Request for Comments: Report "Dominant Legal Challenges and Solutions Practised"

Part of our work for the Digital DIY project is to study the legal challenges in this context. We have published a first report that we hereby present to you with a strong request for comments. We hope this one not to go in just another EC drawer but to be useful for the makers, policymakers, enterpreneurs and educators who are confronted with these challenges.

Here's a quick overview of the main research topics that we have identified and addressed in this work.

  • Liability
  • Ownership of DiDIY resources
  • Non-exclusive Public Licensing
  • Digital fabrication or 3D printing of exclusively protected products and exemptions
  • Internet of Things and privacy and anonymity
  • DiDIY Drones
  • Blockchain technologies for decentralised applications
  • Pathogens and 3D printed guns

In the document we introduce the foundations of Digital DIY and the main legal systems that intervene in the observed challenges. Then we study these challenges and discuss the solutions practised by communities.

Consider that knowledge sharing is a crucial aspect in Digital DIY communities. It then becomes relevant to see how communities deal with the sharing of design files to name just one element, in the context of patent and copyright legislation that was designed to give exclusive control and restrict the unencumbered sharing of knowledge. There are lessons to be learnt from the Free Software Movement and open source development communities. For the sharing of software, these communities have matured a superior model for innovation based on shared source code and the related four freedoms. But do the same logics apply in the case of hardware design? These and other issues are discussed in the document.

We hope this document to be useful for various target groups. We are aware of the fact that most people avoid legal information as much as they can, for its complexities. And it certainly is complex, as many different legal systems intervene. But we do consider that practitioners in the field of Digital DIY, educators, enterpreneurs and policymakers should have an understanding of the main challenges and solutions practised.

We look forward to receive your comments. Please use the following channels:

  • read the draft report in PDF format
  • read the draft report in Google Docs and leave your comments there
  • send any comments directly to me by email or through the contact form

Our plan is to come with un improved version by the end of the year. Looking forward to your feedback and any uses you may make of this.