Something like CC BY-NC for hardware?

(Hello, first time GOSH user here :wave:—hope I’m posting correctly and that this question is appropriate)

I’m working with some researchers who have invented a pretty neat little circuit that solves a common problem in mass spectrometry. They would like their work to be freely available to any individuals who want to reproduce the circuit for research. However they are also talking to some companies and would like to receive compensation when/if these companies sell copies of their design.

This is a new situation to me. To be honest I’m a total know-nothing when it comes to licensing hardware. Any advice would be appreciated!

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Welcome to the forum. I am not aware of an equivalent to CC BY-NC for hardware. It is worth noting that in many countries use for research is not covered by patents. Therefore, what you are describing is the standard proprietary model for hardware, except for the fact that patents rarely give enough detail for the device to be reproduced.

Non-commercial (and especially non-derivative licenses) limit the freedom of users to improve and distribute the hardware. Ultimately, killing the benefits of openness. It is for this reason that non-commercial clauses stop something being open.

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Welcome @blaise! :smiley: I think @julianstirling gave a great answer.

Non-commercial (and especially non-derivative licenses) limit the freedom of users to improve and distribute the hardware. Ultimately, killing the benefits of openness. It is for this reason that non-commercial clauses stop something being open.

Just to add to this point: Non-commercial and no-derivatives requirements do not meet the Open Source Hardware Definition. So, if the researchers you’re working with decide to go with using a CC BY-NC license or equivalent, we will need to respect their decision, but it needs to be made clear that their work is not open source hardware.

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Thanks @julianstirling @hpy for your clear responses—very helpful. I’m glad to have found this forum!

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Are you guys familiar with the Open Know How and DIN SPEC 3105 ? My notes on this are available here: