Author Topic: Reality of OSHW  (Read 10981 times)

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Offline Poe

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Reality of OSHW
« on: July 10, 2014, 05:55:09 AM »
So OSHW appears to be more of a nicety and not so much of a a legal 'thing' from what I can tell.  (USA specific)

Copyrights only apply to board art, documentation and software.
(http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html#what_protect)

So any discussion about copyright licensing is a discussion about those three things.  NOT about the hardware design itself. 
(http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf)

A copyright is not a patent.  If you develop a crazy cool new circuit and don't get a patent, anyone can make and sell it so long as they don't use those three protected things.  Simple as that. 

Lets say you designed a class AB amp and have a very strict license requirements.  Now lets say I decided to copy, make and sell it while ignoring your license.  I use the same parts, but I did my own board artwork and documentation.  Here's the two hypothetical schematics:


I'm 100% in the clear.

Now what if I just slightly modified your board art because there's only one good way to layout that design, using those components?  Or what if I copied your compiled software exactly, that gets me into a grey area which is practically just as safe!
(http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-fairuse.html#howmuch)

Why?  Keep in mind that the courts decide where that 'original' line lays. 
(http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-infringement.html)
In other words, there's no such thing as The Copyright Police.  You have to sue them.  This involves attorney fees, court fees, expert witnesses, etc.

Assume I carbon copied your board art and documentation, an open/shut case of infringement.  You want me to stop selling it, what do you do?  Well, you need to pay some lawyers six figures to try and get about four figures out of my throw-away limited liability company.  I might face criminal charges if I made bank, but considering the marketability and design quality of most OSHW projects... unlikely.

Additionally, you have to register your copyright prior to bringing a lawsuit for infringement.  Now, considering NO ONE registers their board art and/or documentation.... someone about to clone your design could register YOUR artwork before you and be in a really good defensive position if you ever decide to take action.  If you never released it into a public forum, good luck trying to prove you're the original author.  In fact, if they registered it before you released it to a publication, and you started to produce it, they could come along later and sue you for damages!  You would be hard pressed to prove the design was yours!  Now the only way that would happen is if someone had the foresight to register a design that is likely to generate enough profit to offset the legal fees (read as never).

So at least in my research, these OSHW licenses are silly since hardware is not protected like software. 

Releasing copyright material into the public domain is nice and helpful.  Not releasing such artwork it is a good business decision in most cases.

If someone could think of a good reason to do anything else (licenses), please tell me.



 

Online mariush

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2014, 06:04:24 AM »
Sparkfun's owners (Pete Dokter and "the money guy") did an AMA just yesterday and they answered some questions about copyrights and patents.



One thing that I remember is that they estimated 30k to 50k in legal fees and about 3 years to get one patent and they felt it wasn't worth it because technology moves ahead so much in 3 years that your patent is no longer useful.

As for your argument about holding the designs.. a group of guys in China can reverse engineer your boards in a couple of days or a week depending on the complexity.

 

Offline mazurov

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2014, 08:02:32 AM »
So OSHW appears to be more of a nicety and not so much of a a legal 'thing' from what I can tell.  (USA specific)

...

If someone could think of a good reason to do anything else (licenses), please tell me.

In general, US ppl won't touch a published design unless an explicit permission in a form of a licence is given (and sometimes they will e-mail you to ask for a permission to use GPLd code just for themselves). By US law, a copyright is automatic. So if you want to release your work for all to use give it a license; if you want to exclude Americans, don't include a license. I'm speaking from experience.

The rest of the world doesn't give a shit.

Caveat: every generalization is wrong (including this one).
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2014, 08:33:37 AM »
Additionally, you have to register your copyright prior to bringing a lawsuit for infringement.

Copyright doesn't work like that, you don't have (and can't) register anything.
Copyright is automatic to the author.
What an OSHW license gives other people is the ability to use your design under the terms of whatever agreement you use.

It doesn't matter whether you have a patent, or use an OSHW licence, or just rely on your natural copyright. Anyone can copy anything at any time they like, there is nothing stopping them. The only thing that can stop them is a law suit and enforcement of a court order, and that costs huge money.

OSHW works by providing a (hopefully) legal framework around which people can share stuff. But in reality it's more like a set of rules that everyone plays nice by. If you don't play nice, you generally don't get sued, you get publicly shamed.
 

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2014, 08:36:39 AM »
One thing that I remember is that they estimated 30k to 50k in legal fees and about 3 years to get one patent and they felt it wasn't worth it because technology moves ahead so much in 3 years that your patent is no longer useful.


And a patent is almost worthless unless you plan to spend even more money defending it.
To successfully win a patent lawsuit in court against a adversary willing to fight you requires, at a minimum, 7 figures.
If you don't have the money to defend it, then all the use a patent is in protecting your design is as an idle threat to a small player who also can't afford to defend themselves.
 

Offline Alexei.Polkhanov

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2014, 09:35:58 AM »
There is an alternative to patenting and copyrighting if you want to make something open source - it is a public disclosure. That would prevent someone from patenting your invention that is if you care. Disclosure should be very cheap - like one notary fee kind of cheap. Again if you bother about this kind of stuff just look it up.
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2014, 09:45:25 AM »
There is an alternative to patenting and copyrighting if you want to make something open source - it is a public disclosure. That would prevent someone from patenting your invention that is if you care. Disclosure should be very cheap - like one notary fee kind of cheap. Again if you bother about this kind of stuff just look it up....

That used to be called "prior art".  The reason you can't patent a paper clip or a wheel-barrow is because people have been using them for decades or centuries.  But the USPTO seems to have lost the notion of "prior art" if they are considering issuing a patent to ElectricImp for "BlinkUp", something that has been around for decades, although without the fancy (trademarked) name.  Or McDonalds filing a 55-page application for a patent on how to make a hot deli sandwich.  http://organizationsandmarkets.com/2006/11/28/patently-absurd-ham-sandwich-edition/
 

Offline Alexei.Polkhanov

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2014, 01:24:02 PM »
Well in Canada if you published/disclosed something you still have a year grace period during which you can patent it. Only one year.


 

Offline bwat

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2014, 05:49:40 PM »
One thing that I remember is that they estimated 30k to 50k in legal fees and about 3 years to get one patent and they felt it wasn't worth it because technology moves ahead so much in 3 years that your patent is no longer useful.
If this were true we wouldn't see any patents at all.
"Who said that you should improve programming skills only at the workplace? Is the workplace even suitable for cultural improvement of any kind?" - Christophe Thibaut

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Offline ve7xen

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2014, 06:36:45 PM »
Legally you're absolutely right - from a practical perspective it probably doesn't make any difference.

I think it is more a way of explicitly releasing your design for public use and modification. Without saying it explicitly, many (especially amateurs with a poor understanding of IP law) will assume they can't use it, and even if they know better may consider it poor form to directly copy. Encourage participation and the sort of behaviour you want to see from the community.

Also IP law is ripe for a massive overhaul, and providing an obvious license now may give retroactive permission for something that becomes illegal by default in the future.

Personally I think if you're going to call something open source hardware it should be about the rights to effectively modify and distribute modifications rather than plain copying. To me, this means using open CAD tools and file formats, open toolchains, parts with available datasheets, etc.
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Offline Poe

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2014, 07:15:23 AM »
I basically wanted to see if anyone researched these "OSHW legal framework's" and found a practical use.  My research concluded that they lack legal teeth and are therefore worse than worthless. 

Terms like OSHW license, legal framework, etc =>  WANK  :bullshit:

I found no reason why 'open' designs are not released completely into the public domain by completely forfeiting their copyright. 

Since any OSHW design can be copied and sold LEGALLY, regardless of what OSHW license might be violated.... what's the point of adding a bunch of legal jargon to essentially say:
"I have an ego and want credit for my work.  If you don't comply, I'll ruin your reputation in the OSHW community."
...?
If that's all you want; just say it.  No need for anything more. 

Although, even then, you're reputation enforcement is limited to the electronic hobby community.  A community largely indifferent to this type of defamation.  How many 3D printer clones are in violation of one of these licenses?  The fact that anyone could rip off an OSHW design anonymously makes the defamation even more ridiculous/useless. 

Patents:
Those patent legal fees/times agree with my own experience.  Although any comments about how fast tech moves is purely pandering to the idea that SparkFun is constantly innovating.  It's all about the money. 

Although I wouldn't say patents are useless for small companies.  Small companies need to cross license with large companies just to produce simple things in established spaces.  Try breaking into the TV market without infringing on at least a dozen of Samsung or Panasonic's ridiculous patents regarding the use of an 'optically transparent' screen, or mounting points in the back (as opposed to the front!).

Copyright being automatic:
Additionally, you have to register your copyright prior to bringing a lawsuit for infringement.
Copyright doesn't work like that...
It actually does. 

Click the US Government's Copyright Office link where it gives instructions on how to enforce your automatic copyright.
As I mentioned, although copyright is indeed automatic, if you wish to sue for infringement you need to register your copyright first.

Just because someone posts their project on their personal blog, doesn't mean The Wayback Machine instantly archives it.  Someone could register your design before you.  If you decide to take them to court, good luck convincing the judge that your personal blog posted this board artwork or documentation before someone else registered it. 

OSHW licenses as a way of explicitly saying it's for public use:
Why can't you just say:
"To my knowledge no part of this design is protected by a patent and I release all copyright claims to this material (board art, documentation, software, etc) into the public domain.  It's free to use, copy, modify, sell in any way you like."
...?

I don't think it gets any more effective.  'OSHW licenses' and talk of 'legal frameworks' discourages participation because people think they could potentially break the law or get hassled if they attempt to clone one 'incorrectly'. 

I grew up with paper magazines like Nuts and Volts.  People freely posted designs without licenses.  What changed?  The only thing I can think is that since software now falls under legal protection and open source software became a 'thing', people think hardware designs are now somehow protected so they need a license too.  Or maybe they think OSHW licenses allow them to get assistance, then have some kind of legal protection when they go to sell it themselves.  Actually that last one might be the most apt.  Sad.

Poe's OSHW License:
A) No credit be given to the original author
B) It can only be used in a purely commercial capacity. 
 >:D

Reading this right now:
http://www.pololu.com/blog/27/thoughts-on-open-source-hardware
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 07:22:05 AM by Poe »
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2014, 07:49:59 AM »
I found no reason why 'open' designs are not released completely into the public domain by completely forfeiting their copyright. 

Because:
a) They want to ensure attribution
b) They want to ensure that if people build upon their work then they give give back to the community.

Two very huge and central concepts of OSHW
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2014, 07:53:51 AM »
OSHW licenses as a way of explicitly saying it's for public use:
Why can't you just say:
"To my knowledge no part of this design is protected by a patent and I release all copyright claims to this material (board art, documentation, software, etc) into the public domain.  It's free to use, copy, modify, sell in any way you like."
...?

You are free to do that if that's what you want.
Others chose to use a legal framework developed by lawyers that (hopefully) ensures people play by the rules.
Legal frameworks make the whole scene look legitiment to large companies, encourages them to participate, and attempts to standardise the process across the community.

You are free to make up your own short two line legal framework and promote it. Go for it.
If it meets the OSHW ideals then people might use it, otherwise you are also free to form your own community and promote it's use that way.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 07:55:47 AM by EEVblog »
 

Offline hamster_nz

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2014, 09:05:48 AM »
When people ask me about licensing on my FPGA stuff I sometimes include my very own license:

"This has served a purpose for me, you are free to do whatever you want with this."

People howl that "That isn't even a proper license! how can you do that?". I just reply "Take it or leave it. it isn't my problem to sort out your legal issues".
 

Online mariush

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2014, 10:00:45 AM »
You could use this license instead of a custom text: http://www.wtfpl.net/about/

The Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License (WTFPL) is a free software license.

Quote
  DO WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO PUBLIC LICENSE
                    Version 2, December 2004

 Copyright (C) 2004 Sam Hocevar <[email protected]>

 Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim or modified
 copies of this license document, and changing it is allowed as long
 as the name is changed.

            DO WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO PUBLIC LICENSE
   TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR COPYING, DISTRIBUTION AND MODIFICATION

  0. You just DO WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2014, 10:15:40 AM »
All this 'open source' license stuff is bullshit

"you can copy it provided my name stays attached (so i can have my 5 minutes of fame)"
"provided you don't make money" (if it don't make any everyone should be poor)
"if you correct my flagrant design flaws you need to tell me.. " (they call that 'giving back to the community' , a weak cover for 'fix my problems')
"you need to provide all documentation in a format of my liking or i will growl" ... (i'm too lazy / poor to learn or use real tools)

Want to give it away ? make it public domain. That, for me, is the only true 'open' format.
no strings attached , can't sue me , do what you want.
anything else is not truly open.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2014, 10:33:02 AM »
Because:
a) They want to ensure attribution
b) They want to ensure that if people build upon their work then they give give back to the community.

Two very huge and central concepts of OSHW
Element A adds no 'value' to the design. No return value will come of it also. it's not like the attributee will get anything for it (apart from his 5 minutes of fame and then be another speck of dust on a cosmic scale)

<devil's advocate mode>
element b : if i improve that design greatly why should i serve as an educator to the dimwit that made the original crap ? i am not here to educate the unwashed masses. i will take the pieces that work , trash the rest.

<hypothesis mode on>
Let's say someone makes a schematic with an led and a resistor containing the formula to calculate a value of the resistor for a given supply voltage. This schematic is released under this open source stuff as a CC-BA-something

that means from now on , anyone that 'builds upon' needs to release his mods ? So, if i add a switch to turn the led on and off i need to release this schematic ? Sorry bub, i bread boarded it and it sits in my cupboard illuminating the shelf. I can't be arsed to write up a document , draw the schematic , slap on the CC-BA licence and publish that. And i sure as hell am not going to write 'based on an idea by Nitwit McDumbfuck' on that little board i made.

worse : let's say i make a little box with battery switch ,resistor led and sell that as a stick-on thingie to illuminate shelves in cupboards. i sell this in my stores cheap in mass quantity. I am unaware of the CC-BA from Nitwit McDumb.... because , you know, this is a simple design that any 5 year old can make. suddenly i get blasted on forums because violating this licence...

here is the problem : these licences do NOT take into account for prior art.
I see a lot of circuits popping up that get a licence slapped on that are so simple that chances are very big someone did exactly the same years ago. This opens a huge can of worms.

All of a sudden someone claims 'rights' on something that has been available for years.
If we are going there : i claim rights to inhaling oxygen and exhaling Co2. Shall i give my bankaccount ? i will sue every living person, and animal and every combustion engine maker. Pay up or suffocate !

the above is exaggerated but i have seen circuitry that is basically an atmega with a crystal and two caps , and ftdi chip and an lcd display.

All of a sudden the arduino crowd blares : you ripped this from an arduino schematic. No i didn't!  I took the apps schematic from the datasheet of Atmel (cpuu, reset circuit crystal and caps) and slapped on a display. i took the FTDI portion form the datasheet of FTDI (ftdi chip , usb connector , 2 caps and a resistor).

Just because i wired up an isp connector and an ftdi chip to the uart does NOT make this an arduino or something based on an arduino. i am not using the arduino bootloader. so shut up and go away. the hardware circuitry for an arduino is so simple that anyone could have come up with it. so what gives you the rights over this circuit ?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 10:39:22 AM by free_electron »
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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2014, 10:41:13 AM »
All this 'open source' license stuff is bullshit
"you can copy it provided my name stays attached (so i can have my 5 minutes of fame)"

What's wrong with wanting to be identified as the original designer?

Quote
"provided you don't make money" (if it don't make any everyone should be poor)

Wrong. You can't do that if you want to use the OSHW name and logo.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2014, 10:47:53 AM »
Element A adds no 'value' to the design. No return value will come of it also. it's not like the attributee will get anything for it (apart from his 5 minutes of fame and then be another speck of dust on a cosmic scale)

Demonstrably wrong.
Your name being spread can lead to all sorts of opportunities.
Not always the case of course, it could lead to nothing, but in some cases it does lead to benefits.

Quote
<devil's advocate mode>
element b : if i improve that design greatly why should i serve as an educator to the dimwit that made the original crap ? i am not here to educate the unwashed masses. i will take the pieces that work , trash the rest.

Who says you are obligated to "educate" anyone?

The whole idea of reciprocal licensing in the OSHW movement is to encourage and foster an attitude of giving back.
If this is not encouraged (and essentially "enforced" by way of license et.al) then the movement dies and people will go back to not sharing anything.
Sure, it's not a perfect system, but surely you can't argue with the results to the community?

Quote
<hypothesis mode on>
Let's say someone makes a schematic with an led and a resistor containing the formula to calculate a value of the resistor for a given supply voltage. This schematic is released under this open source stuff as a CC-BA-something
that means from now on , anyone that 'builds upon' needs to release his mods ?
So, if i add a switch to turn the led on and off i need to release this schematic ? Sorry bub, i bread boarded it and it sits in my cupboard illuminating the shelf. I can't be arsed to write up a document , draw the schematic , slap on the CC-BA licence and publish that. And i sure as hell am not going to write 'based on an idea by Nitwit McDumbfuck' on that little board i made.

Only if you do so for commercial gain.
There is no obligation on personal projects for your own use.

Quote
here is the problem : these licences do NOT take into account for prior art.
I see a lot of circuits popping up that get a licence slapped on that are so simple that chances are very big someone did exactly the same years ago. This opens a huge can of worms.

Sure, that can be an issue.
Same thing with patents et.al.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 10:51:04 AM by EEVblog »
 

Offline wilfred

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2014, 10:55:30 AM »
All this 'open source' license stuff is bullshit

"you can copy it provided my name stays attached (so i can have my 5 minutes of fame)"
"provided you don't make money" (if it don't make any everyone should be poor)
"if you correct my flagrant design flaws you need to tell me.. " (they call that 'giving back to the community' , a weak cover for 'fix my problems')
"you need to provide all documentation in a format of my liking or i will growl" ... (i'm too lazy / poor to learn or use real tools)

Want to give it away ? make it public domain. That, for me, is the only true 'open' format.
no strings attached , can't sue me , do what you want.
anything else is not truly open.

Well good on you if you want to "give it away". It doesn't make someone putting strings on the use of their work wrong or bad or anything other than just what they are openly doing. You're free to maintain your opinion, I don't want to change that. Especially since what you say between the lines is very revealing. But I do respect you for being utterly consistent and predictable.

It is quite possible the interpretation you choose to place on the points raised are NOT an exact match to the motivations used by every person who ever contributed to the open source community. With the strings attached the decision to use the persons work is yours alone. Most people do things for some reward. It could be money, or some vague "warm fuzzy" feeling or for recognition and respect. They would feel cheated, robbed or exploited if someone took their effort and denied them a share of the reward. I am certain you can understand that.

What I infer from your comments is that you believe reward for effort can only come in the form of cash money. However reward for some people can be in the form of recognition and respect as part of a group effort.
 

Offline ve7xen

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2014, 01:04:39 PM »
Want to give it away ? make it public domain. That, for me, is the only true 'open' format.
no strings attached , can't sue me , do what you want.
anything else is not truly open.
Why should it be black and white? Is this a question of semantics for you?

Copyright is really the only thing that applies, and only barely, and by default no copying or derivative works are allowed at all. What is the problem with granting those rights under conditions? It is no different than a commercial license in that sense, just substantially less restrictive.

Personally I think Creative Commons is an appropriate license for the artwork and documentation; I use 3-clause BSD for code.
73 de VE7XEN
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2014, 05:23:35 PM »
Does anyone have any examples of an open source license actually being held up in court and resulted in actual legal action against the violator? 

I know it's not hardware per say, but the first thing that come into my mind are the vast majority of the android phone manufacturers violating the GPL by not releasing kernel source.  I've heard of lots of violations but can't think of any legal action that resulted in the violator having to actually do anything.  If it's not enforceable, or no one is willing to do any enforcing, its essential worthless.  Like EULAs.

The real problem (or awesome aspect depending on how you look at it) with open source hardware is that your average person not already working in the industry has no idea how much is involved in turning design files into an actual physical assembled tested product.  You could give them everything they need to make something including instructions and it's still too much of a hassle for most people, even technical people.  Even if someone has had a few boards made at Itead before or something, it's another HUGE step to making a piece of hardware in production volumes.  I think this is a big reason why so many well intending kickstarters fail as well.  People think to themselves "hey I hacked one prototype together, I can totally make a business out of this" and not realize how much they don't know about the physical process (let alone the money side of things).  The cost of failure is just too high to use the guess/check/fix/respin method for hardware manufacturing. 
And that's my take on why more open source hardware projects don't get "stolen".  It's not some loyalty to the original maker/community or some essentially unenforceable license.  It's just hard and expensive to do production runs of hardware and the market usually isn't there to support more people making the same thing. 
 

Offline bwat

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2014, 05:49:28 PM »
Does anyone have any examples of an open source license actually being held up in court and resulted in actual legal action against the violator? 
Less than 5 minutes of googling gave http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gpl-violations.org. I don't know how accurate this description is of the cases involving Fortinet and D-Link. Anyway, licences are very enforcable. The legal systems of the developed world don't give a hoot about trendy attitudes to old, established, laws. Copyright isn't going to change anytime soon as too many livelihoods depend upon it.

All this 'open source' license stuff is bullshit

"you can copy it provided my name stays attached (so i can have my 5 minutes of fame)"
"provided you don't make money" (if it don't make any everyone should be poor)
"if you correct my flagrant design flaws you need to tell me.. " (they call that 'giving back to the community' , a weak cover for 'fix my problems')
"you need to provide all documentation in a format of my liking or i will growl" ... (i'm too lazy / poor to learn or use real tools)
I'm no fan of certain licences but even I can tell that what you've written is more opinion than fact. If you don't like somebody else's licence terms then ignore their work. Simple.

Element A adds no 'value' to the design. No return value will come of it also. it's not like the attributee will get anything for it (apart from his 5 minutes of fame and then be another speck of dust on a cosmic scale)

Demonstrably wrong.
Your name being spread can lead to all sorts of opportunities.
Not always the case of course, it could lead to nothing, but in some cases it does lead to benefits.
Letting people see your work in a way that protects your rights is a useful way for techies to demonstrate ability. You can show potential employers/clients what you are capable of without discussing previous projects that your old employers/clients would rather you didn't discuss in too much detail.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 05:51:05 PM by bwat »
"Who said that you should improve programming skills only at the workplace? Is the workplace even suitable for cultural improvement of any kind?" - Christophe Thibaut

"People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware." - Alan Kay
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2014, 06:06:40 PM »
And that's my take on why more open source hardware projects don't get "stolen".  It's not some loyalty to the original maker/community or some essentially unenforceable license.  It's just hard and expensive to do production runs of hardware and the market usually isn't there to support more people making the same thing. 

I agree, and I suspect it's as much as anything, that the kinds of products people make as part of an OSHW project are the kinds that only really appeal to people who could build their own anyway.

High volume consumer stuff is, as a rule, incredibly integrated and bespoke these days. Its architecture bears little resemblance to the kinds of circuits that amateurs might build out of off-the-shelf parts, and it's produced in enormous volumes. That's what allows it to be as cheap as it is, and why anything a bit out of the ordinary starts to look expensive.

Suppose the target market for, say, a Bluetooth enabled data-logging cat feeder equates to a few hundred units a year. Budget even a ridiculously optimistic £10k for mechanical tooling, the same again for EMC and safety testing, and nothing whatsoever for the time taken to actually do all the design, testing and set-up of the manufacturing process. That's still £20k in cold, hard cash that has to be recouped over a total sales volume of (say) 2000 units.

That makes the cost price £10 for amortised setup costs, plus (say) another £20 cost price for the product itself, £5 postage and another £7 for VAT just on the cost price... that's £42 retail before you make a single bean in profit. For a cat bowl.

Or: you publish instructions on how to convert an existing, off-the-shelf cat feeder, by fitting it with a home made PCB that can be ordered for £5 as part of an on-line group buy, and populated with another £5 worth of parts.

That's why I'm not surprised at all that hobby projects tend not to get commercialised.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2014, 08:48:24 AM »
Element A adds no 'value' to the design. No return value will come of it also. it's not like the attributee will get anything for it (apart from his 5 minutes of fame and then be another speck of dust on a cosmic scale)

Demonstrably wrong.
Your name being spread can lead to all sorts of opportunities.
Not always the case of course, it could lead to nothing, but in some cases it does lead to benefits.

Let me rephrase that: it brings no value to the design itself. An led circuit by goofy123 is not more valuable than an identical circuit mady by furball456 so to speak.
So this should not be part of a licence. The name of the inventor serves no functional purpose. Not being allowed to copy it for money does serve a functional purpose.

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<devil's advocate mode>
element b : if i improve that design greatly why should i serve as an educator to the dimwit that made the original crap ? i am not here to educate the unwashed masses. i will take the pieces that work , trash the rest.

Who says you are obligated to "educate" anyone?
Something was released under  sharealike or 'give back' terms.  I took the design , modded it , fixed some design flaws and greatly improved it with my idea's. Why should i need to disclose the techniques or tricks or idea's i came up with. If i want to do so, fine no problem. Of i want to keep that know-how for me, equally fine. The freedom to share, or not to share. The licenceing terms take away that freedom. Less freedom is less 'open'.. Public domain does not step on this freedom.

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The whole idea of reciprocal licensing in the OSHW movement is to encourage and foster an attitude of giving back.
If this is not encouraged (and essentially "enforced" by way of license et.al) then the movement dies and people will go back to not sharing anything.
Sure, it's not a perfect system, but surely you can't argue with the results to the community?
noticed the devils advocate warning right ? I am pointing towards the 'freedom' aspect. Freedom to give back, or not to give back. Public domain leaves this free. Open source takes away that freedom.

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<hypothesis mode on>
Let's say someone makes a schematic with an led and a resistor containing the formula to calculate a value of the resistor for a given supply voltage. This schematic is released under this open source stuff as a CC-BA-something
that means from now on , anyone that 'builds upon' needs to release his mods ?
So, if i add a switch to turn the led on and off i need to release this schematic ? Sorry bub, i bread boarded it and it sits in my cupboard illuminating the shelf. I can't be arsed to write up a document , draw the schematic , slap on the CC-BA licence and publish that. And i sure as hell am not going to write 'based on an idea by Nitwit McDumbfuck' on that little board i made.

Only if you do so for commercial gain.
There is no obligation on personal projects for your own use.

And that's where it rubs...  I gave the second example. I make a little led light: battery, switch , resistor , led. Sell this for 3$ in volume. All of a sudden i get hammered by some dude that claims 'rights' because i 'built upon' his led-resistor circuit.

Sure, the resistor led example is stupid , but where do you draw the line ? If i make a circuit with an atmega, crystal, ftdi and usb connector .. That does not make it an arduino ... Even though the wiring is identical. Well, there is only so many ways you can add a crystal and an ftdi to an atmega....

This is the problem i see with these licences. They claim rights on circuitry that is trivial and or straight out of the datasheet.
Especially the 'build upon' clause is very dangerous. Build upon works symmetrically as well. Take the ftdi away and it still fits the description.. So now any circuit consisting of an atmega and a crystlal is considered 'built upon' an arduino ...

That is what i don't like.

People are riling against patents, well, this is an even bigger can of worms.

Imagine what would have happened if someone had claimed cc-sharealike attributable on print 'hello world'...

Any book about programming, any program ever written that printed a string of characters to any output system would be subject to that licence....
Whoa....

Professional Electron Wrangler.
Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 


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