[Discuss] discuss Digest, Vol 9, Issue 15

Nathan Seidle nathan at sparkfun.com
Fri Mar 1 05:21:34 UTC 2013

Hi Devlin - (good to hear from you! It's been a long time!) To speak to the
FCC problem and to use Marco Perry's words from the open hardware summit:
'those are business problems' and not a valid OSHW 'what if...' Someone
copying an FCC ID is the same for both open and closed designs. FCC IDs are
assigned to the specific applicant. Copying an ID is an offense no matter
the type of open/closed widget.

To Everyone - Let's try to stay away from brainstorming all the ways a
product could get us sued/arrested/killed. If we don't, we will never leave
the house. As a community we should balance (as intelligently as we can)
the risk of bad things happening against the good that will come from
sharing and learning from OSHW.

I am enthralled by this discussion but what should come of it? Topics to
add to the FAQ? We need to consolidate the communities' feelings into one
place so that we do not repeat the same debates.

Nathan Seidle
CEO, SparkFun Electronics Inc
Boulder, CO
Phone : 1-303-284-0979
Fax : 1-303-443-0048

On Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 6:38 PM, Marco Perry <mperry at pensanyc.com> wrote:

> A certification will not keep people from suing you for what ever they
> want. One lawyer told me that if I don't open source an invention correctly
> that people can sue me if they follow our BOM and instructions and hurt
> themselves building our thing. I was also afraid that our invention
> violated an existing patent, and open sourcing our invention would be also
> somehow make us liable to a patent suit. Couple those legal issues with all
> the worries around open sourcing (rip-offs, loss of business, scarring off
> investor, etc.), it makes it hard to open source.
> Knowing a trade organization is there to lend a helping hand - expertise,
> knowledge, best practices, relevant examples that I can follow, a source of
> expert witnesses if I do get sued, advocates, advisers and so forth would
> make me feel more comfortable to open sourcing.
> Without a cohesive trade org, everyone can define "open" as they wish, act
> on their best interests (not a community interest), and it's back to
> everyone for themselves.
> On Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 7:44 PM, Chris Church <
> thisdroneeatspeople at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Feb 28, 2013, at 5:12 PM, Tom Igoe wrote:
>> > 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.
>> >
>> Internally here, we call this an "Attribution Problem," and it's one that
>> no license can resolve.  It's a liability that may be defensible in court,
>> but the primary damage is done long before court comes to be. When you have
>> a clone of a well-known (within the specific market) product, the customer
>> tends to attribute any failings of the clone with the original.
>> What I've often heard in OSHW discussions is that a license which doesn't
>> allow commercial cloning of the product would prevent that product from
>> being "fully open-source," which seems to leave anyone selling retail
>> products (I don't mean PCBs to hackers) fully exposed to the attribution
>> problem.  I'd sleep a lot better at night if there were an inverse of
>> CC-BY-ND, like CC-BY-SA-DO (Derivatives Only) and share absolutely
>> everything if it were to be.
>> Chris
>> _______________________________________________
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> --
> marco perry . principal, pensa
> 20 jay st., suite 800, brooklyn, ny 11201
> p 718-855-5354 .  blog.pensanyc.com <http://www.pensanyc.com/>  .
> www.pensanyc.com . @thinkpensa
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