The highlight of energy in the context of IP and OSD is definitely what Denmark has been doing with wind energy, but first I would like to write about what was discussed in class regarding licensing in open source software.
I had heard about licensing in the context of software but have been too ignorant to try to find out what it really meant on my own. When it was explained in class I think that opened a door in my mind that helped me understand how and why open source could work.
According to opensource.org, a permissive Open source license is defined as “a non-copyleft open source license — one that guarantees the freedoms to use, modify, and redistribute, but that permits proprietary derivative works.” While I’m not sure what the benefits of modifying and redistributing the software would be, this provides some sort of incentive to develop licensed software as the creator does retain some rights. I just thought that this was an interesting idea and I will try to continue to look into it.
To address the topic of energy however, I would like to start in the OSHWA website in section 5 about “Free Redistribution.” It states: “The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the project documentation. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale. The license shall not require any royalty or fee related to the sale of derived works.”
The first sentence seems to accentuate the fact that licenses for open source hardware do not change the fact that the hardware is open for everyone’s use. The second sentence, in a similar vein goes along to say that when others use the hardware, the license does not grant the licensee any rights to royalty or any other fees per se.
The final sentence is pretty similar, but it’s unique from the license of open source software. Earlier I wrote that the license in software prohibits proprietary derivative works, but in hardware, derived works are allowed and there are no royalties owed to the original creator.
I thought this was an interesting and important distinction between the licenses. I do not know which one would be better but I believe they are both effective in their own domains. It’s really great to read about how open source gives developing countries access to clean energy because of how it becomes inexpensive and how clean energy is almost omnipresent. I see the good in making products and ideas open source and free for everyone to use but it becomes difficult if and when it affects the livelihood of product developers if they can’t make a profit on their ideas. It’ll be interesting to learn more about how open source is used for good reasons in the real world and that might sway my belief that the “good” outweighs the “bad.”