LICENSING do and don't

Last weeks there is some confusion about the use and interpretation of certain open source license types in relation to 3D printer designs.
We hope that we can ‘clear the air’ in this topic and ask (legal?) specialists opinions and advise / input on
this very complicated matter

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Shame on you guys for tweaking my enclosure design by removal of genuine SoftRF project identifiers!
It is more or less Ok as long as you do it for your own, private use, but don’t put it on public access resources, please.
It would be fair if you guys will make your very own enclosure design, by starting it from scratch.

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You published your design on Thingiverse under Creative Common attribution, share alike license.

So as long as this new version is shared under the same license I do not see where the problem is — in fact your license choice would require them to publish it.

If you don’t like that, think twice before choosing a licence…


I found the modified parts on Thingiverse in. a remixed design. I’m wondering that you are complaining about the remix, because you published your design under a license which explicitly allows remixing:

" You are free to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material

  • for any purpose, even commercially.

  • The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms."

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I’ve submitted a claim to Thingiverse on the unauthorized use of my design.
I believe the team will apply law enforcement activity and will shut the page of unauthorized “clone” of my design down soon.
My friendly advice to the “cloner” is to revoke the unauthorized files from Thingiverse before their customers service will enter the scene.

Regardless of particular counterfeit activity made by the individual himself, unauthorized use of my design in the Paxcounter project is applying a shame on the project developers as well.
Once again, it is better for your project to do not use my 3D design of the enclosure and create your very own instead. I believe, if I would clone your firmware and would distribute it as my own one - you would not like this fact as well, despite your Apache License does not prohibit that activity.

these are non-commercial activities… relax pls

I can understand that you were supprised to see your basic design used without mentioning you (hence my ‘like’) but to threaten with ’ law enforcement’ is a bit over the top imho.
my guess is that you use code from his project ?

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Paxcounter software is open source and you can do anything with it what is covered by the license as long as you stay close to license terms.

You explicitly allowed sharing and remixing by your license choice, see below. The remixer (no, it’s not me) attributed your project and gave credit on his/her thingiverse site. So where is a license violation?

If you plan law enforcement you should be aware that you granted a license what means that YOU are responsible that the claimed rights of the license are yours and are given to the user. If you revoke this, users who relied on the license could claim to be awarded by you for damage.

SoftRF case v5 ( for TTGO T-Beam )by xkremator is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

You are free to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
  • for any purpose, even commercially.

This license is acceptable for Free Cultural Works.

  • The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

I understand your anger when you are not xkremator and some other guy published your design on thingiverse. That would be a problem. But if Linar=xkremator, then you have a strange understanding of the CC license.

Well, it seems that both xkremator and Linar projects are under LGPL license, which however does not change the above considerations - it allows almost every use. Not sure where is the CC reference comes from, unless xkremator changed license after Linar request.

It has been changed, I am pretty sure it was CC as this is the first thing I checked when the guy started crying…


I can also confirm that the license on Thingiverse was changed. It sure was CC before.


Google’s 27 Dec 2018 07:32:09 GMT cache indeed still shows CC-BY.

SoftRF case v5 ( for TTGO T-Beam ) by xkremator - Thingiverse.pdf (410.2 KB)


What affect has changing a license afterwards, on licensees who got the code before under a previous license?

In principle, who accessed the software before the change, had it licensed with the old one and this cannot be changed. In this specific case, xkremator wrongly licensed under CC because LGPL is viral, so there could be some issue due to his/her choice (not sure however about license compatibility).

EDIT: I feel slightly silly, only now I checked the About page of xkremator and he seems the same person as Linar. Mmm. Maybe too many words have already been spent for this case.

To clarify re. Re-licensing…
As sole author of some work, you are allowed to re-license at any time, but you can never revoke a granted license for your previous work.

So basically if you re-license it really applies to newer version of your work, unless your new license is less restrictive, in which case the end-user can choose which suits better for its use.

If it is a work with multiple contributors, then everybody needs to agree on license change; which might not be easy.

And obviously if your work uses licensed parts, you need to use a compatible license.

This is not true. LGPL has been made specifically so that LGPL components can be used in work having different license schemes.
GPL is viral.
To illustrate the point:

  • My work uses a GPL componenent, or modify one: I need to release it GPL as well.
  • My work uses a LGPL component: I am free to use any license for this work.
  • I modify a LGPL component: I need to publish this component with the same license.

When I publish small things as maker I tend to

  • Use GPL for my code (If the used libraries allow it) – the problem is you often find code which is not licensed at all so you don’t always know the intent of the author.
    When you contribute to a project, you typically need to abide the the project license (E.g. CLA for TTN)
  • Use CC Attribution / Share alike / Non-commercial for other things (typically 3D printing) – I really don’t care what people are doing with what I share, I just want to avoid somebody making money with what I give to the community (I am naive to think it has any value at all :roll_eyes:)

Licensing is a complex matter, for any serious work, you should consult a lawyer specialized in that matter to ensure your choice matches you intent…


I agree on this; regarding virality, I had just quickly read the license summary on the Github repository of this case, which reads:

  • License and copyright notice
  • Disclose source
  • State changes
  • Same license (library)

Yes, but it also says:

However, a larger work using the licensed work through interfaces provided by the licensed work may be distributed under different terms and without source code for the larger work.

A good example is the GNU glibc library which is one of the core libraries of the Linux system and is licensed LGPL. Virtually any program on Linux uses the glibc. If it was viral it would imply any software running on Linux would inherit the same license, which is clearly not the case.

“No plaintiff, no judge.”

By the way…

The IBM LMIC stack is released under the Eclipse Public License.

The EPL is a (weak) copyleft license, changes to that library requires you to keep the same license, but when you use it you can choose any license you want…
… with the caveat that the license you choose must be compatible with EPL; the most notable incompatible one being the GPL.

To make it clear, if you are using LMIC in your project you cannot license it as GPL, nor use any other library licensed as GPL (LGPL is OK though)

Practical example: you cannot use LMIC and finitespace/BME280 together…