[cc-community] Open Hardware Licence
John Hendrik Weitzmann
jhweitzmann at mx.uni-saarland.de
Thu May 7 12:32:52 EDT 2009
> 1. Hopefully someone will tell me that I am wrong in my assumption that the
> real world doesn't lend itself to the ideology of open source hardware.
> Copyleft has problems with the norm of patent and even though there
> are a small
> amount of open source hardware projects their validity is still to
> be tested.
open access _can_ work with technological designs, but at the moment
you either have descriptions under GFDL/GPL + some assertions and
promises (which produces a legal mess) or tailored public licenses
(which prevents standard terms to emerge) or some weird things like
I opt for a Tech Commons License for any tech design that is eligible
for a patent or as a utility model. All specific attempts relating to
IT hardware or 'green patents only' fall short of what could be
(see artcle in forthcoming book "Intelligent Multimedia - Sharing
Creative Works in a Digital World", to be printed in june 2009 by EPAP)
> 2. As I say I am unsure of copyleft to specific hardware layouts, but
> references to the network architecture in terms of implementation and
> layout are more likely?
copyleft works with anything copyrighted, i.e.
- creative works
- software code
- micro ship layout
it does not work with
- ideas, concepts, business models
- anything protectable through register rights only (inventions,
technological solutions, industrial processes, DNA snippets, ...)
> I am quite prepared to open my IP with the goal of any usage
> providing reference to the original source. I am passionate about
> energy saving
> and also have a dislike to corporate IP but the main thing is that an
> open source collaborative effort could accelerate a common standard in
> a confused arena. Just to kick-start the idea is of importance and I
> would greatly appreciate any help.
the soundest way IMO would be to simply go _very_ public with the
general concept in a very quick manner. Once your design is
intentionally communicated publicly (in journals, on expert blogs, at
trade fairs) it enters 'state of the art', can't be re-appropriated
and copyleft is no longer needed. The attribution is another thing.
Best for that would probably be to publish both general and detailed
descriptions under a standard copyright license that preserves
attribution. That of course only covers the attribution as author of
the descriptions, not as inventor of the design, but under most
jurisdiction you are entitled to be named as the inventor even without
any patent or other certificate (at least in Germany you would be).
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