[Day 4] Open Licenses


Facilitator: Moritz R
Convener: Kaspar
Notes: Julian

Also in attendance

Questions from post-its:

General questions on licensing
Questions on OSHA Certification
Questions on Intellectual property
Prevent CC-SA becoming privatised - Enforcement!

Biggest hurdles for us and the community:
Kevin: how to sell and still protect it, and also to promote open licences
Julian: Understanding the available licences
Marcela: licences are clear in journalism, but lacking information on hardware licences. Awareness of intellectual property law
Anna: Interested in local manufacturing, and licence that can enable that. Small business are scared about open hardware as they don’t understand, which involves giving best practices which goes above licences and onto best practices
Moritz: Doesn’t know where to start - personal. For the community - examples of how people can make a living from this model.
Discussion on this:
Case studies are needed to see open hardware successes. BIZ in UK are doing case studies on open Hardware. Creative commons release a book looking at examples like arduino
Kaspar: Personal struggle - problem with copyleft, if someone copies part of it do they have to share it, but copyright doesn’t extend to hardware (Examples CERN & Tapir)

Licence discussion
Explanation of what copyleft is: It is a licence which forces people to share modified content on the same licence

Copyright and licence are different things! This is very important for journals
Thinking about licences (see Table 1) copyright for hardware refers to the design file but doesn’t extend into hardware. But as things get more digital (i.e. PCB design) where copyright becomes more relevant, there was a decision in Israel where copyright was deemed valid.
Looking at plans which are copyrighted and then building the thing is not a violation, copying the plans is a violation. - This sort of works for us as people can build the item but with copyleft they have to share any changes.
Patents are another way to protect these things. A patent is different as you formally register an idea which you ‘own’ for some number of years but it has to be granted based on ‘no prior art’

Table 1:
Licences for hardware fall into two categories: software style copyright and other types

|    Copyright                      |        Other                    |
| All rights reserved               | CERN OHL                        |
| Copyleft (i.e. GPL, Mozzila)      | TAPR                            |
| Permissive (i.e. MIT, BSD,Apache) | 3D PRINTING OPEN SOURCE LICENCE |
| Creative Commons (BY,SA,NC,ND)    | SOLDERPADS                      |
| P2P?                              |                                 |`

Talking about different licence in Table 1:
GPL is tested in court, but creative commons
CC is somewhat unclear, but as you own the copyright you could still sell something you released under N/C
Worth noting that there are a number of silly licences like beer licences where you have to buy the author a beer if you use the code
Many copyright licenses are NOT open: All Rights Reserved,CC-NC,CC-ND

For hardware/Other:
3D printing open source licence and solderpads are like Apache has protection which allows free use of patents.
CERN OHL and TAPR - Are more like copyleft but are based on contract law not copyright as copyright doesn’t apply to hardware


  • We seem confused! Could GOSH have a 101 document/forum post on the licences and what they mean, also pointing to other articles on this. Maybe we should populate the wikipedia page as on Open Hardware Licence as they only have a disambiguation page
  • We don’t have a body defending open licences in the hardware space - we should talk OSHA
  • We need help from lawyers in GOSH


Oops! I was sure I uploaded this before, it must have not been submitted! I have added a summary to the community report. Sorry!!