[Discuss] Publish OSHW with CC0?

Roy Nielsen amrset at gmail.com
Wed Nov 5 14:37:22 UTC 2014


Since the laws in the US recently changed from "first to invent" to "first
to patent" - would that affect the conversation?  Someone putting something
in the open domain - then some company deciding to patent it via "first to
patent"?  I believe most of the world's patent law is on "first to patent"
status.  If something is in the open domain - is that sufficient to prove
prior art?  I am not a lawyer, so I don't know the answer.

Also, if hardware design is in the open domain - how do we get companies to
give back to the process?

I agree that if lobbying and lawmaking goes awry, it could be bad for open
hardware - therefore, the people leading the charge would have to really be
in touch with what is needed to protect open hardware rights.


On Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 7:22 AM, Michael Weinberg <
mweinberg at publicknowledge.org> wrote:

> I'd advocate against creating new IP laws around open source hardware. A
> lot of the copyleft stuff was developed to deal with the problem that
> copyrightable things (like programs) are automatically protected by
> copyright as soon as they are created. Therefore they need to be licensed
> in order for anyone else to make use of them.  Most hardware is in the
> opposite position - it is in the public domain by default unless someone
> goes out of their way to protect it.  While there is work/thinking to be
> done about ways to import virality into open source hardware, it would be a
> shame (to me) if a legacy of open source hardware was to expand IP laws.
> This is doubly true if you assume that any attempt to expand IP law for
> "good" open source reasons would end up creating "bad" restrictions used by
> other actors as well.
> On Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 8:30 AM, Roy Nielsen <amrset at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hello,
>> Maybe it's time for a group of people to go to lawmakers to create
>> copyleft law(s) that balance out the closed nature of patent law.  Or work
>> on changing patent law to have copyleft provisions.
>> Do you think companies will give more respect to copyleft patent law
>> rather than copyleft design documents?
>> Regards,
>> -Roy
>> On Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 5:31 AM, Javier Serrano <Javier.Serrano at cern.ch>
>> wrote:
>>> On 11/05/2014 01:05 PM, Wouter Tebbens wrote:
>>> > 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.
>>> This is exactly the same in free software. I can take ideas from the
>>> source code of emacs and write my own proprietary editor. Because the
>>> task for writing an editor from scratch is not trivial, I will think
>>> twice and probably decide to contribute whatever new feature I want to
>>> emacs itself. The power of copyleft grows with the complexity of the
>>> sources it protects, and is nearly zero for trivial work. The same
>>> happens with hardware. While hardware is definitely different from
>>> software, I think there is a large family of hardware (that manufactured
>>> from copyrightable design files) where this difference is not so big.
>>> There is (at least) one respect in which the non-copyrightability of
>>> hardware leads to an undesirable outcome, and that is our inability to
>>> fully guarantee that, under all circumstances, should the original
>>> designer wish so, recipients of open hardware always get access to the
>>> design files. Copyleft does that for software: if you get the binary you
>>> can always have access to the sources. We did our best in CERN OHL v1.2
>>> using the concept of "Documentation Location Notice", inspired by Eli
>>> Greenbaum's paper on 3D-printing [1], but I am very interested in any
>>> other ways of tackling this important problem, hopefully not involving
>>> patents.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Javier
>>> [1]
>>> http://jipel.law.nyu.edu/2013/04/three-dimensional-printing-and-open-source-hardware/
>>> _______________________________________________
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> --
> Michael Weinberg, Vice President, PK Thinks
> 202-861-0020 (o) | @mweinbergPK
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