[Discuss] OSHW Best Practices / Layers of Openness

Michael Shiloh michaelshiloh1010 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 1 01:24:20 UTC 2013

Maybe what this says is that part of our long-term mission might need to 
be educating lawyers and legislators and working with them to make the 
laws make sense.

I guess this is called lobbying.

OSS and OSHW are pretty revolutionary concepts. It stands to reason that 
they might require a re-thinking of some ways of doing business that 
made sense in the closed world but not in the open world.

On 02/28/2013 03:12 PM, Tom Igoe wrote:
> 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?
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