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Use of open source designs

Posted by MotoBarsteward 
Use of open source designs
June 12, 2015 04:23PM
So, if a design is open source, for example, take Wade's accessible extruder, is it permissible to take that design, modify it whilst keeping the new design private and not publicly available but make and sell parts from the modified design?


Using ABSPrusa Mendel Zaphod with Pronterface and slic3r 1.3.0. 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_v1.1.9
Re: Use of open source designs
June 12, 2015 04:36PM
no.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 12, 2015 07:11PM
It is considered ill mannered to do so. The GPL states that you must release your modified source files if tou use a GPL resource as the basis of your new design.

"The fourth section for version 2 of the license and the seventh section of version 3 require that programs distributed as pre-compiled binaries are accompanied by a copy of the source code, a written offer to distribute the source code via the same mechanism as the pre-compiled binary, or the written offer to obtain the source code that the user got when they received the pre-compiled binary under the GPL."


[en.m.wikipedia.org]

Most reprap projects are listed as GPL. Check with the author for permission.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 13, 2015 01:31AM
Hi MotoBarsteward,

What you are asking about is permissible. It is permissible because the GPL does not apply to the design of a 'useful object' like an extruder.

For more information, please read the excellent article by Michael Weinberg called What's the deal with copyright and 3D printing?

Here is a relevant excerpt from that article:
Quote
Michael Weinberg
To put it simply, you cannot license what you do not have. A license is a conditional permission to use: I grant you the right to make copies of my work as long as you comply with these conditions. If you do not comply with the conditions, then your copies are in violation of my copyright.

However, if there is no copyright, there is no need for permission, and no way to enforce the terms. A license without an underlying right is legally meaningless.

For example, adding a Creative Commons license to a door hinge (a useful object) grants you no legally binding control over anyone who uses that hinge. If someone copies the hinge without complying with the license, there is nothing you can do because the copies do not infringe on any rights.

But thetazzbot is totally right when he says it is considered ill mannered. Even though it may be legally permissible, it will certainly get you a lot of bad publicity and negative attention from the open source communities.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 13, 2015 06:17AM
[m.ebay.co.uk]

Although it is not currently for sale.


Using ABSPrusa Mendel Zaphod with Pronterface and slic3r 1.3.0. 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_v1.1.9
Re: Use of open source designs
June 13, 2015 10:30AM
Quote
MattMoses

What you are asking about is permissible. It is permissible because the GPL does not apply to the design of a 'useful object' like an extruder.

...

I do not agree with you, Matt (and consequently I do not agree with the general gist of Michael Weinberg's article), and I can provide you with thousands of examples of useful designs that are protected by copyright. Obviously there are also thousands of designs that are in the public domain and not protected by copyright. So the analysis has to be done case by case.

As for Greg's Wade's Geared Extruder, not only can the design itself be protected by copyright (although I doubt either Greg or Wade would go to the trouble of legally asserting their respective copyrights in case of infringement), the OpenSCAD source code for Greg's various versions is licensed under, and protected by the GPL (Wade's original extruder was not designed with OpenSCAD, as all Greg's versions were). I would say that any violation of the GPL in this case could be the object of successful legal action, with the violator having to withdraw his product, pay compensation and all legal costs of the lawsuit.

It is not just "bad manners" to violate the GPL, that is a huge understatement. Violation of the GPL is a violation of a legal contract, which is not permissible under the law. Read the GPL for more details.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 13, 2015 12:46PM
Well considering that the only reason the op had an idea for improvement was that there exists a base design to improve upon, thus it is obviously bad judgement and thought process to take open source, improve it, then close source that improvement.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 13, 2015 03:04PM
Quote
AndrewBCN
I can provide you with thousands of examples of useful designs that are protected by copyright.
OK, name some. Name something where the functional aspects of a useful object are protected by copyright.

Quote
AndrewBCN
As for Greg's Wade's Geared Extruder, not only can the design itself be protected by copyright
Says who? You? I just provided you with a well researched article written by someone who knows what they are talking about, and it stated clearly that No, something like Greg's Wade's Geared Extruder cannot be protected by copyright. Your rebuttal to this is "I do not agree with the article". Well, that is fine if you do not agree with it, but that does not mean you understand intellectual property law. You can believe what you want, but I feel compelled to make at least a little effort to stop you from misleading other forum readers with your incorrect and ill-informed opinions.

Quote
AndrewBCN
Read the GPL for more details.
You don't get it. The GPL does not apply to the design of a functional object. Sure, you can protect the files themselves, but all someone has to do to get around this is to re-write their own OpenSCAD or draw up the design using another CAD package.

If the GPL (or some other license) really worked the way you seem to think it works, no company would bother with patents. They would simply slap a GPL or Creative Commons license on their work and be done with it. Serious people understand that if they want to protect their designs they have to patent them, because patents provide legal protection for designs of useful objects and the GPL does not.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 13, 2015 03:35PM
Err no, As I under stand it
A patent is used to stop people creating work based on another person work or derived from another persons work.
GPL et all is there to encourage it but prevent people from making money from another partys work.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 13, 2015 04:50PM
Patents and copyrights are both legal instruments that are designed to protect what is known as intellectual property (IP).

The GPL license, which was designed basically to protect source code, is quite interesting because it protects the freedom of users of a piece of code, the freedom to modify and improve this piece of code. It is also a contract, which you implicitly accept whenever you decide to use that piece of source code. It also asserts the copyrights of the developers of the piece of code.

Note that the GPL works alongside standard copyright laws, it is not a substitute for them. The GPL was created very exactly because standard copyright laws did not provide the IP protection that was felt was necessary when the concept of free (as in Freedom, not as in free beer) software emerged. It actually has nothing to do with people making money or not from a piece of code from another party's work.

Matt, I am going to think about a detailed rebuttal of Michael Weinberg's article. I think he wrote it from the point of view of somebody who has never contributed a single piece of code or a complex 3D design under the GPL (note that he has contributed a few trivial STL's on Thingiverse, see here [www.thingiverse.com] and judge for yourself). Since I have contributed various pieces of code under the GPL and various 3D designs too, I guess I have a better understanding of what the GPL is designed to protect than he does.

Specifically, for Greg's Wade's Geared Extruder I did a little bit of research which I have detailed in the wiki, it can be found here: [reprap.org]

As for a simple example of functional objets that have their design protected by copyright, just go to google images, and search for "Bauhaus table". Does the design of a Bauhaus table cover its functional aspect? I would say that very essentially it does, yes.

Edit: on page 2 of his white paper MW states "Copyright covers artistic, creative works." That is his basic premise in fact, and it is wrong. For example, the text of the GPL is copyright. Copyright can be used to protect many things that are not artistic works. If you think about it, copyright can be used to protect all sorts of different kinds of IP, among other things, 3D designs with no particular artistic value.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/13/2015 05:28PM by AndrewBCN.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 13, 2015 07:23PM
Hi AndrewBCN,

I appreciate your civil and level-headed response. Sorry my earlier reply was somewhat hostile. I look forward to seeing your rebuttal of the Weinberg article. Even though we disagree, I think we can have an interesting conversation.

Just a few comments:

Quote
AndrewBCN
The GPL license ... is also a contract
According to several sources, the GPL is not a contract.

Quote
AndrewBCN
Specifically, for Greg's Wade's Geared Extruder I did a little bit of research
I have seen the page you made on Greg's Wade's - it is a nice page. (Just for the record, I am familiar with the history of Greg's Wade's and have made posts on this topic before: see here and here for example.)

Quote
AndrewBCN
search for "Bauhaus table". Does the design of a Bauhaus table cover its functional aspect?
The answer to this question deals with a concept called "severability". Many examples are discussed in the Weinberg article. Here's a quote from MW:
Quote
Michael Weinberg
In a report accompanying the Copyright Act, Congress explained that it did not intend copyright to protect industrial products that happen to have “aesthetically satisfying and valuable” shapes.

Quote
AndrewBCN
on page 2 of his white paper MW states "Copyright covers artistic, creative works." That is his basic premise in fact, and it is wrong.
I think this is a minor technicality. The USPTO says this about copyright:
Quote
USPTO
A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 13, 2015 10:56PM
Andrew, your understanding of how copyright applies to physical objects is has no basis in US law. It's well established law to that on which copyright applies. The USPTO details quite clearly what is and isn't covered under copyright. A Wade's geared extruder is most certainly not covered by copyright though the source files are. In fact US law specifically differentiates each type.

While it's poor form to copy or modify an open design and not release the source, there are several that can and do reverse engineer those designs and post them as open. Nothing short of a patent will legally protect the reverse engineering of an item like an extruder.

ON EDIT:

Here's the text of the law, [www.copyright.gov]



Quote

§ 102 . Subject matter of copyright: In general

(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:

(1) literary works;

(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;

(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;

(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;

(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;

(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

(7) sound recordings; and

(8) architectural works.

(b) 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.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/13/2015 11:07PM by vegasloki.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 13, 2015 11:45PM
So what you're saying is, all these people who put this GPL on their "things" are just naive and uninformed lol

Brilliant.

So the copyright/GPL might cover the FILE that the drawing is in (the openscad file) but not the actual implementation/design.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 08:51AM
@ Matt

Indeed, I have read MW's paper and I am afraid it is not academic quality as e.g. it lacks precise references that would allow one to verify his quotes. When you realize that even his description of what copyright can cover/protect is wrong, then you begin to doubt the rest of the reasoning that leads him to the conclusion that 3D designs cannot be protected by copyright if they are at all functional.

The lack of precise quotes also makes it impossible to rebuke some of his arguments. For example, how am I supposed to counter his incorrect arguments or wrong description of a legal case if he does not provide the information to find the case in question?

I can only provide counter-examples of my own, but that is not really convincing, is it?

I chose the example of Bauhaus tables because the Bauhaus movement conditions its aesthetics to function, so there is no way you can separate form (design) from function (table), which I would argue is inseparable in a great many cases.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 09:17AM
@vegasloki

I have had a couple of conversations with patent lawyers and the legal department in a couple of companies I worked for. They are usually out of their league when it comes to new technologies that give rise to new legal issues i.e. they themselves have to consult with other people, including types like you and me, to get a better understanding of the technology and its various aspects that can give rise to legal challenges, and then they get ready to go to court and argue - that's their job.

I think it is an accepted fact that laws evolve to fit the evolution of society. Specially in the US where Common Law is used. Simply because legislators cannot design laws that will cover situations that have not appeared yet. I would very much say that 3D designs is one such situation and one such technology where laws and lawyers are still catching up in 2015.

I would certainly expect 3D designs to be covered by copyright, as they are an intellectual endeavor just as worth of copyright protection as, for example, architectural works (which are also 3D designs and use much the same 3D tools to be created nowadays) - which can be found at the bottom of the list of the US Copyright Law that you quoted. Note that software and texts such as the GPL are not explicitly mentionned either in that same list and yet both are covered by copyright nowadays.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 10:10AM
Quote
thetazzbot
So what you're saying is, all these people who put this GPL on their "things" are just naive and uninformed lol

Brilliant.

So the copyright/GPL might cover the FILE that the drawing is in (the openscad file) but not the actual implementation/design.

@ thetazzbot

Indeed that is very exactly the quite ridiculous paradox that can be derived from the arbitrary (and incorrect, imo) distinction between the OpenSCAD source (which is protected by copyright under present copyright laws, and can be licensed under the GPL if the creator/developer of the OpenSCAD source decides so), and the design that it embodies/expresses.

Another paradox is created when you artificially and arbitrarily try to separate a 3D design from its functional aspect, e.g. in the case of the Bahaus tables (which I have provided as examples above). For scores of 3D designs you obviously cannot separate the design from its functionality because the design's raison d'être is very exactly its functionality.

Also saying that any 3D design that has any functionality whatsoever can only be protected by a patent is somewhat ludicrous when one considers the cost of patent registration and patent legal defense, and basically denies any legal protection for the vast majority (something like 99.999%) of all 3D designs with any functionality whatsoever, while providing full copyright protection for any 3D design that has even the smallest bit of aesthetical value - yet another paradox!
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 11:54AM
Regarding legal enforcement of the GPL, and its status as a legal and/or social contract, I am not really competent to discuss these matters and I would defer to the legal counsel of the Free Software Foundation (founded in 1985, see [en.wikipedia.org] ), particularly Eben Moglen of the Software Freedom Law Center (launched in 2005, see [en.wikipedia.org]).

Note that the last time I exchanged a couple of emails with Richard Stallman (something like 20 years ago - yes I am that old!), he was quite skeptical * about the very idea of Open Source Hardware, but he may have changed his mind since then...

*: I mean "quite skeptical" here as an understatement given how stern and obtuse RS can be.

Edit:

Enforcing the GNU GPL by Eben Moglen: [www.gnu.org]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/2015 11:56AM by AndrewBCN.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 02:23PM
Quote
thetazzbot
So what you're saying is, all these people who put this GPL on their "things" are just naive and uninformed
I cannot tell if you are joking or being serious, but yes that is exactly what I am saying.

Take for example these things I put on Thingiverse under the GPL: here, here, here, here, here, and here. I used the GPL for these things because I did not want some self-appointed license-policing open sourcer to hassle me because they thought the work was derived from some earlier GPL project. Easy to avoid that mess altogether by clicking the 'GPL' button to begin with. I wonder how much this effect has helped the GPL to propagate in other instances.

I have never expected that the GPL would actually 'protect' my work on Thingiverse, and as soon as I upload something I consider it to be effectively in the public domain.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 02:37PM
Quote
MattMoses
Quote
thetazzbot
So what you're saying is, all these people who put this GPL on their "things" are just naive and uninformed
I cannot tell if you are joking or being serious, but yes that is exactly what I am saying.

Take for example these things I put on Thingiverse under the GPL: here, here, here, here, here, and here. I used the GPL for these things because I did not want some self-appointed license-policing open sourcer to hassle me because they thought the work was derived from some earlier GPL project. Easy to avoid that mess altogether by clicking the 'GPL' button to begin with. I wonder how much this effect has helped the GPL to propagate in other instances.

I have never expected that the GPL would actually 'protect' my work on Thingiverse, and as soon as I upload something I consider it to be effectively in the public domain.

@ Matt,

And here I must return your earlier compliment
Quote
Matt
"but that does not mean you understand intellectual property law"
, because it seems you have some misconceptions about what or who the GPL is supposed to protect. The GPL does not double as a copyright (it is even sometimes called a copyleft exactly for that reason), it basically protects the freedom of others to modify and improve the work that the license applies to.

To quote Eben Moglen from the exact article that I linked to above: "The GPL, on the other hand, subtracts from copyright rather than adding to it."

I advise anybody here to read and make their utmost effort to understand the GPL, and also to read other Open Source licenses and understand how they differ (sometimes quite essentially) from the GPL.

Edit: since I used the GPL to license all the OpenSCAD source files/ 3D designs I have uploaded/published on Thingiverse, you should count me among the "naïve and uninformed". smoking smiley
Edit 2: Among the "naïve and uninformed" you can also find Josef Prusa, Johann C. Rocholl and Greg Frost, so I guess at least I am in good company!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/16/2015 10:24AM by AndrewBCN.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 03:02PM
Quote
AndrewBCN
because it seems you have some misconceptions about what or who the GPL is supposed to protect
I am no expert on this, but I steadfastly maintain that my understanding of the GPL is still much much more accurate than yours.

I am glad that you posted Eben Moglen's quote because it actually strengthens my argument. What Prof. Moglen is saying is that the GPL provides no additional protection to the author than does copyright.

GPL begins with copyright - that is the legal basis. The GPL then relaxes or weakens the legal protections guaranteed by copyright. The reason that Michael Weinberg and vegasloki and myself all keep carrying on about copyright is because copyright is the most restrictive, strongest, example of any type of 'license' like GPL or Creative Commons or whatever. All of these licenses derive from copyright. So when we are talking about the maximum possible protection that any of these licenses can provide, we can always talk about copyright because none of these licenses can ever provide more protection than copyright.

Let me say that again just to make sure it sinks in:

The GPL does not provide any more legal protection to an author than does copyright.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 03:08PM
Quote
MattMoses
... 'protect' my work on Thingiverse, and as soon as I upload something I consider it to be effectively in the public domain.

Actually GPL and Public Domain are completely distinct things, so using the GPL license and considering that your works are in the public domain is incorrect - because they are not. If you really want your works to be in the Public Domain you should use a Public Domain license.

Unfortunately Thingiverse only offers a deprecated Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication license, which was deprecated because it was US-specific and other legal limitations. See here for details and the possible substitutes:

[creativecommons.org]
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 03:22PM
Quote
AndrewBCN
Indeed that is very exactly the quite ridiculous paradox that can be derived from the arbitrary (and incorrect, imo) distinction between the OpenSCAD source (which is protected by copyright under present copyright laws, and can be licensed under the GPL if the creator/developer of the OpenSCAD source decides so), and the design that it embodies/expresses.

Another paradox is created when you artificially and arbitrarily try to separate a 3D design from its functional aspect, e.g. in the case of the Bahaus tables (which I have provided as examples above). For scores of 3D designs you obviously cannot separate the design from its functionality because the design's raison d'être is very exactly its functionality.

Also saying that any 3D design that has any functionality whatsoever can only be protected by a patent is somewhat ludicrous when one considers the cost of patent registration and patent legal defense, and basically denies any legal protection for the vast majority (something like 99.999%) of all 3D designs with any functionality whatsoever, while providing full copyright protection for any 3D design that has even the smallest bit of aesthetical value - yet another paradox!

If I write some computer program (in C, Java or whatever) and I release it under the GPL, this does not prevent somebody from writing a different program that does the very same thing and release it under a non free licence, provided that he did not copy my program directly. In other words if I release a piece of code under the GPL (or any other licence), I cannot protect the output of the algorithm implemented by that code (and not even the algorithm itself), I can only protect a specific implementation of such an algorithm in a chosen programming language, that is the piece of code that I put under the GPL. Therefore the GPL covers the syntax of my program, not its semantics.

I cannot see how some program code can be equivalent to a design, because the code itself does not necessarily contain all the information needed to define the intended design (nor the original part of it), although the program supposedly contains at least one constructive method to obtain an instance of that design given an interpreter of the language in which the program is written. I see the design more as a set of properties that the output of the program satisfies, properties that are not always explicitly written in the code. So the design is definitely something related to the semantics of the program, not to its syntax, and having it covered by the GPL would be very surprising (as well as worrying if instead of the GPL the code is released under a closed licence).

On the other hand, I do not see why the distinction between program and (3d) design should be a problem. Valid ways to define designs exist (as done in patents, for example), so nobody prevents us from releasing such definitions under a proper open licence (maybe even the GPL?).

All this makes sense of course only if open designs can be enforced in court, so it would be great if somebody knew at least one successful case.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 03:24PM
Quote
MattMoses
Quote
AndrewBCN
because it seems you have some misconceptions about what or who the GPL is supposed to protect
I am no expert on this, but I steadfastly maintain that my understanding of the GPL is still much much more accurate than yours.

I am glad that you posted Eben Moglen's quote because it actually strengthens my argument. What Prof. Moglen is saying is that the GPL provides no additional protection to the author than does copyright.

That is an incorrect way of restating Eben Moglen's phrase. The GPL's purpose is not at all about providing any additional rights beyond copyrights, or extend the copyrights in any way. And this is what you seem to refuse or be unable to understand about the GPL.

Quote
MattMoses
GPL begins with copyright - that is the legal basis.

There is a vast legal framework for IP, including case law in the US. Your statement that the GPL begins with copyright is imo incorrect and I don't agree with it. Nowhere in the text of the GPL can it be found that the GPL begins with copyright or is derived from copyright, and I don't think Eben Moglen would agree with this idea either.

Quote
MattMoses
The GPL then relaxes or weakens the legal protections guaranteed by copyright. The reason that Michael Weinberg and vegasloki and myself all keep carrying on about copyright is because copyright is the most restrictive, strongest, example of any type of 'license' like GPL or Creative Commons or whatever. All of these licenses derive from copyright. So when we are talking about the maximum possible protection that any of these licenses can provide, we can always talk about copyright because none of these licenses can ever provide more protection than copyright.

Let me say that again just to make sure it sinks in:

The GPL does not provide any more legal protection to an author than does copyright.

Indeed, and the GPL was not created, written and re-written in any way to provide any more legal protection to an author beyond what copyright already does, because that is not at all its purpose. So again I advise you to re-read the GPL and try to understand its purpose and the meaning of Eben Moglen's phrase: "The GPL, on the other hand, subtracts from copyright rather than adding to it.". I think you are missing the whole point of GPL, and in fact the whole point of Open Source.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 03:39PM
Quote
cristian

If I write some computer program (in C, Java or whatever) and I release it under the GPL, this does not prevent somebody from writing a different program that does the very same thing and release it under a non free licence, provided that he did not copy my program directly. In other words if I release a piece of code under the GPL (or any other licence), I cannot protect the output of the algorithm implemented by that code
...

Cristian, thank you for joining in this discussion, and sorry for quoting only the beginning of your post, but I have to ask you to rethink your argument from that point on. The reason I am asking you that, is because like Matt, you seem to be missing the main point of the GPL, which is not to prevent other people from copying your code or re-using it.

The purpose of the GPL is to guarantee the freedom of users of your code to re-use your code, modify it and possibly improve it.

If you understand that, you can begin to understand how the GPL can be applied to a 3D design: by licensing your 3D design under the GPL, you guarantee the freedom of users of your design to re-use it, modify it and possibly improve upon it.

Look at what happened to the Prusa i3 after Josef Prusa released it under the GPL, or the Kossel Mini, or Greg's Wade's Geared Extruder, just to mention a few examples from the RepRap universe.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 03:40PM
Let me take a step back, Andrew. Do you agree with the following statement?

If you cannot copyright it, you cannot GPL it.

If you agree with that, our conversation proceeds one way. If not, another way.

I stand firm in my claim that nothing can be GPL'd unless it could also be copyrighted.

The question at hand is: Can a design for an extruder be protected by the GPL?

My position is: No. An extruder design cannot be protected by the GPL.

Here is my argument:

1. You cannot GPL what you cannot copyright.
2. You cannot copyright an extrduer design.
3. Therefore you cannot GPL an extruder design.

Which part(s) of that do you disagree with? smiling smiley
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 04:10PM
Quote
MattMoses
Let me take a step back, Andrew. Do you agree with the following statement?

If you cannot copyright it, you cannot GPL it.

If you agree with that, our conversation proceeds one way. If not, another way.

I stand firm in my claim that nothing can be GPL'd unless it could also be copyrighted.

The question at hand is: Can a design for an extruder be protected by the GPL?

My position is: No. An extruder design cannot be protected by the GPL.

Here is my argument:

1. You cannot GPL what you cannot copyright.
2. You cannot copyright an extrduer design.
3. Therefore you cannot GPL an extruder design.

Which part(s) of that do you disagree with? smiling smiley

The design can't be protected by copyright, but the plans for it (e.g. OpenScad files, STL files) are presumably protected by copyright in the same way as engineering drawings are. So I think it still makes sense to release such files under GPL and similar licenses.



Large delta printer [miscsolutions.wordpress.com], Robotdigg SCARA printer, Crane Quad and Ormerod

Disclosure: I design Duet electronics and work on RepRapFirmware, [duet3d.com].
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 04:17PM
Quote
AndrewBCN
Cristian, thank you for joining in this discussion

Thank you Andrew and all the others for this passionate discussion, it is a very interesting read.

Quote
AndrewBCN
and sorry for quoting only the beginning of your post, but I have to ask you to rethink your argument from that point on. The reason I am asking you that, is because like Matt, you seem to be missing the main point of the GPL, which is not to prevent other people from copying your code or re-using it.

(Re)stating something obvious is a bit boring but I accept to do it provided that you try to understand the matter of my intervention. In my understanding, the GPL prevents other people from copying/modifying (my) GPL code and releasing it under a licence not compatible with the GPL. So, if I release something under the GPL, anybody can use it and even modify it provided that the result will again be released under the GPL. But nobody can take the GPL work made by somebody else and release it under closed licence (or modify it without releasing the sources under GPL, etc.). Is it enough as a proof or should I paraphrase the whole licence? smiling smiley

Quote
AndrewBCN
If you understand that, you can begin to understand how the GPL can be applied to a 3D design: by licensing your 3D design under the GPL, you guarantee the freedom of users of your design to re-use it, modify it and possibly improve upon it.

My whole intervention was on the fact that a computer program (OpenSCAD or whatever) does not properly define a (3D) design, because the definition of a design must contain additional information, even if that code can produce something related to the intended design. Conversely, the program code can contain parts that are necessary for the generation of the intended 3D model, but that do not represent original design. So, again a program is not a design and a design is not a program, reason why a licence enclosed in a program does not automatically apply to whatever design the author of the program meant.

Quote
AndrewBCN
Look at what happened to the Prusa i3 after Josef Prusa released it under the GPL, or the Kossel Mini, or Greg's Wade's Geared Extruder, just to mention a few examples from the RepRap universe.

I am glad that the spirit of the open source movement is doing well, I would also like to see what legal battles it can survive to. For example, cases where designs already released under open licence were successfully defended in court against "bad" companies trying to patent them.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/2015 04:18PM by cristian.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 04:24PM
@Matt

Indeed, if you have no IP rights over some intellectual work, you have no legal rights to determine its licensing terms, whether these are public domain, GPL or any other kind of licensing terms.

On the other hand, if you are the original creator of an original work, under certain conditions the laws of most Western countries (somehow I don't think this applies to North Korea in 2015, for example) grant you certain IP rights, among other things the rights which are commonly called copyright.

Also among these IP rights which you are granted, is the right to license your intellectual work under terms of your choice (within certain limits). The GPL provides a specific framework for licensing your work.

My understanding is that the main purpose of copyright is to prevent the unauthorized/uncontracted copying/reproduction of a piece of work; and that the GPL is a completely different instrument that defines the terms of a license to copy/reproduce/modify/improve a piece of work.

And indeed, the Prusa i3 (which is a 3D design of a Cartesian RepRap 3D printer) was licensed under the GPL (check Josef Prusa's GitHuB repository and the OpenSCAD source code for each printed part), the Kossel Mini was licensed under the GPL (ditto, check Johann's GitHub repository), and Greg's Wade's Geared Extruder, which is an extruder design, was licensed under the GPL (again, check the OpenSCAD source code posted on Thingiverse - and there is a copyright notice there too!).

So I agree with your 1. and disagree with your 2. and 3. Which brings us back to my disagreement with the gist, logic and conclusion of MW's article, which I believe are all fundamentally flawed. Note that he published a sequel paper on the same theme with, I am afraid, the same flaws: [www.publicknowledge.org]

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/15/2015 07:10PM by AndrewBCN.
Re: Use of open source designs
June 14, 2015 04:42PM
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cristian
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(Re)stating something obvious is a bit boring

Well, old people are hard of hearing and some have a thick skull, so you have to repeat yourself sometimes... smoking smiley But I am listening...

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cristian
but I accept to do it provided that you try to understand the matter of my intervention. In my understanding, the GPL prevents other people from copying/modifying (my) GPL code and releasing it under a licence not compatible with the GPL. So, if I release something under the GPL, anybody can use it and even modify it provided that the result will again be released under the GPL. But nobody can take the GPL work made by somebody else and release it under closed licence (or modify it without releasing the sources under GPL, etc.). Is it enough as a proof or should I paraphrase the whole licence? smiling smiley

Yes indeed, that is one of the consequences of licensing a piece of work under the GPL - but again it is not its main purpose.

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cristian
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My whole intervention was on the fact that a computer program (OpenSCAD or whatever) does not properly define a (3D) design, because the definition of a design must contain additional information, even if that code can produce something related to the intended design. Conversely, the program code can contain parts that are necessary for the generation of the intended 3D model, but that do not represent original design. So, again a program is not a design and a design is not a program, reason why a licence enclosed in a program does not automatically apply to whatever design the author of the program meant.

Here I must disagree with you. Imo the OpenSCAD source code, or the CAD file for any CAD program, or the technical drawing (something I studied in school nearly 40 years ago) for a mechanical part, or Leonardo Da Vinci's marvellous drawings of complicated machinery, all of these intellectual works describe and define a 3D design to a certain point:



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cristian
I am glad that the spirit of the open source movement is doing well, I would also like to see what legal battles it can survive to. For example, cases where designs already released under open licence were successfully defended in court against "bad" companies trying to patent them.

Indeed I would say we are bound to see that kind of David vs. Goliath legal case sooner or later, and not only in one of these TV shows with court cases! I am already grabbing the popcorn! hot smiley
Re: Use of open source designs
June 15, 2015 02:36PM
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MattMoses
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thetazzbot
So what you're saying is, all these people who put this GPL on their "things" are just naive and uninformed
I cannot tell if you are joking or being serious, but yes that is exactly what I am saying.

Take for example these things I put on Thingiverse under the GPL: here, here, here, here, here, and here. I used the GPL for these things because I did not want some self-appointed license-policing open sourcer to hassle me because they thought the work was derived from some earlier GPL project. Easy to avoid that mess altogether by clicking the 'GPL' button to begin with. I wonder how much this effect has helped the GPL to propagate in other instances.

I have never expected that the GPL would actually 'protect' my work on Thingiverse, and as soon as I upload something I consider it to be effectively in the public domain.

Satire actually.

I find it amusing that people who couldn't be bothered by actually reading and understanding the GPL and how it relates to their designs would just click the button thinking they have just invented something and now they are magically protected from copycats, when in all actuality, the GPL is designed to protect the copycat's rights to, well, copy and improve smiling smiley

But what I haven't read thus far is:

Do I owe any money or any acknowledgement to the person who originally thought up the design of the Delta, and thus the Kossel, then Mini-Kossel, or any derivatives, if I make one, improve it, and decide to sell my physical production without releasing my design files in the same manner as the original author. You can see this in the "Prusa i3 Rework" parts. They took the original Openscad files, reworked them, and started selling kits and closed-sourced their designs.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/15/2015 02:40PM by thetazzbot.
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