[Discuss] discuss Digest, Vol 9, Issue 15

Tom Igoe t.igoe at arduino.cc
Thu Feb 28 23:12:07 UTC 2013

I'm trying not to name names, to honor private conversations, so bear with me please. And these are my understandings of what I have been told, relayed second hand.

The folks I'm thinking of (3 cases) make toys or puzzle-like things for kids, and espouse open source ideals pretty heavily. But they've also found that if they open source their mechanical designs, they face much higher liability insurance premiums than if they do not.   They have to have Consumer Product Safety Commission approval, and they run afoul of that if someone comes to them and says "My kid swallowed a part made with your design". With the manufacturing in-house, they can ensure quality control, and with the designs closed, they can't be told that they bear liability for someone else's works.

I know there are a few flaws in that logic, but I suspect it's not uncommon logic that well-meaning businesses have. This is where I see both good licenses (to clearly limit liability), and good education around those licenses (to counter the logic) as key. Social norms just don't cover this kind of thing.

On Feb 28, 2013, at 5:55 PM, malcolm stanley <a.malcolm.stanley at gmail.com> wrote:

> when you say
>       "I've spoken to multiple companies who've told me they can't afford to do open products due to the cost of liability. How do you answer those?".
> Can't address the concerns until they are at least quantified.
> Can you clarify the liabilities of concern? Are they IP issues? Safety issues? or issues of another nature?

More information about the discuss mailing list