Distributing and copying RepRap
RepRap is copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 University of Bath, Adrian Bowyer, the RepRap researchers (see the project's People page), and other contributors.
West End Stables
RepRap is free; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public Licence as published by the Free Software Foundation; either Version 2 of the Licence, or (at your option) any later version.
RepRap is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public Licence for more details.
For this purpose the words "software" and "library" in the GNU General Public Licence are taken to mean any and all computer programs computer files designs images videos sound recordings data results documents and all other copyright information available from the RepRap project.
The copyright covers the teardrop device (see above left), the neologism "RepRap" in upper, lower, or any mix of cases in any typeface, and the phrase "Fused Filament Fabrication" and its abbreviation to "FFF". The teardrop, "RepRap", "Fused Filament Fabrication" and "FFF" are also covered by the GPL. Anyone can use them freely in any way they choose, but they may not be registered as trademarks or restricted in any other way. You may use them with significant extra words and graphics in trademarks and the like, just as you would be able to with words from the dictionary.
You can read the GNU General Public Licence here. This page you are reading now introduces the licence for the entire RepRap project; that licence applies to all of it; if the links to the licence do not work, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02110 , or see http://www.gnu.org/.
RepRap, Patents and Copyright
The GNU General Public Licence (GPL) under which RepRap is licenced uses copyright, which is the reason that RepRap is copyright. Slightly counterintuitively, this allows anyone to copy and to develop RepRap freely (see the GPL for more details).
RepRap makes every effort not to use patented technology, and we encourage people to publish all their RepRap ideas and inventions to prevent their being patented by others. (This is what's known as establishing prior art.) Good places to publish are this Wiki (which automatically date-stamps and records any edits) or possibly Defensive Publications.
The patenting of 3D-printing (and other) inventions inhibits their free development and exploitation. The Open Invention Network (OIN) was started by individuals, organisations and companies to free existing patents and to prevent known or obvious ideas from being patented. RepRap is not a member of OIN (RepRap is too nebulous and diverse a group of people to be a member of anything). But if individuals, organisations and companies working with RepRap wish to join, that is entirely in line with RepRap principles and ideals. People may also care to promote the idea of Free Patents.
Finally, some people have taken open inventions and tried to patent them. When a patent application is submitted people have a right and a duty to object to it if they know that the invention is already in the public domain. A useful website if you want to help with this effort is Ask Patents, the idea for which is described here.
-- Main.AdrianBowyer - 14 Dec 2006; 8 July 2016