OpenHardware - recent updates
Juergen Neumann <j.neumann <at> ergomedia.de>
2009-11-23 21:01:46 GMT
Dear fiends and fellows,
as some of you may know, for the past 2 years I have been engaged in trying to get Open Source Hardware off the
groud. Recently I had been at the piksel festival in Bergen, Norway, to continue with the work me and some
other guys had started at http://www.gosh2009.ca about licensing OSH devices.
As I can tell from my own observations and contacts the topic Open Source Hardware is developing more and
more momentum. On the other hand until today there is no applicable way to connect the physical outcome of
free open source designs (the devices and objects) to a copyleft license.
Though there are many people out there developing Open Source Hardware already, licensing ends with the
digital design artefacts/documents/files. The reason for this is the legal construction of copyleft,
which is - as of course you know - based on copyright laws.
The legal adequate for copyright in the physical world would be patents. But patenting is an expesive,
complicated and time consuming process which is in most cases not suitable for open source hardware
developers. So after many talks with various lawyers in Canada, the US and Europe, we finally seem to have
found a valid way to work arround this problem. The "trick" is a trademark. Please find attached our latest
results on this idea and the process of it's application. 
As you can imagine, we would all still be more then happy if we would not have to form another legal entity for
OHANDA, but rather work together with FSF and/or Creative Commons. We would be very pleased - and so would
be most of the open source hardware developers - if the trademark and process were hosted and held by the FSF
From all the talks that we had in the past, my impression was though, that FSF is very strict about limitting
its interest to free software. And also CC is not really too positive so far to get engaged. Though I can
understand that of course, I think that in the longterm it will only make sense to have a broader view on free
IT infstructures and contents as a whole, including content, sofware, hardware and networking infrastructures.