For Approval: Open Source Hardware License

Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. roddixon at
Fri Jul 6 00:15:55 UTC 2007 "open hardware" license sounds like a matter for serious  
discussion.  Two questions come to mind immediately: (1) what kind of  
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  

Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M.
roddixon at

On Jul 5, 2007, at 5:06 PM, Allison Randal wrote:

> Jamey Hicks wrote:
>> There are no OSI-approved licenses for open source hardware, so I  
>> am proposing this license. It is derived from the Artistic  
>> License. This license treats source code written in a hardware  
>> description language such as Verilog or VHDL as a copyrighted  
>> entity, unlike the TAPR Open Hardware License. The goal with this  
>> license is to enable the use of open source components in  
>> commercial aggregates while requiring the sharing of modifications  
>> to those open source components.
> You might want to look into basing this license on the Artistic  
> License version 2.0, instead of version 1.0. After spending several  
> years working on cleaning up the ambiguities in the original  
> Artistic License, I would hate to see them resurrected in a new  
> license.
> I'm happy to help. I'm very interested in seeing solid open  
> hardware licenses enter the field.
> Allison
> -- 
> Director, The Perl Foundation
> Chief Architect, Parrot VM
> etc...

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