in fact," WGBH said in an
e-mailed statement. "Our agreement with Mr. MacDonald makes clear
that WGBH owns the series title and all other trademarks relating to
the series. WGBH has in no way suggested that Mr. MacDonald is
involved with our new production. We hope to be able to resolve this
The Fine Woodworking magazine website says, "WGBH has spent the last
seven years building the Rough Cut brand. The brand is synonymous
with the craft of fine woodworking."
"Tommy MacDonald has decided to branch out and pursue other
opportunities on his own," the website says. "WGBH and Tommy
MacDonald had seven great seasons working together on Rough Cut.
Rough Cut is the strongest woodworking brand on public television and
that brand continues on, with a new host."
According to the complaint, MacDonald worked as a carpenter until he
injured his shoulder in 1997. He then embarked on a new career in
cabinetry and woodworking and enrolled in the North Bennet Street
School in the North End, and went on to promote himself and his work
through online videos.
From 2006 to 2009, MacDonald produced a weekly, Web-based woodworking
show called "The Rough Cut Show," "which ultimately had over 2
million page views and hundreds of thousands of followers," the
complaint states. MacDonald filmed the show at his workshop in
Canton, and the episodes appeared on Bob Vila’s website
(www.BobVila.com) and on his own website, the complaint states.
MacDonald’s lawsuit alleges that WGBH, The Taunton Press, Inc. (the
company that publishes Fine Woodworking magazine), and Laurie
Donnelly, the executive producer of the series, "are infringing on
the trademarks, name, picture, and reputation" of MacDonald.
In the complaint, attorney John J. E. Markham II argues that under
the terms of MacDonald’s contract, WGBH was allowed to register a
trademark for the title of the show (‘Rough Cut: Woodworking with
Tommy Mac’) but should not have registered standalone trademarks for
"Rough Cut" or his nickname, "Tommy Mac."
Markham filed a motion for a preliminary injunction Friday alleging
that the defendants are "attempting to pirate" MacDonald’s "good
name, his reputation, and his trademarks."
The motion seeks to stop WGBH from promoting the new show as "Season
8" and from using photos of MacDonald and the phrases "Rough Cut" and
A memo filed in support of the motion states that "MacDonald has been
known since the early 2000s as ‘Tommy Mac’ of ‘Rough Cut,’ the latter
name being his longtime woodworking show. For many years, strangers
have approached him on the street and called out ‘Hey, you’re Rough
Cut!’ or ‘Hey, Tommy Mac!’?"
Markham said MacDonald is "very saddened" at the situation.
"Tommy MacDonald put his heart and soul into that show for seven
years," Markham said in a telephone interview. "He is very saddened
at what they’re doing, and he looks forward to having a quick court
Exactly. He's being a bit of a crybaby.
Good news is, maybe I'll be able to watch that show now that he's not on
I couldn't take more than 30 seconds of his annoying voice and
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
It's all about the Benjamins. I predict a fairly swift payout to T Mac
to make it go away.
WGBH: "We hope to be able to resolve this issue."
T-Mac's lawyer: "looks forward to having a quick court resolution."
On Friday, May 25, 2018 at 10:50:26 PM UTC-5, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I am in 100% agreement with you. Somewhere in the body of the contract tha
t is no doubt 2" thick between TM and the station, and more importantly sin
ce the producer is the station, there will be nomenclature similar to "WGBH
(hereinafter known in this document as "the station") shall retain complet
e and total ownership of all trademarks, copyrights, patents, devices, prot
ocols, methodology, inventions, or any other work developed, displayed or e
mployed by the TM for WGBH, the station, its affiliates, its associates, or
the production company. Further, the station retains ownership of all int
ellectual property, promotional material including, but not limited to, lik
enesses, slogans, promotional videos, accompanying music, theme music, tran
sitional video techniques, used in the show that are developed for the use
of the show at the request or expense of the production company while in pr
Think of 50 pages defining their view of intellectual property, or ideas an
d inventions that were discussed during the production of the show but neve
r realized. Still, in these cases, if you thought of it while you worked f
or the, your thoughts are their property.
I have read a lot about PBS and their development and production of shows.
They learned a lot from the people that owned "Barney", that insanely moro
nic purple dinosaur. PBS needed the money, and since they produced the sho
w and were the sole broadcasters of it, they sued for a share of the insane
profits that show made. PBS lost. They sued again, and lost again. The
people that created that purple dinosaur only allowed PBS to produce and br
oadcast the show. There were books, dolls, etc., and all manner of income
streams that were generated, and PBS saw nothing from it. ZERO.
The admin that ran PBS at the time released a statement after the second lo
ss in court that said the "Barney" business model would never again be used
by PBS. They would either own outright, or not produce. Broadcast, yes.
But if they were to go through the development, writing, producing, promot
ion and all the other tasks of bringing a show alive, it was to be theirs.
Check it out:
Hard to believe the federal government paid to have the show made and when
successful, the owners of the show kept ALL the money.
Betcha TM never read (or understood) the contract...
On 5/25/2018 10:50 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Agreed, Tommy probably wet his pants with the opportunity of being on a
nationwide TV show came up. WGBH saw this is one of thousands that they
have signed on and are well versed in crossing the t's and dotting the
I's long before they approached Tommy.
Sure but every employment contract I've signed has a clause saying
that whatever I do, they own. Usually, they try to say that
everything I've ever done belongs to them, too, but I don't worry
about such silliness.
On 5/27/2018 7:33 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
But those contracts didn't include owning you or your name or previous
work and value created ere employment or outside of the specifics
conveyed by the contract did they?
What, specifically was and was not covered in what could be considered
within and without the bounds of registering trademarks, use of name and
similar is totally unknonswt here; they want it all; he thinks he didn't
give it all away -- a judge will decide or they'll reach an out of court
settlement most likely. How big a settlement will be a clue as to just
how out of bounds they are altho, of course, likelihood will be it'll
one of those claimed of "no fault, settled to avoid costly litigation"
as the excuse to not have to 'fess up to being way out of bounds.
Some did, sure. They're unenforceable, though. Some wanted a list of
everything I'd done that I considered exempt from the contract (yeah,
that's going to happen).
It was stated as "intellectual property" - a pretty broad brush. In
this case, they picked up his show and had to have rights to the name.
It may be that the contract stated that they could use the name (it
would have to) but likely that they now owned the name.
Per the USPTO web site:
"ROUGH CUT WOODWORKING WITH TOMMY MAC" registered April 12 2011,
registrant WGBH, with Thomas MacDonald's consent to register on
record. "Woodworking" explicitly excluded from the trademark.
"Rough Cut" registered March 1, 2011, WGBH.
"Tommy Mac", first use in commerce 12/30/2010, filing date May 21,
2018, applicant Thomas J. MacDonald LLC.
Now, whether WGBH misrepresented the authorization to the USPTO is
another story, but it looks like he's trying to close the barndoor
after the horse has left.
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