[Discuss] Is CC BY-NC-SA not Open Source Hardware?

Andrew Back andrew at carrierdetect.com
Fri Apr 11 07:12:02 UTC 2014

On 11 April 2014 07:04, Windell H. Oskay <windell at oskay.net> wrote:
> On Apr 10, 2014, at 10:38 PM, Drew Fustini <pdp7pdp7 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi - I'd like to get the opinion of the list.  I recently came to realize that PrintrBot design files are licensed under CC BY-SA-NC (Non-Commercial).  For example: http://printrbot.com/2014/03/17/printrbot-jr-v2-files-are-available-non-commercial/
>> This seems to disqualify it from being Open Source Hardware per the OSHWA definition:
>> http://www.oshwa.org/definition/
>> "Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design."
>> The best practices go on to state:
>> http://www.oshwa.org/sharing-best-practices/
>> "Note that the definition of open-source hardware specifies that you must allow modification and commercial re-use of your design, so avoid licenses with a no-derivatives or non-commercial clause."
>> It would seem based on this that I shouldn't refer to Printrbot as Open Source Hardware.  Is it best to just describe it as CC BY-SA-NC?
> Hi Drew,
> Yes, that's correct.  If they're using an "NC" license, they don't also get to advertise it as OSHW.  For simplicity, it's usually fine to refer to things like this as "released under a creative commons license."

I'd probably extend that to "released under a creative commons
non-commercial license", just for added clarity.

I'm sure Printrbot have the best intentions and it's arguable that -NC
is better than all out proprietary, but the fact that nobody can say
what non-commercial actually means with any certainty, suggests to me
that it's little better than getting schematics supplied with your
radio or whatever -- as was often the case many years ago -- for the
sole purposes of servicing.



Andrew Back

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