New machine Licensing

Let’s keep this on a positive note. If you were in my shoes, how would you license the LowRider 3.

Not sure what information you need here, to make you choice but I can update this first post as needed.

1- I do belive there is nothing very similar to some aspects of this design.
2- This is my full time (like extremely full time) job.

The current version is non commercial-

I am fine with modifications of parts but make them different enough to not get confused with mine. If they are extremely similar, license them as mine are since it is share alike.

Consider the last time I dealt with a major licensing issue the creator had made it public all parts were going to be redesigned “from scratch” with the main intention of making it completely open source. As in getting around the license, if it even has any merit.

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I understand your issue on how to proceed (have the same question for my own products I make in my side hustle). If this is your full time job, I would suggest you to fill a request for a patent. If it is truly unique, you´ll be granted with one. However, you´ll need to apply for it in the US, Europe… and then things start to cost some money.

But the upside is that you gain control and power what happens with your design…
Say if you would still want to make it available to your existing community for free, you can allow this. But when someone wants to make a modification, or a rip off, you could ask for a fee?

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To be clear you are saying patent in all relevant countries or go open source? No cc-nc as a possible middle ground.

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Patents are okay in theory, but in a case like this I don’t think they are feasible.

I don’t see anything significantly wrong with the existing licenses.

There is one area that I think is a possible hole or at least unclear to me, which is that if someone makes a derivative, they must use the same license but otherwise they are granted “all the same rights”. What is unclear is if this includes the ability to sell parts. I thought I understood that it does grant the ability to sell parts, but in my opinion it shouldn’t, or at least not without approval.

A blanket a priori approval of selling derivatives would allow a bad-faith actor to make models that are just different enough to be derivatives, and turn around and sell them.

If you want to open the door for people with good-faith mods to be able to sell parts for those mods, I think it has to be approval based, and you can offer a good-faith assurance that mods will generally approved for sale as long as the people are not assholes.

Ahh, now theres the real problem. :wink:

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The hard part is they are just so far out of reach. It is possible in the US only but worldwide is just insane. That is not even trying to enforce them.

I believe in patents to a degree, R&D is expensive, but the current system is broken. That is why I chose the one I use. It is mostly a guideline, I understand that. Most just have no idea how the patent system works, a patent is just a piece of paper lawyers use to earn money. I can not do anything with it but hire a lawyer. A trademark is far more powerful, and set up like patents should be. Easy to enforce, and fairly inexpensive to maintain.

That is how I understand it. Or at least how I interpret it.If you want to go through the process of remaking something significantly different, feel free to sell it. With the most famous example I didn’t care about the part at all, it was the “I am doing this just to get around the license that I do not believe is valid. All to prove it is ridiculous.” The worst part of that is exactly how a patent works as well. Make it significantly different and it is all yours. So I am not willing to go broke to get the exact same outcome.

That seems unfair to me, but again pokes a hole in this license. What if you could not get a hold of me, or get my permission. That locks out too much.

I’m new to this crowd and I don’t know the back story, but maybe there is there a way to sell print rights and keep the design closed… User agrees to print and not post publicly the copyrighted files. You maybe have it be part of a supporters network or Patreon or something so any derivatives would be available to the group as well. This goes counter to open source.
But as mentioned, enforcement is the hardest part. Is there an online slicer you could have dish out “gcode only” when someone wants to print your design? I know it is a bad scenario due to risk, but I’m throwing stuff out there.

I’d have been willing to pay for the plans with a signed agreement to their license and then print them myself or horse trade with a friend with a nicer printer to print for me so I can choose my colors. It was a bonus that they were freely available. I bought a number of things from V1, but didn’t really understand the potential consequences of not buying from v1 on the community and future development.

I work peripherally with patents and they are cost prohibitive for everyone involved. After you file, there are continuing maintenance fees and paper work to keep in force. Policing them is where the most money is spent. Probably a losing game for a small business.
Probably not a lot of use here for you other than a vote for keeping at it. If you have haters you must be on to something.

Thankfully I don’t think this is feasible, because it would (and would have been) be a deal-breaker for me. I (and it would seem 90% of this community) tweaks the design in large or small ways to make it work for their specific situations. That’s a big part of the draw for me. I don’t know how you make a DIY machine successful if you don’t plan to let DIY-ers DIY. It makes the project more valuable if you have even more options for parts out there due to the work of others that are just enthusiastic about it.

Patents are for portfolios for large companies. They aren’t worth anything if you don’t have the legal muscle to intimidate people with them.

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I don’t know about most of you, but I tweak just about everything. Even my Beta LR3 has some unique-to-me modifications, made by reverse engineering the part and drawings released by Ryan and making them fit my specific case. A license that disallows that probably isn’t for me.

The way the LR2 is licensed isn’t a problem for me, because I’m not looking to turn a profit from making LowRider parts. It is more than enough that I’m licensed and allowed to make a profit with what I choose to DO with the LowRider (And/or Primo) but then I’m not the type that wants to step in and profit from someone else’s work.

In my professional life licensing and licensing enforcement has been the bane of my existence this past couple of months. A few software packages that I am trying to use entirely within the license have been having trouble with the license scheme (That reminds me, I need to extend my emergency license for one package before it expires next week :frowning: ) and it is actually the license manager causing problems. Right now, restrictive licensing isn’t in my good books.

I will say that I’m a big fan of open source, but I also understand and appreciate that it is very difficult to make a living from producing open source stuff. I feel kind of personally invested that Ryan is able to continue to make a living doing this stuff, because having it available to me makes my life better. If the current licensing makes that easier for Ryan, then while it does make it more work for me to have to reverse engineer pieces, rather than just start from available source material, I’m good with it.

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I gave a lot of people rights to print and sell parts for a very small fee. Some did well, some cheated, others tried without permission.

I’m fine letting people have the parts to print as they see fit. The only questionable part is selling the machines. IF you look at some non-US sites and the kits they sell you will see all the corners they cut and all the standards they do not follow. We get left to deal with it in the forums. That leads me to believe I will have very little compassion to help people that buy inferior kits if I went fully open. Choices are made for a reason. If I say something needs to be printed at 70% infill I am not saying that so people buy more filament, it is needed. Cheap kits use all sorts of random filament and infills to save time and money. Not to mention the bearings, boards, drivers, steppers and power supplies.

I am releasing More CAD to help with creative people like yourself. I hesitate to let it all go because pulling trademarks off gets way to easy. If someone wants to pull them off they need to put in work, I have never had a case of prohibited sales with any attempt at logo removal. That makes it easy on all the large marketplaces worldwide to get the removed.

I think your current mix of non-commercial share-alike plus trademarking names/logos is the best you are going to be able to do. I wouldn’t bother with ‘authorized resellers’ or printing under license, etc. unless you really hit a home run here and can’t keep up with demand.

Deciding not to distribute STLs at all could keep the clones at bay somewhat but that goes against the spirit of the project and probably isn’t a good solution.

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Another thing that might be interesting is when a new version comes out, then after X months the old version gets a different, more open license. Not sure if that would satisfy the critics, or if old versions on ebay would be a burden, but it could be a possibility.

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I think that is a lot more work for me and promotes confusion with the new versions. If maybe I made a huge format change that would make sense but 525 to Burly, burly to Primo it doesn’t really make sense.

Maybe we approach this from the other side. Damage control. What do we do if we get flooded with too many questions about questionable parts? Or just flooded with questions?

Do we make V1 customers a priority by including their order numbers in the title of their questions? That excludes self builders that I highly value though. I am just not wanting to support crappy kits from leeches.

I use a lot of open source software tools at work. I would not like to pay for them. But more helpful is that they have huge volumes of users and some fraction are dedicated enough to give back into those projects. They are (IMO) superior to the proprietary tools. They actually work better for me, and when they don’t, I can easily give them a pass because of the price, or try some version that someone has tried to fix.

I have made a few hobby software projects and I have open sourced all of them. I do that because I get so much from FOSS to make my living.

As a nice side effect, I have had some nice people contribute and a few users have donated some money. Not enough to put food on my table, but enough to pay for some of the tools.

I do not make my living on open source software. I make my money working for a company that makes proprietary code and charges a lot for it. I am a long way from having enough demand in my hobbies to support me and my family. I believe it would be orders of magnitude harder to do that with hardware (vs software).

I would love to live a life where I could pay for everything I need with projects I love. As the icing on the cake, it would be amazing to be able to allow that project to be open source. I just don’t have that luxury.

You have most of that dream. You have made a project you love and it has been prosperous back. On top of that, this thing isn’t open source, but it is altruistic. It does have community.

It is possible for someone (from almost anywhere in the world) to participate. Someone can use your design, follow your instructions, load it with preconfigured firmware, and make it work for them, even build a business from it. It has happened thousands of times.

Your model, of making a business that supports a community and a community that supports a business is great. I don’t think there is a real legal tool to enforce that in a perfect way. I honestly don’t know if your current license even comes close.

From only your (bottom line) perspective, the only way changing the license makes sense is if the project becomes more popular (or measurably better) enough to overcome the losses from other stores (especially international ones) and the extra cost of supporting new users. I don’t believe it will stop the trolls at all.

If it was possible to do that. To have more customers, who appreciate it more, and support you more. Then it would be quite a boon. The “nontangable” benefits to you would be great.

If it only allows other companies to profit. And adds new support burden, then it wouldn’t be worth it for you.

For the rest of us. You bring in a huge benefit. For one thing, there is a reliable supplier for everything we need (except raspberry pi :slight_smile: ). You bring us valuable updates to the design. You fill in the gaps when no one else wants to. You captain the ship, making hard decisions and sticking to them (when we have to). What helps you do those things helps us.

There are some ways a more open license could help us. For one thing, there might be a supplier that would add value or bring the prices down. There may be derived designs with improvements. There may be many more users, which would bring in many more awesome projects and mods. Edits could be merged into new versions if they make improvements. The project could live on far longer than any of us if it has this perpetual open support.

That is the most honest evaluation I can give. Provided all of that, I think the current license, and enforcing it with trademarks is a known winning solution.

If you wanted to go farther, you could. You could even still enforce the trademark (Mozilla Firefox is open source, but derivative projects (iceweasel) have to change the name. So is Google chrome (chromium)). It would be a risk of losing business and it would potentially give you a lot more business. Or it may do nothing. The outcome is unknown. There is an actual risk. But I don’t know how to predict the outcome. My guess is the most likely outcome is that nothing still really change. The second most likely is that you will lose some international business, and mods will be a little easier to do.

I will back you no matter which way you go.

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I have done I.T. for nearly 30 years. Open source is dying. Some of the open source i once used GONE. I came here because of the open part of it. I appreciate it and enjoy it. The forum and supporting junk, I can understand that, but maybe capitalize off of it! That was not printed correctly, however these i can guarantee, then link your parts. I know of a couple lawsuits where the lawyers recommended settling even though could win, but lawyer fees would be more than settling. I have rambled on enough. I wish you luck in your decision.

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Eloquent way of summarizing my concerns.
The last three paragraphs are golden. Jeez. Heffe that is well put and has actually given me some ideas.

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We obviously don’t know all the details of your operation but my question would be how do you make your money. CAD files would be a huge plus for me and I’d gladly pay a few bucks for them verses free. If someone really wants to recreate in order to mass produce it isn’t THAT difficult - you put in all the design work but they can always figure it out from the models. It’s not molecules so difficult to prove. This stuff happens to large companies all the time getting ripped off by the die companies to SE Asia. Second, you have a bunch of traffic from the awesome community you’ve fostered, and although I will kick myself later for saying this, maybe ads could help drive revenue. From a support perspective, maybe implement some sort of badge system for being a V1CNC purchaser verses just a downloader - not shut people out but make it clear who is a buyer.

Unfortunately coming from the creative world I know all about the struggles of protecting your product. YOU are the reason this is successful which means that every product you make will ultimately be copied but first to market can solidify your position as a premium product. Like I said, I don’t know your business and can only share my experience… if it is easy to rip off then that isn’t the product that is going to make you Scrooge McDuck gold pools rich. You have an amazing community which is what makes your product enticing.

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What clinched the deal for me to build the LR was that everything was open AND you and the forum provided great support all round. I think anything more restrictive might have kept me looking for another solution. And more restrictive might have prevented you from gathering all the creators and enthusiasts you engage with in the forum.
I bought all the parts I could from you because of the trust you had built up in the community. That would be difficult for someone else to replicate.
That said, what a lot of creators do now is allow for contributions when they make new ideas/videos/update/plans available. Not required for access but “Buy me a coffee” kinds of donations. That would allow you to keep the current license, or something similar, and maybe get the odd dollar for your development time.

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Ryan,

Your position sucks.

You try and do the right thing, put your fantastic creations out there, and share them.

You allow schmucks like me to download your designs for free and print them, share and share alike.

Along the way you make a few bucks by selling parts and kits.

And then you find yourself in the unattainable position of having to defend your product and livelihood worldwide against those who want to steal it and cheapen (is that a word?) it, for their own profit and greed.

As a small business owner, I get how you have to protect your product and your turf so to speak, and yes you do have to do something.

I agree with Riley that open source is dying, on the other hand, everything that I have printed from V1 got printed out via Cura, which I didn’t pay a dime for so go figure.

As far as patents, what I do know is it can be an expensive and time consuming route, and internationally? China’s record on intellectual property rights is practically non existent.

I’m not smart enough to know the answers, but I’m sure there are a whole lot of guys like me who will support whatever decisions you make…

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