Author Topic: Copyright For Electronics?  (Read 3861 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Longhair

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 80
Copyright For Electronics?
« on: December 28, 2010, 11:11:44 am »
I am thinking of using a couple schematics of existing products that are on the market today and duplicate the item as my own (single / personal use only) using SMD instead of Through-hole. Say that in a few years, I want to sell the one-off items because I no longer use them on ebay and by some off chance, the person that buys it works for the company that came out with the original product.

Even though the outside is different, the electronic circuits and part specifications (values) are exactly the same. Would they be able to take legal action against me?
 

Offline Zero999

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 13298
  • Country: gb
  • 0999
Re: Copyright For Electronics?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2010, 11:26:04 am »
Not if you don't get caught. ;D
 

Offline williefleete

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 109
  • Country: nz
Re: Copyright For Electronics?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2010, 11:29:43 am »
copyright is more for written and visual works, eg code on a microcontroller, graphics and maybe in a pinch the PCB design. electronics depending on your circuit is pretty much public domain so to speak if it uses off the shelf parts, however if it uses a specialist chip they probably dont want anyone trying to rip it off (eg a micro controller or ROM etc)
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 11:32:26 am by williefleete »
 

Online Mechatrommer

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9320
  • Country: my
  • reassessing directives...
Re: Copyright For Electronics?
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2010, 11:40:35 am »
as willie said, i've never heard a circuit is copyrighted, only logo, code, and name. a circuit or idea is usually patented which will expires in several years anyway. if you sell it now and get caught, then they can sue you, but if its already expired, then it become public property.
if something can select, how cant it be intelligent? if something is intelligent, how cant it exist?
 

Offline GeoffS

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1267
  • Country: au
Re: Copyright For Electronics?
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2010, 11:42:01 am »
If you're talking about one off items, I doubt very much if the original designer would make too much fuss.
At the very worst, you might end up not being allowed to sell the items.

If you were making the items for resale then that's a different story.

 

Offline Zero999

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 13298
  • Country: gb
  • 0999
Re: Copyright For Electronics?
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2010, 12:20:11 pm »
Copyright violation is almost impossible to prove in cases where parts of programs are stolen and incorporated into another. For example, if I wrote a program which stole some code I reverse engineered from my competitor and stated in the licence that no reverse engineering is allowed, no one could prove I stole the code without admitting to violating the licence and risking a counter claim. The same is true for patented algorithms.
 

Offline Longhair

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 80
Re: Copyright For Electronics?
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2010, 01:04:52 pm »
Sounds reasonable.

I just want to make sure that some project that I put together today doesn't come back and bite me in the butt when I need space.
 

Offline Bored@Work

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3932
  • Country: 00
Re: Copyright For Electronics?
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2010, 02:45:33 pm »
Copyright violation is almost impossible to prove in cases where parts of programs are stolen and incorporated into another. For example, if I wrote a program which stole some code I reverse engineered from my competitor and stated in the licence that no reverse engineering is allowed, no one could prove I stole the code without admitting to violating the licence and risking a counter claim. The same is true for patented algorithms.
That great scheme won't work out. In some jurisdictions reverse engineering is allowed, and can't be denied by a license. All that such a "no reverse engineering" clause in a license would result in is that that part of the license would be unenforceable.

Second, even when the clause is valid, it won't prevent the original software author from reverse engineering the software and finding the copyright violation. Counter claim? About what? All the reverse engineer would lose is the right to use the software. But that won't prevent him from showing the results to a judge and say, hey, that guy committed a crime, he stole our code.

Third, since you stole the code, you didn't have the right to license it in the first place, your license means shit and is invalid. The reverse-engineer was just reverse-engineering his own code, which should legally be no problem at all.

There are precedence cases, I have especially seen some in the Open Source area. There companies got rightfully whipped by a judge for stealing Open Source code. The most vigilant Open Source projects enforcing their copyrights are the busybox project and the netfilter/iptables project. The netfilter/iptables project even managed to get a cort order requiring  D-Link to pay the project for the cost of reverse engineering a D-Link device to prove a D-Link GPL license violation.

IANAL, etc.
I delete PMs unread. If you have something to say, say it in public.
For all else: Profile->[Modify Profile]Buddies/Ignore List->Edit Ignore List
 

Offline Simon

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 14025
  • Country: gb
  • Did that just blow up? No? might work after all !!
    • Simon's Electronics
Re: Copyright For Electronics?
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2010, 05:14:54 pm »
I think you will be alright, if your really paranoid change a few part values that are not of any consequence. if it is a simple item you can claim that the schematic is a "generic building block"
https://www.simonselectronics.co.uk/shop
Varied stock of test instruments and components including EEVblog gear and Wurth Elektronik Books.
Also, if you want to get ripped off: https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/simons_electronics?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
 

Offline Mr J

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 93
    • Facebook mjssvt
Re: Copyright For Electronics?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2010, 07:03:17 pm »
I don't think you should have too much problem with the PCB and case / enclouser you have changed them so dramatically from the original design.

However I would redraw out the schematic, good measure change some of the part designation like R1 make R6, for added measure you can change some of the non critical parts, filter caps, led limit resistors, change led color, etc etc. As long as your not just going to a copy machine and copying it 1 for 1 you should be fine. If your using a micro you can change some code lines non critical so that when you view the HEX, it differs from the original, add a pointless loop, blink and led, or add additional functions recompile under a different software, etc etc.

And If your really paranoid, scrape off the chip numbers, use potting epoxy (that ticks me off, lol), use security fuses on your micro's.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf