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Keep it GPL!

Posted by xclusive585 
Keep it GPL!
January 15, 2013 11:01PM
I wanted to take this opportunity to start a thread specifically for the discussion of;

Make sure whichever repository/website/service you choose to use (as an individual or as a community), does not and more importantly WILL NOT conflict with the GPL.




I think there is already much conflict with some of the designs on thingiverse, having been released under the GPL yet thingiverse's terms do not comply. I haven't looked into the details of this. But I'll learn more.
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 15, 2013 11:37PM
Why would the license to the code that runs the website have any connection at all to the licens of content uploaded to that site?


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Re: Keep it GPL!
January 15, 2013 11:58PM
MarcusWolschon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Why would the license to the code that runs the
> website have any connection at all to the licens
> of content uploaded to that site?


I wasn't referring in any way to the code used to run the site....

I was referring to the terms and conditions set for the users of the site.

*sigh*

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/2013 12:00AM by xclusive585.
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 16, 2013 10:30AM
Oh i think thats a given. If it was only me the therms and conditions page would either be inexistent or simply say that everyone is responsible for what they upload on their accounts. Its not the websites job to enforce or recognize ownership of anything, for that part i would refer interested parties to the licensing therm selected by the user on their project's page.
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 16, 2013 04:44PM
I like the principles behind the GPL, but there still seems to be debate over whether GPL really applies to designs for physical objects. The alternatives all seem to be lacking as well.

It may be that there is no way to create a practical and legally meaningful licence for hardware, so as a statement of intent the GPL is better than nothing I guess.
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 16, 2013 10:04PM
Creative commons is thinking about the issue and for the time being applies quite well if you designate a physical object as just another manifestation of the design.

Back to topic,
since the user of the site is free to choose the license,
one just has to be sure to not force the user to grant any permission or use any permission that isn't covered in the license.
Advertisement on pages listing CC-*-NC designs could or could not be a problem.


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Re: Keep it GPL!
January 18, 2013 08:41AM
bobc Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I like the principles behind the GPL, but there
> still seems to be debate over whether GPL really
> applies to designs for physical objects. The
> alternatives all seem to be lacking as well.
>
> It may be that there is no way to create a
> practical and legally meaningful licence for
> hardware, so as a statement of intent the GPL is
> better than nothing I guess.

I think that the GPL can only apply to the design file itself. If you make the design file for your 3D creation available under the GPL, people would only be liable to publish any modification they make to that file under the same license (nothing in the GPL forbid them to recreate it, say as another 3D format and claim it their own).

Nothing the GPL says applies to the printed object resulting of a GPLed design file as far as I understand it.


Most of my technical comments should be correct, but is THIS one ?
Anyway, as a rule of thumb, always double check what people write.
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 18, 2013 11:34AM
DeuxVis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> bobc Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I like the principles behind the GPL, but there
> > still seems to be debate over whether GPL
> really
> > applies to designs for physical objects. The
> > alternatives all seem to be lacking as well.
> >
> > It may be that there is no way to create a
> > practical and legally meaningful licence for
> > hardware, so as a statement of intent the GPL
> is
> > better than nothing I guess.
>
> I think that the GPL can only apply to the design
> file itself. If you make the design file for your
> 3D creation available under the GPL, people would
> only be liable to publish any modification they
> make to that file under the same license (nothing
> in the GPL forbid them to recreate it, say as
> another 3D format and claim it their own).
>
> Nothing the GPL says applies to the printed object
> resulting of a GPLed design file as far as I
> understand it.

Given the nature of what we do here, I think keeping the designs open is far more valuable what people to with the parts. As far as recreating the file under a different license, you can't do that. That's a nono if the file was originally GPL...
You can change the type, do whatever you want, but you can not in any way change it's original license.
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 18, 2013 05:00PM
GPL is simple made for software and doesn't map to designs of physical objects at all.
Creative Commons are made for content and map better but not perfect.
We simply don't have a widespread license for designs yet. If you want something specific, you have to write your own license for your design.


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Re: Keep it GPL!
January 19, 2013 06:19AM
Marcus is right. There is a common misconception that copyright applies to design files, in general it doesn't. Copyright is granted to "creative works", and not "utility works". Design files are regarded as utility works. It comes as a shock for a lot of people to discover their PCB layout is not copyrightable.

Software is one of a few special exceptions. GPL is based on copyright, and since we can't copyright design files we can't use GPL, at least not in any legally enforceable way.

In order to legally protect utility files and hardware design you need to look for other types of IP: trademark, patent and contract. It is not clear how those can be used to create a watertight Free Hardware license. There are some specifically hardware oriented licenses, e.g. CERN, TAPR but they are not very good IMO.

The reality is that for the time being there is no practical hardware license along the lines of GPL, and if you publish a design there is nothing to stop people using it how they like. For me that is not really a problem, as long as they don't claim my design as theirs, or for some other reason take legal action against me. That, I would really like some protection against.

It would be nice if people gave attribution and shared improvements, but I am not too bothered if they don't. Therefore I put CC-BY-SA on design files and an OSHW logo on the PCB, which is really a statement of my intent for how people can use the design, but I realise it is not in any way enforceable.

I am thinking of moving from OSHW to OHANDA, OSHW and the "Open" concept seems to have been subverted by business interest. "Open" now seems to mean "one day we might publish the design in some proprietary format". OHANDA makes it clear that this is about freedom of ideas, not the beneficence of private companies.
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 19, 2013 06:38AM
"as long as they don't claim my design as theirs"
You haven't (and in my jurisdiction you can't) given up your moral rights on your design.

I'm not sure the dictiction between "utility works" and "creative works" exists over here.
I guess that's a common law thing. As long as a design has sufficient originality and is thus not trivial.

Is anyone working on a license fitting for non-artistic 3D designs?
The topic mentioned but not much worked on in the creative commons world.

What companies often do is to incorporate mechanical functions they can't outright patent
with the visual design of parts to copyright them.
And of cause to incorporate their trademark into all kinds of elements.


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Re: Keep it GPL!
January 19, 2013 08:17AM
There is stil some misunderstanding here, copyright is granted automatically, other rights such as patents have to be claimed. If I produce something that isn't copyrightable, I don't have any rights under copyright.

The distinction between utility and creative is not formal in law, but anything that is not "creative enough" can not be copyright, it is not really a question of triviality or originality. I think you are confusing copyright and patents. Even I think of a way to join resistors and transistors in a way that has never been done before, I can not copyright it. I could however, apply for patent.

If you think about it, it would be pointless granting copyright to designs for hardware, because it doesn't prevent anyone creating the hardware, which is what an IP owner actually wants to prevent.

You can't currently copyright visual design elements, however you can claim design patents in some jurisdictions. Apple used one in their case against Samsung. I think the EU are looking at whether design elements can be granted copyright status, under pressure from companies to protect "designer" goods.

The unique thing about the GPL, and copyright, is that it is an automatic right with which an IP owner can specify certain restrictions involving the creation of derivatives. It is like granting people access to your property, you can specify how they may use it. If they refuse, you can withdraw permission.

The only way to place restrictions on the use of a hardware design is to claim ownership via a patent, and then create a contract between IP owner and licensee. Contracts are the normal way to control information in B2B, e.g. with NDAs, but it is not clear how this could be practical to apply in a P2P scenario.
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 19, 2013 08:38AM
Okay. I had a wrong impression about what "utility" was in the case of copyright.

My impression is that for a repository site the important part is not the design.
The important part is the design document that is stored and indexed and published through the repository.

The creator has a copyright on the document and can license the use of that
document including how transformations into other document formats have to be licensed
and what they can be used for. (e.g. you are allowed to make a physical copy only if...)
It would stop with the physical object. That object could be used for any purpose.
So an *-NC could forbid you to sell or advertise the creation of physical copies.
However one who purchase a physical copy from e.g. the creator can sell it.
If you can make a physical copy for personal use, you can sell that copy later
(you may no longer need it or have made a better one) but
the license of the design may forbid you to use it to make physical copies specifically
for the purpose of selling them.

The creator may or may not have a problem if someone recreates a similar or
identical design from scratch or by taking meassurements of a physical object.
That's actually a good thing as it allows the distribution of designs for replacement parts.

I'm now lawyer. Certainly not one knowlegable in multiple jurisdictions.
This is just my impression of how this seems to play out.


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Re: Keep it GPL!
January 19, 2013 08:39AM
bobc Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The distinction between utility and creative is
> not formal in law, but anything that is not
> "creative enough" can not be copyright,

Okay. I had a wrong impression about what "utility" was in the case of copyright.

My impression is that for a repository site the important part is not the design.
The important part is the design document that is stored and indexed and published through the repository.

The creator has a copyright on the document and can license the use of that
document including how transformations into other document formats have to be licensed
and what they can be used for. (e.g. you are allowed to make a physical copy only if...)
It would stop with the physical object. That object could be used for any purpose.
So an *-NC could forbid you to sell or advertise the creation of physical copies.
However one who purchase a physical copy from e.g. the creator can sell it.
If you can make a physical copy for personal use, you can sell that copy later
(you may no longer need it or have made a better one) but
the license of the design may forbid you to use it to make physical copies specifically
for the purpose of selling them.

The creator may or may not have a problem if someone recreates a similar or
identical design from scratch or by taking meassurements of a physical object.
That's actually a good thing as it allows the distribution of designs for replacement parts.

I'm now lawyer. Certainly not one knowlegable in multiple jurisdictions.
This is just my impression of how this seems to play out.


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Re: Keep it GPL!
January 19, 2013 08:41AM
PS: How to contact an administrator here? The forum would not let me post the above message before I included the quote. Some spam-trigger here seems to be over-eager.


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VDX
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 19, 2013 01:10PM
... you can 'Report' the post with a comment what's meant for ... e.g. as 'Spam', or with a request for changing it ...

In the case a spam-filter triggers, you can copy the text, reload the page and paste the text anew ...


Viktor
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 20, 2013 03:51AM
MarcusWolschon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> bobc Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > The distinction between utility and creative is
> > not formal in law, but anything that is not
> > "creative enough" can not be copyright,
>
> Okay. I had a wrong impression about what
> "utility" was in the case of copyright.
>
> My impression is that for a repository site the
> important part is not the design.
> The important part is the design document that is
> stored and indexed and published through the
> repository.
>
> The creator has a copyright on the document and
> can license the use of that
> document including how transformations into other
> document formats have to be licensed
> and what they can be used for. (e.g. you are
> allowed to make a physical copy only if...)

You see, that is the problem, you only have rights to specify restrictions if the document is copyrightable, and copyright is only granted to creative works (and software, and masks for ICs). If the document is a design file for functional part, it is not generally copyrightable, therefore the creator can not place any restrictions on it's use (unless other IP such as patents are claimed).

You can copyright instruction manuals, build guides, software files (including .scad files), designs and objects that are purely artistic and have no function, but you can not copyright PDFs, STLs, STEPs etc for objects that are functional parts.

The reasoning in law is quite clear, an engineering drawing is supposed to be an accurate and unambiguous representation of an object, therefore it can not have a creative element. A non-functional artistic element could be copyrighted, but since it is not functional it can be trivially removed, and then the rest of the design can be freely copied. This reasoning has been tested numerous times in courts, and the case law is quite consistent.

So a design for a bunny which has no function can be copyrighted, and you can use whatever copyright based license to protect it. But a design for a machine, or machine part can not be copyright, and the creator has no rights. This is why GPL doesn't work for hardware, and why it is difficult to create a useful Free/libre Hardware license.

If you are uploading works of art, copyright is fine, but I guess we are more concerned here with functional objects, since those are things that can be improved.

There is a useful article here by an actual lawyer [www.ifosslr.org]. The guys at CERN are trying to improve their OHL licence, some ongoing discussions here [lists.ohwr.org]
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 20, 2013 07:39AM
It's too bad the GPL people haven't released a hardware type license...

But if Cern makes their license appropriate for the masses, that would be the way to go.
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 20, 2013 07:44AM
Quote

Can I use the GPL to license hardware? (#GPLHardware)

Any material that can be copyrighted can be licensed under the GPL. GPLv3 can also be used to license materials covered by other copyright-like laws, such as semiconductor masks. So, as an example, you can release a drawing of a physical object or circuit under the GPL.

In many situations, copyright does not cover making physical hardware from a drawing. In these situations, your license for the drawing simply can't exert any control over making or selling physical hardware, regardless of the license you use. When copyright does cover making hardware, for instance with IC masks, the GPL handles that case in a useful way.

Seems to apply to us pretty well. What am I missing?

I applies to our designs, but cannot limit what people can do with the design. It's the designs we are most concerned with keeping open, correct?

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2013 07:47AM by xclusive585.
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 20, 2013 08:27AM
Quote

It's too bad the GPL people haven't released a hardware type license...

I think a license can only give away some of the rights you have in law, not make up arbitrary rights you don't have. GPL is based on the fact software is subject to copyright, so by default it can't be copied but the GPL allows it, with some restrictions.

With hardware you have to patent it to stop people being able to copy it and then you can grant a license that allows it with some restrictions.


[www.hydraraptor.blogspot.com]
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 31, 2013 12:04PM
xclusive585 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Seems to apply to us pretty well. What am I
> missing?

The text in the very next paragraph!

> In many situations, copyright does not cover
> making physical hardware from a drawing. In these
> situations, your license for the drawing simply
> can't exert any control over making or selling
> physical hardware, regardless of the license you
> use.
When copyright does cover making hardware,
> for instance with IC masks, the GPL handles that
> case in a useful way.

Having copyright in a drawing of a design is next to useless, because it does not transfer to the design itself.

i.e. if someone uses my drawing to create a circuit, then modifies the circuit, I cannot lay any obligation to publish the modifications because I have no claim on the circuit, only my *drawing* of it.

If someone decides that they want to publish my drawing in a book of useful circuits, only then would I have a copyright claim.
Re: Keep it GPL!
January 31, 2013 09:31PM
bobc Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> xclusive585 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Seems to apply to us pretty well. What am I
> > missing?
>
> The text in the very next paragraph!
>
> > In many situations, copyright does not
> cover
> > making physical hardware from a drawing. In
> these
> > situations, your license for the drawing simply
> > can't exert any control over making or selling
> > physical hardware, regardless of the license
> you
> > use. When copyright does cover making hardware,
> > for instance with IC masks, the GPL handles
> that
> > case in a useful way.
>
> Having copyright in a drawing of a design is next
> to useless, because it does not transfer to the
> design itself.
>
> i.e. if someone uses my drawing to create a
> circuit, then modifies the circuit, I cannot lay
> any obligation to publish the modifications
> because I have no claim on the circuit, only my
> *drawing* of it.
>
> If someone decides that they want to publish my
> drawing in a book of useful circuits, only then
> would I have a copyright claim.

But your original files cannot be copyrighted by anyone else is my point. It's a start, and better than no protection at all.

It's no solution to the bigger problem we have been discussing-- keeping the function of the designs open in a fashion that forces future iterations by others to be open as well.
Re: Keep it GPL!
May 16, 2015 04:50AM
Quote
bobc
Having copyright in a drawing of a design is next to useless, because it does not transfer to the design itself.
i.e. if someone uses my drawing to create a circuit, then modifies the circuit, I cannot lay any obligation to publish the modifications because I have no claim on the circuit, only my *drawing* of it.
If someone decides that they want to publish my drawing in a book of useful circuits, only then would I have a copyright claim.

Does it work the other way? Let us say that a company obtains a patent for a mechanism they designed. It is not a very complicated mechanism, but it is non-trivial and original, so they are awarded the patent. Then I make an artistic work (or let us say, a series of artistic works) depicting the mechanism - maybe in the format of oil paintings. I own the copyright to these pictures, and I confirm this with a copyright statement on my website, where I post scans of my paintings. But I release these under a free license, perhaps GPL, MIT, or a relevant Creative Commons one. Given the whole series of my pictures, someone could reconstruct the mechanism within tolerance.

My understanding so far is that if they do so, they would be in violation of patent, and potentially setting themselves up for legal trouble if the company finds out. But I would not be (maybe? This is my question) and if I had enough people visiting my site and downloading my scans and doing their own reconstruction, the company would have too many instances of infringement to pursue them all.

This would still be underhanded for me to do in this hypothetical situation, but would it be legal?
Re: Keep it GPL!
June 26, 2015 01:54PM
Quote
Arlo James Barnes
Quote
bobc
Having copyright in a drawing of a design is next to useless, because it does not transfer to the design itself.
i.e. if someone uses my drawing to create a circuit, then modifies the circuit, I cannot lay any obligation to publish the modifications because I have no claim on the circuit, only my *drawing* of it.
If someone decides that they want to publish my drawing in a book of useful circuits, only then would I have a copyright claim.

Does it work the other way? Let us say that a company obtains a patent for a mechanism they designed. It is not a very complicated mechanism, but it is non-trivial and original, so they are awarded the patent. Then I make an artistic work (or let us say, a series of artistic works) depicting the mechanism - maybe in the format of oil paintings. I own the copyright to these pictures, and I confirm this with a copyright statement on my website, where I post scans of my paintings. But I release these under a free license, perhaps GPL, MIT, or a relevant Creative Commons one. Given the whole series of my pictures, someone could reconstruct the mechanism within tolerance.

My understanding so far is that if they do so, they would be in violation of patent, and potentially setting themselves up for legal trouble if the company finds out. But I would not be (maybe? This is my question) and if I had enough people visiting my site and downloading my scans and doing their own reconstruction, the company would have too many instances of infringement to pursue them all.

This would still be underhanded for me to do in this hypothetical situation, but would it be legal?

I don't think you, as the painter would have anything to worry about. People take photos all the time that contain patented items and/or items of registered designs and post them on public forums.

I'm not sure if the situation has changed but many years ago, when software was shipped on cassette tapes, the only way the authors could provide enforceable ways of protecting their work was by getting the software to reference words in specified places in the printed instruction manual. This would render the game useless without the printed document which was protected by well established copyright laws. I think they work around this by forcing you to accept a EULA before using the software and/or requiring you to obtain a unique and difficult to generate license key.

I think an scad file, as a piece of software, can be protected by copyright and further rights can be granted by GPL. Where it starts to get sticky is whether or not the STL files or the gcode files produced from the scad file are also copyrightable and/or copyleftable. If you produced your own STL file from a GPL scad file then it would not, its self, be copyrighted or copylefted. If you downloaded an STL file from a repository that said it was copyright and GPL then, I think, that's a different matter. The GPL V3 Q&A does talk about outputs produced by software saying the license could not be inferred to the product unless it contained significant fortions of the original copyright material.


Using ABSPrusa Mendel Zaphod with Pronterface and slic3r 1.0.1. Printing well with 3mm PLA and ABS through 2 x J Head Mk IV b and Wade Geared Exruders. Controlled using RAMPS1.4 board running Marlin_v1
Re: Keep it GPL!
July 11, 2015 12:19AM
Quote
MarcusWolschon
GPL is simple made for software and doesn't map to designs of physical objects at all.
Creative Commons are made for content and map better but not perfect.
We simply don't have a widespread license for designs yet. If you want something specific, you have to write your own license for your design.

is not true, GPL is also for hardware they say so on GNU website link:
[www.gnu.org]

here is a list of GPL compatible licences link:
[www.gnu.org]
Re: Keep it GPL!
October 07, 2015 02:53PM
The patents are already in the public domain, viewing is not controlled, just use and especially commercial use.


Kalle
--
Lahti, Finland
The only stable form of government is Open Source Government. - Kalle Pihlajasaari 2013
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