This list should help people peruse the various licence models described on the RepRap site and locate the reference sites that publish and discuss them in more detail.
Some of the licences will have more common variants that are listed separately.
Of significance is the fact that hardware cannot be copyrighted and only a specific embodiment of it is copyrightable. Changing the design embodiment (data file), legally it can be a pretty small change, will remove copyright protection. Licensing has been badly abused by software vendors to form a contract over and above the copyright protection covered and this has been accepted as a way to licence programs more or less in perpetuity. With hardware it is required to use a patent to protect the idea instead but this is not that easy or cheap and protecting your rights are even more costly.
One needs to read this in conjunction with the early writings of Adrian Bowyer
The two standard licences that are used in the RepRap designs are GPL and CC-BY-SA, both are copyright based with a focus on software and reliance of the legal framework to protect developers and designers.
There is a host of information and variety relating to the public/permissive/free software licences. There are a few open Hardware licences out there as well.
Off site reading
Here are some documents to follow if interested in the topic.
- Free software
- Public copyright licenses
- The Wikipedia license
- Open hardware licenses
- Open-source hardware
- Lady Ada reviews Open Hardware Licenses: "Open Hardware Licenses ... I can't really endorse any of them, as they are all still very new (as of summer 2007) and are likely to morph as people poke at them".
- Open Source Hardware (OSHW) Statement of Principles and Definition at Freedom Defined
- Open-Source Hardware FAQ at OSHWA, the Open Source Hardware Association
- OHANDA Label for Open Source Hardware: the 4 Freedoms
- Mach 30 Open Design Pledge: DRAFT – v0.1
Any thoughts on this topic can be raised on the talk page or in the forums. A number of forum topics have tried to address some of these issues and a search on the RepRap forum will find interesting discussions.