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Over the past week the 3DPrinting community has felt the emerging impact of what could be a full evolutionary shift, a divisive decision, or a simple misinterpretation of far from simple legal jargon…
The timeline of apparent events:
- July 2010 – RepRap blog posting about the heated conveyor belt
- August 2011 – Makerbot Industries receives $10M venture capital funding. Applied for patent on heated conveyor belt.
- November 2011 – Makerbot Industries filed for a patent on a heated conveyor belt.
- February 2012 – New Terms Of Service on Thingiverse
- Thingiverse blog post about the TOS – only one commenter, “madscifi,” asked about the 3.2 attribution clause but wasn’t answered.
- July 2012 – Makerbot gets the patent. Their own design is highly flawed and no longer included in the next 2 generations
- September 2012 – Replicator II announced as a closed source design.
- September 2012 – Blog posting about the Replicator II being closed source, later added TOS change by Josef Prusa (Twitter)
- Included “.thing” file format just a .zip of printable .stl and .obj files.
- “Occupy Thingiverse Test cube” posted on Thingiverse, more attention to TOS
- Josef Prusa Google+ posting
- Tony Buser (Makerbot Industries) posting on Google+ that the TOS didn’t chance in 8 month.
- Thingiverse amke a blog post, clarifying that the TOS change was in February
- Brainstorms appear regarding creating new alternatives to Thingiverse. (Thingiverse2Githubconverter, SKDB)
- More “occupy Thingiverse” objects popping up all the time.
- The story got slashdottet.
- Blog posting by Makerbot Industries- They are “working out” just how open source they can make the Replicator II, lots about their intentions, no clear work about the specific TOS sentence. It looks like at least the software is just a thin, closed source UI that calls open source Skeinforge or their new (open source) “Miracle-Grue“.
- As a response the blog post by Josef Prusa gets updated.
- Thingiverse replacement taking some shape in the comments of a G+ posting.
- Reaction of Hoeken, Hackaday, Hacker News report on the issue, audience attention exponential – reports appear to suggest that the new closed-source software can be tricked into working with older MBI printer.
“Moral rights are rights of creators of copyrighted works generally recognized in civil law jurisdictions and, to a lesser extent, in some common law jurisdictions. They include the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work.The preserving of the integrity of the work bars the work from alteration, distortion, or mutilation. Anything else that may detract from the artist’s relationship with the work even after it leaves the artist’s possession or ownership may bring these moral rights into play.Moral rights are distinct from any economic rights tied to copyrights. Even if an artist has assigned his or her copyright rights to a work to a third party, he or she still maintains the moral rights to the work.”
UPDATES FORTHCOMING ON THIS MATTER, AS IT DEVELOPS…
Here is the response to this development by Zaxhary Smith, one of the Founders of MakerBot and a big name in the 3DPrinting sector:
My name is Zachary Smith, aka Hoeken.I have been building 3D printers since 2007 as part of the RepRap project. I created a non-profit foundation (the RRRF) dedicated to pushing open source 3D printing forward. In 2009, I invited my friends Adam Mayer and Bre Pettis to go into business with me building 3D printers.Thus, MakerBot Industries was born.Fast forward to April, 2012 when I was forced out of the very same company. As a result, I have zero transparency into the internal workings of the company that I founded. See this article by Chris Thompson for more infomation.I do not support any move that restricts the open nature of the MakerBot hardware, electronics, software, firmware, or other open projects. MakerBot was built on a foundation of open hardware projects such as RepRap and Arduino, as well as using many open software projects for development of our own software.
I have been withholding judgement until hearing official word regarding the open source nature of the latest MakerBot printer. I’m trying to contact people to find out what the real scoop is but so far nobody is talking, and my ex-partners are not returning phone calls or emails. It certainly doesn’t look good.
Not only would it be a loss of a large Open Hardware manufacturer, but it would also be a loss of a poster child for the movement. Many people have pointed at MakerBot and said “Yes, OSHW is viable as a business model, look at how successful MakerBot is.” If they close those doors, then it would give people who would say OSHW is not sustainable ammunition for their arguments. It would also discourage new OSHW companies from forming. That is a sad thing indeed.
For me, personally, I look at a move to closed source as the ultimate betrayal. When I was forced out, it was a normal, if unfortunate, clash of wills where one person must stay and one person must go.
I swallowed my ego and left, because I knew that the company I founded would carry my ideals further into the world.
Regardless of our differences, I had assumed that Bre would continue to follow the principles that we founded the company on, and the same principles that played a major part in the success of our company.
Moving from an open model to a closed model is contrary to everything that I stand for, and as a co-founder of MakerBot Industries, it makes me ashamed to have my name associated with it.
Bre Pettis, please prove me wrong by clarifying exactly what license MakerBot will be releasing the design files and software under. That is all we (the community) wants.
In closing, I would like to point out the Open Source Hardware Definition
Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design.
The hardware’s source, the design from which it is made, is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it.
Ideally, open source hardware uses readily-available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of individuals to make and use hardware.
Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs.’
Is the MakerBot Replicator 2 Open Source?
‘We’re working that out and we are going to be as open as we possibly can while building a sustainable business. We are going to continue to respect licenses and continue to contribute to the open technology of 3D printing, some of which we initiated. We don’t want to abuse the goodwill and support of our community. We love what we do, we love sharing, and we love what our community creates. I believe strongly that businesses that share will be the winners of tomorrow and I don’t think that’s a secret. Even companies like Google and IBM are embracing open source and finding new ways to share these days.
I’m looking forward to having conversations with folks at the Open Hardware Summit to talk about how MakerBot can share as much as possible, support it’s 150 employees with jobs, make awesome hardware, and be sustainable. Will we have to experiment to make this happen? Yes, and it’s going to take a lot of collaboration, cooperation, and understanding.
I wish there were more examples of large, successful open hardware companies.
From a business perspective, we’ve been absurdly open, more open than any other business I know. There are no models or companies that I know of that have more than 150 employees that are more open. (Would love to be wrong, but I don’t think I am.) We are experimenting so that we can be as open as possible and still have a business at the end of the day.
Will we be successful? I hope so, but even if we are not, everyone will find out that either being as open as possible is a good thing for business or that nobody should do it, or something in between. I personally hope that we succeed, not just because I love what people make with MakerBots and I love the employees that make these machines but because I believe that MakerBot as a business can create a new model for businesses to learn from.
I don’t plan on letting the vulnerabilities of being open hardware destroy what we’ve created.’
Thingiverse does not steal.
We created Thingiverse to be the greatest place to share things using open licenses.
The terms, that we set up in February of this year, allow us to share your designs on our website and protect us from companies with lawyers.
Could we make that more user friendly? Yes, but lawyers cost money and making it simple for people to understand will cost many hours of lawyer time.