[Discuss] lawyers confirm that lawyering open source hardware is hard

Matt Maier blueback09 at gmail.com
Tue May 20 12:53:02 UTC 2014

One of the things that seems to best define "open source hardware" is that
its name is taken from a parallel motivation to open source software,
rather than from an actual licensing framework.

Using copyright to control what happens with software is relatively
straight forward once people agree on standardized clauses. There is
nothing in the legal world that does the same thing for hardware.

We've been saying that in the open source hardware community for a while
(probably forever) but now it's been confirmed by real, live lawyers.


*"Drafting and using open licenses for data and hardware presents both
familiar old challenges (like license proliferation) and new challenges
(like less developed legal frameworks and different production models).
About thirty people working in these areas recently gathered (under the
umbrella of the FSF-E's "European Legal Network"
<http://fsfe.org/activities/ftf/network.en.html>) to discuss the latest
work in these areas under the Chatham House Rules

*" In hardware, one of my key takeaways from the event is that there are so
many different things going on—different technologies, different
motivations for creation—on that these instincts to simplify and unify may
lead us astray. We don't want to try to fit round mechanical pegs into
square chip design holes, for example"*
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