Monthly Archives: September 2012

Contribute to the PSoCaMorph project and win a PSoC 5 Development Kit!

via News

Remember the famous Elektor Formant, the modular analog music synthesizer that we published in the late seventies? It immediately became a huge success, and even today many music enthusiasts like to play with this now classic “analog beast”. At Elektor we often receive request for a project similar to the Formant, but modernized with easy-to-find parts and digital precision. Now the time has come to fulfill this wish thanks to the PSoCaMorph project started on Elektor Projects. The PSoCaMorph...

Terms of Service and Moral Rights Clause Explained

via Thingiverse Blog

Cross-posted from this post on the MakerBot blog:

Hello, I’m Rich McCarthy, and since June I’ve been MakerBot’s in-house attorney.  In these three months, I’ve been working on playing catch-up with all the little things that fell through the cracks during MakerBot’s first three years without a full time staff attorney. In addition to that, MakerBot closed a lease on a new headquarters, leased a retail store, and launched a new product. As some of the busyness is now behind us, I’m starting to have time to work on MakerBot’s “wishlist” tasks. And one of those tasks is responding to community input on our Terms of Service (TOS).

Despite what you may have heard, nothing has changed with the Thingiverse TOS. Bre publicly announced the last change, in February, 2011 here. I’ve looked at the TOS of some other sites that host user-content (Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo,  FaceBook, etc.) and see places where we could improve the clarity and content of our own. But overall, the Thingiverse TOS is consistent with industry practices.

Read fairly, our TOS are structured similarly to any large website that hosts user-content. When a user uploads a Thing, MakerBot requires a broad license so that we can do things like copy the Thing to other servers for content caching, or make the Thing available to the public. Without a license from the user, these acts might constitute wrongful “reproduction” and “distribution” under copyright law.

MakerBot confines this license to only granting us the rights to use user-content in relation to operating Thingiverse.  MakerBot does not claim ownership over user-content and we distinguish between Intellectual Property belonging to MakerBot, and that of the users.

Secondarily, users select a license, such as Creative Commons governing how others may use their work, including us.  When we use designs from Thingiverse outside the Thingiverse ecosystem, we adhere to the way users have chosen to manage the copyright terms that automatically attach to their work.  Moreover, we typically go beyond that by asking users if they approve, something I have personally done on several occasions.  We are keen on maintaining the spirit of Thingiverse as it has always been and on empowering a community of makers to share their digital designs openly.

One provision of the MakerBot TOS that has caused confusion is the waiver of “Moral Rights or attribution.” I understand that this may sound sinister, but Moral Rights have a specific legal definition. Moral Rights (droits moraux) is a doctrine, mainly from French Law, that is not part of US copyright law. This means that unless you are a citizen of one of the countries that recognize Moral Rights, this provision doesn’t affect you.

The reason MakerBot requires a waiver of these rights is to lend certainty to the license that MakerBot relies upon to operate Thingiverse. Because Moral Rights operate outside the context of US Copyright law, they can cause contradictory results. For example, there is a Moral Right against “mutilation” of a work. This can include any derivative work, remix, or mashup that the author disapproves of. Because Moral Rights exist outside of US copyright law, a user can grant someone a license that allows derivatives, and then cause trouble when they dislike a specific derivative work. This approach is fundamentally inconsistent with the intention of Thingiverse, which is to share things and their derivatives.

Sound farfetched? In one case an author signed a contract, and was paid to ghostwrite a novel. The author collected her fee and then sued, relying on the Moral Right of Attribution, to have her name associated with the novel, and won. (Bragance v. Michel de Grece et Editions Orban, Court of Appeal of Paris, February 1, 1989, 142 R.I.D.A. 301 (1989)) In sum, Moral Rights just introduce too much uncertainty into the already complex world of US copyright law. We deal with it by restricting our agreement to be governed solely by US copyright law.

I will be working on revising the TOS in the direction of “less legalese and more reader-ease”—terms that allow MakerBot to operate Thingiverse properly as a service-provider and that respect users’ contributions and the community’s values. It’s hard to make a legally binding agreement that is easy to read. It’s not a skill that lawyers spend much time honing but understandability will be a chief goal of the revision.

Thank you,

Rich McCarthy
MakerBot Industries LLC


Coming soon: “FPGA Development Board” webinar

via News

Although interest in FPGAs is high, many wannabe designers are intimidated by the complex-looking development software as well as the price of development boards. It is difficult to simplify the software tools, but the hardware costs can be reduced dramatically by eliminating the JTAG cable. To achieve this we designed a small development board with an on-board programming interface.   With this board all you need is a standard USB serial port to download the FPGA software to the board...

SLAM Your Way Through Unknown Territory

via News

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) is a technique of building a map of an area while at the same time determining the explorer's position on that map. It has been extensively researched in robotics where it is considered a prerequisite for truly autonomous robots.   A team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has developed a SLAM system for human users based on a sensor array strapped to the subject's chest. The system builds a map in...

Texas Instruments unveils the Stellaris® LaunchPad

via Nuts and Volts

Expanding its innovative LaunchPad portfolio to the ARM ecosystem, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) today announced a new low-price, easy-to-use Stellaris® LM4F120 LaunchPad evaluation kit. The tool allows professional engineers, hobbyists and university students to begin exploring ARM Cortex-M4F microcontrollers and TI's Stellaris family of microcontrollers for under $5 USD!

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

OSHWA got a facelift!


The association has its own logo! Our shiny new logo echos a circle of the same Pantone 3135C color blue we all know and love from the OSHW logo. Also note how the circles look like derivatives of one another. We thought that was pretty neat. Special thanks to our graphic designer, David Steele Overholt, who worked with our schedule to release the new design in time for the Summit!

Some history: OSHWA decided to create its own logo as we began thinking deeper about what the OSHW logo meant to our community. We wanted to differentiate ourselves as an organization and avoid confusion with regard to whether the current OSHW logo stood for the definition or the organization.

And speaking of logos, thank you everyone for being patient while OHSWA continues to work with OSI to come up with a solution beneficial to everyone. I’m happy to report that OSI’s lawyer and OSHWA’s lawyer have been working hard on a co-existence agreement.

Electronics that Flex and Stretch like Skin

via News

Research laboratory Imec has announced that it has integrated an ultra-thin, flexible chip with bendable and stretchable interconnects into a package that adapts dynamically to curving and bending surfaces. The resulting circuitry can be embedded in medical and lifestyle applications where user comfort and unobtrusiveness is key, such as wearable health monitors or smart clothing.   For the demonstration, the researchers thinned a commercially available microcontroller down to 30µm,...

Free Elektor magazine October 2012

via Pololu - New Products

Get a FREE copy of Elektor magazine’s October issue with your order while supplies last. This offer is only available for orders shipped to USA or Canada. To get your free issue, enter the coupon code ELEKTOR1012 into your shopping cart. The magazine will add 5.3 ounces to the package weight when calculating your shipping options.

Free Elektor magazine October 2012

via Pololu - New Products

Get a FREE copy of Elektor magazine’s October issue with your order while supplies last. This offer is only available for orders shipped to USA or Canada. To get your free issue, enter the coupon code ELEKTOR1012 into your shopping cart. The magazine will add 5.3 ounces to the package weight when calculating your shipping options.

Out with a Bang: 15 Elektor Projects at Half the Price!

via News

Depending on the part of the world you live in you may have noticed that The Summer of 2012 is coming to an end. Looking back we can say that it has been a great summer for Elektor and our friends. All those hot Summer Deals… Memories, memories… But, we want to go out in style, with a BANG! Therefore, for the last Summer Deal of this year we offer you 15 electronics projects at 50% off the normal price !   This is a great opportunity to get your hands on a dsPIC Control Board or an...