Electronics > Open Source Hardware

What licens should I chose?

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The one the OP needs is:
Creative Commons, CC BY-NC-SA (or perhaps CC BY-NC).


Those are bullet-proof.

I would say CC-BY-SA myself.

GPL is the right idea but just not the best fit for hardware.

But CC-BY-SA is the equivalent of GPL for hardware and artwork etc.

I personally leave out the NC because I don't think that helps anyone or makes the world a better place.
It's just being a d*** for no reason and actually kind of shoots your own self in the foot.

So in other words, user of your stuff must:
* preserve your name/credit (they can add their own, they just can never remove yours)
* what they got for free, so must they make available for free to the next person

Trying to add any further limits like non-commercial just limits the usefulness of your efforts and you yourself would have much less goodies today if everyone else had always used non-commercial for anything open source. I don't care if someone makes money somehow using something I made, I only care that they don't try to steal it by pretending they created it alone, and don't try to deny it to others when it was given to them for free.

I think NC is really only good for artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, etc, where they want to sell versions of the things themselves.

I myself will tend to shy away from using anything with NC in it's limits, because I don't want to invest any time figuring out cool hacks and uses and figure out all the quirks and learn something inside-out, only to maybe one day discover I can't use it. Even if I have no intention to use something in a commercial capacity, it could still come up anyway by chance. Maybe out of the blue one day I need to solve a problem for a friend that owns a coffee shop, and it becomes a paid job. Maybe I want to make a youtube video and it's just one part of the project but since the video might be monetized, even though I don't actually have a real channel and no followers and would probably make 11 cents in 5 years... it's technically commercial use. It's not worth the worry of the risk. Safer to just avoid things that might possibly be a problem  even if I don't *expect* that problem.
Even if you think about the purely nice sort of usage like educational. I don't want to risk learning how to make a power supply from an NC design when I might get a job later designing power supplies. What if it's something fancier than a power supply, and what if there is some unique recognizable trick in there?

But the other limitations that just say "don't steal" don't have that sort of problem. I don't have to worry that one day I might want to steal. So GPL and CC-BY-SA materials are safe as houses, use all day every day for as many jobs as possible.

Some people try to paint GPL and CC-BY-SA as being just as poisonous and untouchable as what I just described, and resent when people don't license things MIT. "great, your stuff is useless to me then." Don't worry about that. They have no argument. That is only crying that they're not allowed to steal and there is no reason to sympathize at all.

Other possible candidates for hardware are the three variants of CERN Open Hardware Licences (https://cern-ohl.web.cern.ch/)

CERN-OHL-S does look good.


--- Quote from: tunk on December 06, 2021, 03:51:56 pm ---How are you going to enforce it?

--- End quote ---


Unless you've got piles of money sitting there ready to sue anyone for breaching the licence, and good luck doing that in places like China, why bother?


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