Progress Report on Open Design/Open Source Hardware Licensing

One of the pivotal components of Open Design is a set of licenses foropen source hardware (be sure to click through to the PDF) that mirror the ideals underlying the various open source software licenses (and the Creative Commons which has distilled the idea into four traits that combine to form six licenses).  Finding or developing such licenses has been, and continues to be, a major road block for Mach 30.  The good news is that the open source community is thinking about thistoo, and there are some licenses to consider.

One promising license is the TAPR Open Hardware License (TAPR OHL), written by John Ackerman (scroll down to read about his NTP servers), a resident of the Dayton area.  He has written an article in the UD Law Review discussing the TAPR OHL from a legal perspective.  In terms of the Creative Commons licensing terms, the TAPR OHL would probably best be described as an “Attribution Share Alike” license, or in software terms a GPL-like license.  There is also a non-commercial “flavor” of the license, that probably maps to the Creative Commons “Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike”.  I am personally very excited by the inclusion of multiple “flavors” of the license, as I think it is important that the Open Design community have the same choices artists and software developers do in the Creative Commons and various open source software licenses.

I plan to contact Mr. Ackerman and discuss the possibility of developing additional “flavors” to cover some or all of the remaining Creative Commons licenses with an Open Hardware License.

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