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How to? GPL License for 3D printers

Posted by Gonzalo.agrimbau 
How to? GPL License for 3D printers
May 19, 2017 09:01AM
Hello everyone!

I'm part of a team who has been working on a design for a 3D printer. It's inspired in the Mendel, but with some improvements and we tried to tailor it to the needs of our country (we are from Argentina).

Now, we would like to release this design under a GPL license. We noted that most reprap printers are under that license. It's just that we are not sure how to do it.

How do you release a design under a GPL?

Not only a preference but also an obligation, for what I understand. Since Mendel has a GPL license -and we used the design to come up with ours- we shall use a GPL (or compatible license).

Could someone help me to navigate this process?

Thank you in advance!
Re: How to? GPL License for 3D printers
May 19, 2017 10:14AM
If it's a hardware design that you want to license as open source, then the CERN-OHL license may be more appropriate. The GPL was designed for software.

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Re: How to? GPL License for 3D printers
May 19, 2017 11:09AM
Since you have your design based on the Mendel, and therefore have to follow it's licensing, you need to publish the plans for the parts of your printer that derive from the Mendel design under the same GPL license. OHCL, which is a better license for hardware, is sadly not an option for this.
The easiest way is to publish it (your design) on the Wiki here, which would be appropriate since it is a RepRap derivate. Just attribute it to be a derivative work of the Mendel and note the GPL license that applies. Make sure the design files are made available in a format that is commonly used, obscure and proprietory CAD fileformats would be a bad choice.

Re: How to? GPL License for 3D printers
May 19, 2017 12:23PM
you need to publish the plans for the parts of your printer that derive from the Mendel design
This is not correct. Please see the relevant portion of the current proposed Open Source Hardware (OSHW) Statement of Principles and Definition v1.0. on freedomdefined.org:

Licenses and Hardware
In promoting Open Hardware, it is important to make it clear to designers the extent to which their licenses actually can control their designs. Under U.S. law, and law in many other places, copyright does not apply to electronic [or mechanical] designs. Patents do. The result is that an Open Hardware license can in general be used to restrict the plans but not the manufactured devices or even restatements of the same design that are not textual copies of the original. The applicable section of copyright law is 17.102(b), which says:

In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

So, technically speaking, Gonzalo.agrimbau doesn't need to publish anything. But it would be nice if he did smiling smiley

If you would like to adhere to the spirit of open source, even though you are in no way legally obligated to do so, you can do as Srek suggests and upload the project to RepRap Wiki. Or upload to a place listed in the Printable Part Sources. Many online repositories just have a box you can check to indicate your desired license. Or you can just add a statement to your documentation: "This project is covered by the such-and-such license" and have a link to the relevant license.
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