Subject: Re: For Approval: Open Source Hardware License
From: "Brendan Scott (lists)" <lists@opensourcelaw.biz>
Date: Fri, 06 Jul 2007 11:33:30 +1000

Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. wrote:
> Hmm...an "open hardware" license sounds like a matter for serious
> discussion.  Two questions come to mind immediately: (1) what kind of

+1

> copyrightable work does "hardware" refer to, and (2) if the subject of
> the license  is a "literary work," why wouldn't an existing open source
> software license be sufficient?
> 
> Even if one could argue that an open hardware license would protect a
> machine design, the question remains whether such is subject to copyright.

On the generic issue (not the specific licence proposed):

"Subject to copyright" is an issue with all open source licences.  Some choose to specifically
limit themselves to copyright, others express their permissions in terms of activities.
 

I would assume open source hardware would raise different issues in different jurisdictions
because of different sui generis legislation.  Eg. here in AU we have circuit layouts
and designs legislation, each of which could conceivably apply.  Prima facie copyright
could also apply depending on some not-entirely-simple provisions covering the applicability
of copyright when the work is also eligible for design/circuit layout protection.  

I would guess therefore that a licence for open source hardware would be better expressed
in terms of activites.   
 

Brendan