[Discuss] Is CC BY-NC-SA not Open Source Hardware?
David A. Mellis
dmellis at gmail.com
Sun Apr 13 18:17:13 UTC 2014
BTW, there are some relevant questions and answers on the OSHW FAQ on the OSHWA site: http://www.oshwa.org/faq/. Let me know if you have any suggestions.
What license should I use?
In general, there are two broad classes of open-source licenses: copyleft and permissive. Copyleft licenses (sometimes referred to as “viral”) are those which require derivative works to be released under the same license as the original; common copyleft licenses include the GNU General Public License (GPL) and the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. Other copyleft licenses have been specifically designed for hardware; they include the CERN Open Hardware License (OHL) and the TAPR Open Hardware License (OHL). Permissive licenses are those which allow for proprietary (closed) derivatives; they include the FreeBSD license, the MIT license, and the Creative Commons Attribution license.Licenses that prevent commercial use are not compatible with open-source; see this question for more.
Please note that the open-source hardware definition is not a license, although it does describe some of the license terms which are compatible with the practice of open-source hardware.
In choosing a license, you should first want to decide whether or not you want to require people to open-source derivatives they make of your design. If so, pick a copyleft license; if not, a permissive license. Beyond that, the differences between licenses can be subtle, you may want to talk to a lawyer or someone with experience in open-source to help you pick one. The folks at openhardware.org are in the process of recommending licenses for open-hardware.
Why aren’t non-commercial restrictions compatible with open source hardware?
There are a few reasons.
If you place a non-commercial restriction on your hardware design, other people don’t have the same freedom to use the design in the ways that you can. That means, for example, that if you and someone else both release designs with non-commercial licenses, neither of you can make and sell hardware that builds on both of your designs. Rather than contributing to a commons of hardware designs for everyone to build on, you’re limiting others to a very narrow range of possible uses for your design.
In particular, because making hardware invariably involves money, it’s very difficult to make use of a hardware design without involving some commercial activity. For example, say a group of friends wanted to get together and order ten copies of a hardware design – something that’s often much cheaper than each person ordering their own copy. If one person places the order and the others pay him back for their share, they’d probably be violating a non-commercial restriction. Or say someone wants to charge people to take a workshop in which they make and keep a copy of your hardware design – that’s also commercial activity. In general, there are just very few ways for someone to use a hardware design without involving some sort of commercial activity.
On Apr 12, 2014, at 3:50 AM, Drew Fustini <pdp7pdp7 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks all for the comments. The feedback has helped me to better understand the situation.
> On Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM, Billy Meinke <billy.meinke at gmail.com> wrote:
> There surely is a spectrum of openness when it comes to copyright, and
> the six CC licenses are no exception. It might be good to refer to the
> open definition:
> > A piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike.
> source: http://opendefinition.org/
> Of the CC licenses, CC BY and CC BY-SA (share-alike) are the only ones
> that would place a piece of content inside of the open definition.
> Re: marking, it's always better be clear about which license (not just
> an open/CC license) is being applied to the work, in a way that is
> human-and-machine readable. Doing any less would lead to further
> confusion around reuse rights, for sure.
> On Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 9:22 AM, Mike Dupont
> <jamesmikedupont at googlemail.com> wrote:
> > according to the recent ruling in germany, NC is only private usage. You
> > cannot even use it in public.
> > https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140326/11405526695/german-court-says-creative-commons-non-commercial-licenses-must-be-purely-personal-use.shtml
> > On Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 3:15 AM, Andrew Back <andrew at carrierdetect.com>
> > wrote:
> >> On 11 April 2014 09:08, Ben Gray <ben at phenoptix.com> wrote:
> >> >I'm of the opinion that it serves best those who don't respect such
> >> > licenses and punishes those who do.
> >> An excellent point -- NC is something of an "own goal".
> >> Cheers,
> >> Andrew
> >> --
> >> Andrew Back
> >> http://carrierdetect.com
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> > --
> > James Michael DuPont
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> Billy Meinke, MEd
> @billymeinke / web
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