[Discuss] Publish OSHW with CC0?

Wouter Tebbens wouter at freeknowledge.eu
Wed Nov 5 12:05:57 UTC 2014

I share with Tiberius the interest for a Copyleft condition, or "Share
Alike". This is the basis for the viral nature so often attributed to
the succesful expansion of Free Software such as licensed under the GPL
and other copyleft licenses.

But replicating copyleft in hardware is clearly much harder as Alicia
says. Copyright based licenses may apply to documentation, design files
etc, but do not prevent people to reuse that information in
non-free/-open hardware, as the hardware itself is not protected.

Andrew Katz concludes similarly in his article Towards a Functional
Licence for Open Hardware, [1], and goes on to propose a permissive
hardware licence.

There are a few open hardware licenses based on patents, that could do
the trick of copyleft. TAPR and the Defensive Patent Licence are the two
that I know of. But patents are costly, timeconsuming and complex, so
they don't solve our challenge very well.

Then there's OHANDA, which requires the four freedoms, applied to
hardware, and of which access to complete documentation is a
precondition. As OHANDA uses trademark law to provide its certification
with a URL to an online collection of design documentation, to a certain
extent this may work. But there is no legal way to stop somone from
making a derivative work without publishing it. Only they cannot use the
OHANDA trademark.

Are you aware of any better solution to protect the hardware commons in
this sense?

[1] http://www.ifosslr.org/ifosslr/article/view/69



On 10/30/2014 05:29 PM, Jeffrey Warren wrote:
> Just to clarify, if you consider "the catapult itself" to essentially be
> its functional use, Michael's point about patent vs. copyright is
> totally accurate. But there are many things which could be considered to
> be part of a hardware project which go beyond what is patentable (its
> functional use), and encompass things both which are covered by
> copyright (like schematics, or firmware) and sometimes things which are
> not protected under any intellectual property regime -- like things
> which cannot be protected by patent, such as a catapult, because they're
> too old and/or their patents have expired. 
> The CERN Open Hardware License, for example, does not mention patents at
> all, and relies on the necessity of transmitting copyrighted design
> files. But just like a piece of open source software could be
> reverse-engineered by examining it and understanding how it works, a
> piece of open source hardware could be copied directly as well. 
> Above all, the different licenses and approaches demonstrate that there
> are different legal perspectives on how airtight hardware licensing can
> be; just as there were when free software licensing began. 
> Jeff
> On Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 11:25 AM, alicia <amgibb at gmail.com
> <mailto:amgibb at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     Best example of a catapult yet. Especially the part about the skulls.
>     WTFPL looks pretty cool - not saying you made this claim, but to be
>     clear for everyone on the list - that will still only protect your
>     designs and does not apply to the hardware itself. 
>     Cheers
>     Alicia
>     On Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 8:42 AM, Tiberius Brastaviceanu
>     <tiberius.brastaviceanu at gmail.com
>     <mailto:tiberius.brastaviceanu at gmail.com>> wrote:
>         Interesting discussion, I learned something here. 
>         Within the www.sensorica.co <http://www.sensorica.co> network we
>         have chosen to share hardware designs with CC BY.
>         I think it depends on your goals. If the guy doesn't care about
>         what might happen with his hardware, I guess it's fine. I like
>         the spirit of WTFPL. 
>         I look at things from an economic perspective and I ask myself
>         how to stimulate economic development, which means to increase
>         the efficiency of processes like innovation, production,
>         distribution... I work around commons-based peer production and
>         I think that in order to stimulate innovation we need to let
>         others modify and remix our work, but in order for this to
>         function properly, we also need to put in place a feedback
>         mechanism. This is why I think it is important to be able to
>         find out who is using the design and what improvements others
>         have made on it. The share alike clause is also important,
>         because we don't want someone to modify or remix and close. We
>         want this new economy based on sharing to spread, therefore it
>         needs a viral aspect. 
>         So for me it's more than an individual thing. I do have a
>         mission and I want things to fall into place in a way that
>         encourage the emergence and development of commons-based peer
>         production. I want us, as a global society, to become more
>         effective and efficient. 
>         See more on the open value network model. 
>         http://valuenetwork.referata.com/wiki/Main_Page
>         On Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 8:42 AM, Mastro Gippo <gipmad at gmail.com
>         <mailto:gipmad at gmail.com>> wrote:
>             I released some of my projects under the WTFPL, check it out.
>             MG
>             On Oct 30, 2014 1:28 PM, "Michael Weinberg"
>             <mweinberg at publicknowledge.org
>             <mailto:mweinberg at publicknowledge.org>> wrote:
>                 I'll preface this by saying that I don't know the
>                 details of your friend's project so his mileage may vary
>                 and this is not legal advice.  However, a few high level
>                 points worth keeping in mind:
>                 - CC0 (and all CC licenses) are copyright licenses. 
>                 Copyright is a default-on type of protection, so some
>                 sort of dedication (like CC0) is necessary if you want
>                 your copyright-protected work to be in the public domain.
>                 - Copyright does not protect everything. Specifically
>                 (in this case), copyright does not protect functional
>                 objects.  Functional objects fall within the scope of
>                 patent.  Unlike copyright, patent is a default-off type
>                 of protection.  If you  make a functional object, it is
>                 in the public domain automatically unless you protect it
>                 with a patent.  You don't need to take any additional
>                 steps to put it into the public domain.
>                 - What does this mean?  If I make a catapult, any
>                 non-functional designs on the catapult (skulls and
>                 whatnot) are protected by copyright.  Probably so are my
>                 schematics for the catapult.  But the catapult itself is
>                 not protected by copyright and is default in the public
>                 domain.  Putting a  CC0 license on my schematic gives
>                 people the ability to copy the schematics freely, but
>                 has no impact on their ability to copy the catapult
>                 itself (because it is already in the public domain).
>                 -I don't know what "the public domain mark" is, but if
>                 it is only descriptive I don't know why it couldn't be
>                 applied equally to works that entered the public domain
>                 "naturally" (either because the copyright expired or
>                 because they were never protected by copyright/patent in
>                 the first place) or through some sort of dedication like
>                 CC0.
>                 On Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 3:41 AM, Antoine, as a contact
>                 of a free smallwindturbine project
>                 <smallwindturbineproj.contactor at gmail.com
>                 <mailto:smallwindturbineproj.contactor at gmail.com>> wrote:
>                     > to release an electronics device
>                     My understanding is: as your friend wants a tangible
>                     things and its
>                     upstream and downstream manufacturing chain to be
>                     into public domain
>                     (or equivalent), then, a CC licence can not really
>                     match.
>                     From my understanding, using a open licence
>                     specially designed for
>                     tangible things would be preferable: TAPR or CERN-OHL.
>                     Don't you think ?
>                     Freely,
>                     Antoine
>                     2014-10-30 6:13 UTC+01:00, Eric Thompson
>                     <eric at lowvoltagelabs.com
>                     <mailto:eric at lowvoltagelabs.com>>:
>                     > I don't recall exactly what he said during the
>                     interview but I seem to
>                     > remember that Ian from Dangerous Prototypes talked
>                     about this during an
>                     > interview on The Amp Hour podcast.
>                     >
>                     > If you look at the Bus Pirate documentation, it
>                     lists the PCB art and
>                     > Firmware as CC-0.
>                     > http://dangerousprototypes.com/docs/Bus_Pirate#License
>                     >
>                     > - Eric
>                     >
>                     >
>                     >
>                     > On Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 5:20 PM, Drew Fustini
>                     <pdp7pdp7 at gmail.com <mailto:pdp7pdp7 at gmail.com>> wrote:
>                     >
>                     >> Hi, a friend at my hackerspace here in Chicago
>                     wants to release an
>                     >> electronics device he's designed as OSHW.  It is
>                     a pure analog system
>                     >> with no firmware.
>                     >>
>                     >> He doesn't care about attribution, commercial
>                     use, derivatives or
>                     >> copyleft restrictions.   He said he basically
>                     wants to make the design
>                     >> public domain.  My understanding is that Creative
>                     Commons CC0 is
>                     >> preferable to public domain.
>                     >>
>                     >> Anyone have thoughts on releasing hardware
>                     designs as CC0?
>                     >> Is there are better option given he doesn't want
>                     to reserve any rights?
>                     >>
>                     >> thanks!
>                     >> drew
>                     >> http://keybase.io/pdp7
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>         -- 
>         t!b! <http://www.google.com/profiles/tiberius.brastaviceanu> 
>         co-founder of SENSORICA <http://www.sensorica.co>, 
>         an open, decentralized and self-organizing
>         value network (an open enterprise)
>         founder of Multitude Project
>         <https://sites.google.com/site/multitude2008/>
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