Invention, Intellectual Property and Income

Week 19

Slide presentation of my project
Figure 1: Slide presentation of my project

This week's assignment, I have to find the licence under which I will publish my work. Since this project is based on the work of many people, I can't claim it as my own but I would like others to see what I've done and allow them to built a better system.

Something new to consider

I've never thought that someday I would design something and that I would need to protect my creation. As my background is in humanities, I was always carefull to gives credit to where's credit is due, but for my own works, beside my masters, never went beyond basic copyright. As for this project, I DO want others to credit to my work and I'm curious to see where my design would go from here.

Creative Commons

Figure 1: Creative Commons Symbols (Attribution - NonCommercial - ShareAlike 4.0 International)

I remember seeing the emergence of the Creative Commomns licence in the early century when I was a more regular reader of In the Creative Common system, emphasis is placed on simplicity (not too much legalese vocabulary) protecting the rights of the creators while at the same time giving the permission to use and modify. It very flexible and easy to understand.

Choosing a licence

When you go to the Creative Commons Website you can quickly choose the appropriate licence for your work. As for my project is really oriented toward a DIY community, I already had a some concepts for the type of licence that I need.

You click on the Share your work tab and there is a quick text describing the different types of licences. Since I'm not an expert in this matter, I read the Licensing Consideration page to get a deeper understanding of the licences. Especially the following line caught my eye: Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The next line of importance to me Every license helps creators — we call them licensors if they use our tools — retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work — at least non-commercially.

The next paragraph describes the licence as a three layers one. The first one is the Legal Code written for lawyers. Then there's the Commons Deed; a human readable version of the licence that normal people can read and understand (not the pages and pages that we so often see when we have to agree when we buy some software). Lastly, there's the machine readable licence that the search engines understand.

Once done, I went back to the licence and started to define what I wanted. The Licence chooser is a really simple tool that helps you create the licence and make the appropriate html code for it. I clicked on Share Alike, because it's design is only a part of other's people contribution, namely Albert Highe. I also choose No commercial Distribution because I do not want to grant to other people (or company) the right to make money of of my work for free. As a librarian, I couldn't resist filling the meta-data by filling up the appropriate boxes. On the spur of the moment, I christened my project FabAltAz GoTo System, for Fab Lab Altitude Azimuth GoTo system. A little tongue twister that needs some reworking.

Other types of licences

I took a quick glance at what the other types of licences can offer for my project but came up with no alternative to CC commons.

GNU General Public Licence

This licence was born when the inventor of this licence, Richard Stallman, was having trouble with a Xerox printer and could't fix the problem because the driver was a binary and could't be hacked and fixed.

This relation between the GPL and software is still very strong and I could not find any utility to my needs.

BSD and Apache Licences

Having used FreeBSD for years, I knew that this marvelous operating system has a very open licence. The BSD licence is a variation of the GNU that is specifically dedicated to software. It's actually more permissive than the GNU General Public Licence. As defined by wikipedia : BSD licenses are a family of permissive free software licenses, imposing minimal restrictions on the use and redistribution of covered software. As my project is clearly not a software, these licences don't applied to my needs.

The Apache Software Foundation is another project that has a very specific licence. But like in all the previous cases, this licence is really for useful for software development.

Dissemination and income

This project is first and foremost for me. But there is a very active community of amateur DIYer that may be interested with what I'm doing. Once complete, there is a big convention at Stellafane and the telecope mechanical competition is the highlight of this event, it's even called The Heart and Soul of Stellafane.

There's also Astro-Québec forum here in la Belle province where there will be interest in seeing the final product. This forum is very active with subscribers from around the world.

As for income, once the final product is done, there is a possible income stream coming from selling kits to people who want to have their own telecope made to measure.

Here's below a description of my project and what it can do.

Video 1: Presentation of FabGoto System for Dobson Telescope.