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July 10, 2009
about 5 years ago
I can’t find any way to pause the trigger board. I also don’t see any open source code to redo the firmware. Is there any chance that we could get a new version of the firmware with a Pause command?
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about 6 years ago
You bring up an excellent point. My limited understanding of this topic comes from a prior consultation a few years ago. But that is one lawyers opinion. Even with information obtained from a lawyer, I suspect that nothing really matters until the courts establish a precedent. As I don’t follow this field, I wondered if anybody knew what the facts were and if something had become established beyond one lawyers opinion. My only intention was to help raise awareness that any “faith” in this license might be unwarranted.
I don’t want to be a downer and beat a dead horse … but …
You say that “it is ‘ok’ to use our stuff, and here are the rules (CC license).” I guess I am saying that these are not the rules. In the U.S., the feds set the rules and my understanding is that copyright and patent law covers this. If I design a cold-fusion reactor and publish the design, and I don’t get a patent, then somebody can copy my design - no matter what license, CC or TAPR open hardware, I happen to slap on it.
This is the understanding that I received when I spoke with a representative of the U.S. Copyright office 3-4 years ago. If SparkFun has consulted with attorneys regarding this, and the CC license is their direction, that would be worth knowing. But even then, until something like this were established in the courts, it seems tenuous at best to assume that using the CC licenses establishes any “rules” that need to be followed by anybody.
My point is that the creative commons license is a copyright license. When applied to a circuit schematic, it is the schematic itself that can be copyrighted. Anybody can look at the schematic, and draw another one using the same components, and copy the design. The creative commons license is meaningless in this case. So, while I appreciate the intent of the folks at SparkFun, and love what they are doing, there attempts to “protect” circuits using this license are (in my unprofessional understanding), invalid. Once an unpatented schematic is published, the circuit in that schematic can be copied.
Now - whether or not a particular layout might be protected - that is a different question. I can see where a copyright might cover that - but again, I am not knowledgeable in this subject matter - which is why I am asking these questions in a public forum.
But again, SparkFun rocks. I certainly agree with that :-)
I have a question about the license on the hardware. My limited understanding is that copyrights can apply to software, possibly firmware, but that a patent is required for an electronic circuit. When one publishes a schematic, the use of the graphic can be copyrighted, but not necessarily the circuit implementation. I did a very limited check on this a few years ago, and I am certainly not an authority on copyright/patent law. Does anyone know definitively when a patent is required rather than a copyright?
(Please don’t infer that I want to avoid attribution or anything - I am just attempting to understand the actual laws).
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