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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Equivalent of GPLv3 for hardware???

From: Dave Rolek
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Equivalent of GPLv3 for hardware???
Date: Sat, 02 Apr 2016 20:38:43 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/24.2.0

On 03/30/2016 07:51 PM, IngeGNUe wrote:
On 03/30/16 18:38, Pen-Yuan Hsing wrote:
On 30/03/16 13:45, Mike Gerwitz wrote:
On Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 12:23:26 +0100, Pen-Yuan Hsing wrote:
I really like the idea of copyleft and licenses such as the GPLv3.
What is
the closest equivalent of GPLv3 for hardware?
This is rms' position:
Thanks Mike for the link, I just took another look at his essay again.
as I understand it, he thinks the situation for hardware is different
but generally recommends the GPLv3 for hardware *designs*. RMS also
correctly points out the problem of patents in hardware, which I alluded
to (but didn't make clear) in the original question. My understanding of
this problem is that even if you release your hardware under a copyleft
license, the license or only apply to one embodiment of your hardware
because it is one single expression of a work?

However, since patents require prior art, if you create something and
released its design and the physical portions under a copyleft license,
you are essentially putting all of that into the "prior art" realm,
which would prevent others from patenting it? Would this work to attain
the equivalent of copyleft for hardware?

IngeGNUe also mentioned releasing the hardware under CC BY-SA, which is
essentially a form of copyleft (please correct me if I am wrong). How
does that compare to releasing the hardware under GPLv3? Or is there
another license that addresses this issue, which leads to my original
question of if there's an hardware compatible license that is in the
*spirit* of copyleft? I say spirit because copyright (and hence copyleft
per set) might not be the biggest issue for hardware.

This might become a real issue for me in the coming months since I'm
trying to sign up for a maker/hacker related meeting to discuss and
brainstorm hardware projects...


If you'll forgive the "open source" phrasing -- you'll have to live with
it on many of these hardware endeavors :) -- there are a bunch of people
in your shoes too:

There do exist "open" hardware licenses and maybe some of them are

This is really worrying:

"But actually, the situation is very different for hardware design,
since copyleft relies on copyright, and hardware is (in most cases) not
protected by copyright law." -

This is useful history, the problems have been going on for years: <--- I have NEVER heard of
these people until now, no idea if they have a good reputation... IF
they are good, then maybe they will know someone on the other side of
the Atlantic.


I haven't read all of the thread nor all of rms's stance on free hardware, but I am surprised no one mentioned the concept of patentleft:

I know very little about it (so don't ask me for help!), and I expect that patenting something will cost a lot, but it is a consideration if you want to tackle a specific part of the nonfree hardware battle.

And hmm... per Wikipedia references for the article, it looks like rms *has* commented indirectly on patentleft in the past (1999):

Hope that helps!

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