Welcome to our site!

Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.

  • Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.

Electronics and copyrights...

Status
Not open for further replies.

ikalogic

Member
Hello,

As i am starting a KITs design/selling business, and as my first product is starting to take shape (and i believe it will be interresting and worth stealing) i am concerned about protecting my work. I was hoping you guys could give me ideas and opinions about that.

The first kit i am building is a simple but powerfull 24 MSPS logic analyzer. It comes with a software side PC allowing waveform viewing and manipulation.

the problem is that i still want to give the circuit and hex code for hobbyists to do it at home. I don't care about personal use. My concern is that someone would take it and produce it in large scale. How can i prevent that?

I have a starting point. Since i am using objectiv developement's USB libraries, i'll buy 2 licenses , one hobby license and 150 commercial licenses ( V-USB - Licensing ). Each one of those 2 will have a specific Vendor ID and Product ID. So in the PC software side, i'll be able to detect if it is a hobby device build from the HEX source available on my website, or if it is a KIT that was sold by me or by my distributors.

In case of hobby license , i can display a message saying the device is not to be used for commercial purposes and not to be sold. but will this prevent some silly guys from making them with the hobby license and sell them on e-bay? i don't think so....

Also, i am not concerned about someone saying that he built it, since it need the PC software with my name and website on it..

So, to summarize, i want to have a mean of legally attacking a group of people in case they sell my devices in mass production... Would a Creative commons license do any good?

thank you in advance for sharing your opinions and experience on this matter.
 

blueroomelectronics

Well-Known Member
Nothing will prevent the silly guy from selling them on eBay.

Trying to retain control of a device will cost a fortune. If it's popular you'll never be able to afford the lawsuits.
 

ThermalRunaway

New Member
If it's popular you'll never be able to afford the lawsuits.

I hate this about law. I think upholding the law should be about what is fair, not about how much money you have. But we live in a world where the big players get to bully everyone else just because they have more money.

There's nothing anyone can say to me that will convince me this is fair!

Brian
 

ThermalRunaway

New Member
I sympathise too, because actually I'm in a very similar situation. I'm currently working on a project that a friend has convinced me will have a market. I'm pro-open source, so I'd love to be able to share schematics and firmware with other hobbyists, but I'd also like to try selling some kits and I'd like the selling privilege to mine only. We're only talking a niche market in my case, but still...

Let me know if you find anything interesting in this regard!

Brian
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I hate this about law. I think upholding the law should be about what is fair, not about how much money you have. But we live in a world where the big players get to bully everyone else just because they have more money.

There's nothing anyone can say to me that will convince me this is fair!

Life never is.

Even worse, it's a big world - and you've vastly less chance of even attempting to protect it outside your own country. Then some countries don't have copyright laws at all, so it's perfectly legal for them to steal and copy your idea.

But sell your device for a reasonable price, and it won't be worth while for anyone to copy it.
 

blueroomelectronics

Well-Known Member
I hate this about law. I think upholding the law should be about what is fair, not about how much money you have. But we live in a world where the big players get to bully everyone else just because they have more money.

There's nothing anyone can say to me that will convince me this is fair!

Brian


Justice is blind, not necessarily fair.
 

House0Fwax

Member
I heard once that if you send the 'plans' to yourself in a 'registered post letter' but never open it. Then if push comes to shove in court, then you have evidence that the date speaks for itself.

Just a thought.
 

colin mac

New Member
I think the only thing that can protect you is a patent? If you're giving away the schematics and code to the general public, nothing can stop anyone from building and selling the product themselves though.
 

Ghosty_Ghoul

New Member
Then some countries don't have copyright laws at all, so it's perfectly legal for them to steal and copy your idea.
Nearly all countries do, it's just that many countries don't enforce copyright law, e.g. Cuba, China and Russia seem to be the worst offenders.
8586-350px-Berne_Convention.png

Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

IP law is good in theory but in practise it probably does as much harm as it does good.
 

ikalogic

Member
Wow thanks for all those replies....

Actually, you convicted me that there is nothing i can do from "law" side. However, i thought about some kind of "activation" to the internal EEPROM allowing the device to work. activation would be done by a connection to the internet via the PC side software.

This way, i can stop the activation anytime i want from my website, or allow only certain devices to be activated.

The only problem is that i wont be able too give away the source codes, but i'll still give the HEX file and all tools to allow hobbyist to do-it-at-home.

This is not worth it for every kit, sure, but for some other kits, looking at the market and the available solutions, it is really worth it all the way.

I can give more detail about the protection solution if some of you are interested.
 
Last edited:

Bob Scott

New Member
I heard once that if you send the 'plans' to yourself in a 'registered post letter' but never open it. Then if push comes to shove in court, then you have evidence that the date speaks for itself.

Just a thought.

Or, you can have your schematic/software printouts AND non-modifiable toner type printer photocopies notarised in order to prove that they existed on that particular day. This way you have proof of prior art.

Can you build a PGA or two into the circuitry? Non-readable microprocessor? Some of them have programming capability to make them non-readable. They will become "mystery devices".
 
Last edited:

Ghosty_Ghoul

New Member
The only problem is that i wont be able too give away the source codes, but i'll still give the HEX file and all tools to allow hobbyist to do-it-at-home.
Sorry but I wouldn't buy a kit if it didn't include the source, many people won't. Half the learning it looking through the code.
 

ikalogic

Member
Sorry but I wouldn't buy a kit if it didn't include the source, many people won't. Half the learning it looking through the code.

Then there is absolutely no protection possible... but i am thinking, the guys at Objective Development that made V-USB drivers, they provide source code and also protect their work, and so far i have not seen any theft...i wonder how did they do/how much they paid..

i am thinking maybe i can give the source code if i can build an activation scheme that is done totally in the software side... i'll have to think about it...but i won't give the source code of the PC software! i have to protect myself somehow.. don't it? :)
 

kchriste

New Member
Forum Supporter
Sorry but I wouldn't buy a kit if it didn't include the source, many people won't.
Agreed. Most of these copyright protection techniques only end up inconveniencing legitimate customers and do little to stop piracy and copying. As mentioned, sell it for a fair price and you'll do much better. Also, sometimes bootleg copies can actually increase sales if it boosts the item's popularity to heights that would never be achieved otherwise. VHS vs Betamax and PC vs MAC are examples of this.
 
Last edited:

homik

New Member
Last edited:

Mr RB

Well-Known Member
Probably the greatest protection you can use is "value for money". If you sell a good product at a good price with good support there is little need for someone to copy it. And if they do it will be more likely a similar priced product to yours that is not "the original" so they are entering a level competition with a handicap, like I said less attractive to copy you.

The whole idea of protectionism-supported overprices is such a 1900's concept. From back in the days when crooks like Edison would rush down and patent everyone else's ideas then use legal muscle to sell their "Patented" stuff at inflated prices.

For better or worse those days are long gone, with only some larger slower companies holding on to that obsolete business model.
 

kpatz

New Member
Probably the greatest protection you can use is "value for money". If you sell a good product at a good price with good support there is little need for someone to copy it. And if they do it will be more likely a similar priced product to yours that is not "the original" so they are entering a level competition with a handicap, like I said less attractive to copy you.
Agreed 10,000,000 percent. Copyright/patent/IP law has been ridiculously abused in the name of profit. Instead of using brute force tactics to prevent "copying" (e.g. activation schemes that only end up annoying legitimate users, and don't even slow down pirates), make and price the product in such a way that it's more cost effective to buy it than copy it. You'll never eliminate bootlegging competely, but honest people are far more likely to be honest if they are getting value for their money.

Just remember... the right way and the Microsoft way are usually two different things.

Another possibility could be to have more than one version of the product. An open-source version, and a "commercial" version that offers more features but without code availability. That way those who want to tinker and look at the code can get the open-source version, and those who want to pay for the full-featured version can do that as well.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Latest threads

EE World Online Articles

Loading
Top