The term “open source” refers to something that can be modified because its design is publicly accessible. While the term was originally coined in the context of computer software, it has come to designates a set of values. Open source initiatives embrace and celebrate open exchange of ideas, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community development. The hapi project was founded on these values.
Balancing Benefit and Business
Open Source is often misinterpreted as “free”. The hardware designs for Arduino products are open source but you will be hard pressed to find anyone giving away these systems. However, anyone is free to access the designs, modify them at will, build their own systems and sell them.
But why would a business “give away” its intellectual property?
If the sole mission of the business is to generate profit, it probably would not. However, if the mission of the business includes aspects of social benefit, the decision becomes more clear. By sharing intellectual property, a company can:
- Inspire collaboration around its product lines
- Accelerate innovation around its products
- Increase its rate of adoption in the Marketplace
- Lower the risk to its customers
But How Is The IP Protected?
Open Source is sometimes mistaken as “public domain”. This is not the case. Intellectual property that is in the public domain does not have property rights associated with it. The property rights of public domain IP have either expired or have been forfeited by the authors and any person or company can use it however they wish.
In contrast, Open Source IP is copyrighted by a legal entity and then released under an open source license. There are several standard licenses for open source IP but the gist of them is this: anyone is free to access, distribute and use the IP in whatever way they see fit, but if they modify the IP in any way, those modifications must be released under the same open source license that the original IP was released under. In other words, if someone improves an open source product, the improvements must also be released as open source property.
So Who Owns The IP Created Within The HAPI Project?
In the case of HAPI intellectual property rights are retained by the Open Community Development Corporation and distributed under appropriate open source licenses.
HAPI (Hydroponic Automation Platform Initiative) is an open-source project of Maya Culpa, LLC