Author Topic: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?  (Read 7382 times)

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Offline johnnyfp

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Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« on: October 08, 2013, 11:27:08 pm »
Hi,

I've been making a derivative of this guys project and have made subtle changes, fixes and added a Case for it and now want to put it to a Crowdfunding service to flog it. See here for details of my project.

Is it kosher to do that? Considering that the project is opensource, and I made changes to it including PCB design changes (Redesigned from the ground up).

There's taking the idea and modifying or improving it, and then there's just using someone else's idea. What is the fine line in taking the biscuit to doing the open source thing? I want to be honest about things but realistic in the sense that Open Source hardware cost money vs Open source software that is free.

Hope I'm making sense.

Your thoughts?
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2013, 05:19:15 am »
Impossible to judge. Your changes should be "significant", and that is a fluffy criteria.

Then there is the basic opinion taken over from open source software, that one should not fork a project, but instead contribute to it, unless the fork is absolutely necessary. "absolutely necessary" e.g. meaning the project was abandoned for years and there was no chance a new maintainer could take over the original project (including infrastructure like the original webpage, repository, etc.). What you do is the equivalent of a project fork, but for hardware. Just that it is a fork will not sit right with many.

The typical way out, as I understand it, is to voluntarily share some of the money with the original project owner.

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Offline Jon Chandler

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2013, 07:02:47 am »
I'm not certain what the Open Source rules say, but under a Creative Commons SA (share alike) license, any improvements and modifications must be offered under the same terms as the original.

Moving parts around on a circuit board and changing a few values or parts doesn't seem like a significant change to an idea developed from the ground up
 

Offline johnnyfp

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2013, 07:15:29 am »
From my understanding of CCSA is as long as I share alike I can sell the design. If its a CCSANC (share alike non commercial) that's when I can't flog it.

Surely if its open source and has no restrictions on selling it then I could sell it? I have done several weeks worth of work getting the original design right and improving and creating the software. Is that not worth anything?

It's a quandary.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2013, 02:27:06 pm »
Sounds like you already made up your mind to do it, and you are now just looking for some reasoning.
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Offline ddavidebor

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Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2013, 02:45:02 pm »
You'd better just ask the one who did the project,
Davide Bortolami,
Fermium LABS srl
 

jucole

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2013, 03:13:42 pm »
Is it kosher to do that? Considering that the project is opensource, and I made changes to it including PCB design changes (Redesigned from the ground up).
Your thoughts?

Don't know much about the project I followed a few links to the source in Bitbucket,  but does it use the "LUFA library" ?
 

Offline johnnyfp

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2013, 07:37:25 pm »
Bored, Not at all. I'm approaching the community to get honest feedback to see what the feeling is. And have a discussion about it. Because what are your feeling on all the Ardunio Clones out there which are direct copies. Did they approach ardunio?

DDavidebor, Yes I am in contact with the original author.

Jucole, Yes it does. Why? Licensing issue?
 

jucole

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2013, 08:48:38 pm »
Jucole, Yes it does. Why? Licensing issue?
If you look at the source repos "Manga Screen / Atmega32U4 / LUFA-130303 / README.txt"   you'll see the line  "For Commercial Licensing information, see http://www.lufa-lib.org/license" - which on the site indicates you might need to pay $1500 to use that library in a commerical product - so you'd need to factor that into your costings.

 

Offline johnnyfp

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2013, 08:56:28 pm »
Only if I don't want to Attribute LUFA.

It states "without being subject to the attribution clause of the MIT license that the free version of LUFA is distributed under". Which if I understand correctly means I can sell it as long as I attribute the LUFA to the author.

And on the front page it states "LUFA is free to use - even for commerical purposes, subject to the MIT license restrictions (see project documentation)." (Ooh spelling mistake on their website :p)

And as this project is CC BY-SA and it attributes the author, I think we are in the clear.
 

Offline westfw

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2013, 11:10:03 pm »
It is probably technically "kosher."
It may or may not annoy the original developer.  You may or may not care.  Why don't you ask?

Open source project vary a great deal in motivation.  A lot of them are essentially "I did this and I hope it's something interesting and you can all copy the design."  Others are "this is my big idea and I'm hoping it will make me rich but I made it open-source because of my youthful idealism."  Others are "the evil establishment wants this to be secret but I want it to be available to everyone so I'm making this design completely open."
I don't see any sign that the original developer is selling boards.  That probably means that he has (sensibly!) decided that he doesn't want to be in the board-building business, and would be happy to see someone else take up that role.  I'm sure he would appreciate "compensation" (compensation is always nice), but what he expects could range from "credit" to "a couple of finished/blank boards" to a reasonable royalty to an unreasonable lump payment.   There is no way to tell, just from the fact that the design is "open source."
 

Offline johnnyfp

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2013, 11:16:21 pm »
Opesource is so complex with all it's interpretations. They really need to simplify it.

Anyway, they Guy's are planning on Kickstartering it soon, and have asked me not to put anything up until they launch.

As I'm only doing it to get some hobby money, instead of making a living from it (as I don't see as doing one board will make much money), I'm planning on not launching with their core design and my tweaks now and will wait.

Now, I'm working on a different design, Hopefully one that can be launched when I'm ready :)
 

Offline westfw

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2013, 02:03:54 am »
Quote
They really need to simplify it.
It's extremely likely that that is NOT possible.
Witness the mess of open source software, with assorted people aligning themselves behind licenses with very different meanings, the large number of people publishing things under essentially inappropriate licenses, and the expensive legal teams that have replace "writing our own code" with "making sure we can use this open source code in our product."

IMO, you can't do better than asking the original author.  It's their INTENT that matters, more than the actual verbiage of whatever license they've happened to pick.  Things get complicated with major projects incorporating multiple authors (but that was true for non-open-source things as well; consider the three separate companies you had to license patents from in order to implement v.42bis compression.)

 

Offline fake-name

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2013, 05:02:32 am »
Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see where your consternation is coming from.

It's licensed CC BY SA. That means the author is either explicitly allowing other people to make commercial versions of his hardware (assuming you do the proper attribution and make your files available), or doesn't understand the licensing he's using.

If the person who designed that didn't want people making a commercial version of his hardware, he should have licensed it CC BY NC.

Now, If you want to be extra polite about it, you could let the guy know you're making a product based around his design, but he has already consented to you selling your product. That's what the CC BY SA means.

---

This is actually why I found Dave Jones' complaints about the makerbot/tangibot affair kind of wankish. Basically, the only thing the guy did wrong was be a douche about what he was doing.

If people don't want their open-source projects duplicated and potentially sold (though with proper attribution), they should use a different license, but it's not open source at that point. You can't have your open-source and yet not get clones/knockoffs too.

The whole point of the NC/NC aspect of the license is to make it so people potentially making derivative or (even identical) products/devices don't have to actually contact the original designer, because the consent has already been given. Now, letting the guy know is the nice thing to do, but that's a matter of courtesy, not actual requirement.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 05:11:41 am by fake-name »
 

Offline johnnyfp

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2013, 05:16:54 am »
Yeah, well, there's what the guy want's for his project and what he actually means.

IE "I want to look hip and open hardware and all that, but what I actually mean is I want to sell my product first and get my foot into the marketplace before anyone else."

It's like, let's make it open hardware/source, get a load of help from the community to make my product better, but whatever you do don't sell it before I do.


In this instance, I'm OK with waiting. I'll probably sell a few on the side, and when he goes to market, I'll kickstarter my version.
 

Offline Poe

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2013, 08:28:44 pm »
Legally speaking, do OSHW licenses have any teeth?

OSHW appears to only be a developmental/breakout board community reputation thing. 

I view all hardware design 'licenses' as simply free public domain since I've never cared about my reputation in that community.




 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2013, 08:45:24 pm »
I've been making a derivative of this guys project and have made subtle changes, fixes and added a Case for it and now want to put it to a Crowdfunding service to flog it. See here for details of my project.
Is it kosher to do that? Considering that the project is opensource, and I made changes to it including PCB design changes (Redesigned from the ground up).

 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2013, 08:47:21 pm »
I've been making a derivative of this guys project and have made subtle changes, fixes and added a Case for it and now want to put it to a Crowdfunding service to flog it. See here for details of my project.
Is it kosher to do that?

How about you ask him?
 

Offline johnnyfp

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Re: Selling someone else tweaked Opensource project?
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2013, 08:51:13 pm »
Yeah I have asked. He requested that I hold off until he Kickstarters his larger project that includes the screen I want to Pozible.
 


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