Enforceability of CC "Non-Commercial" license? Answered
Update: I was able to resolve this issue with Jameco and I now earn a commission on the kit sales. Original post below.
I'm not sure if this is the right forum to post this, and I realize most responses will probably start with "I am not a lawyer, but...", but I figured it's worth asking.
I publish all my Instructables under the CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license:
What I had in mind was that I didn't want people trying to sell the content - putting my Instructables in a book and selling it, or behind a pay wall on the internet or whatever (I realize the odds of that happening are probably slim). I figured the odds of anyone actually selling a product based on one of my Instructables were vanishingly small.
However, it turns out that my most popular Instructable:
is now the basis for an Infinity Mirror kit sold by Jameco Electronics:
It looks like this was a project by one of their summer interns, who did a "step-by-step guide" (which DOES link to my Instructable as the original source) here:
To complicate things a bit, Jameco as a feature called "Club Jameco" where you can design electronics projects (similar to Instructables) with a set bill of materials, and if it's popular enough they will sell it as a kit and give you a comission:
I contacted Jameco to let them know that technically I'd published the project under a non-commercial license, so they probably shouldn't have done that without consulting with me (in a very cordial manner, not threatening to sue or anything). Their response was that they thought the intern's work was "different" enough and that she put enough of her own work into the project that it constituted a different product, which I strongly disagree with (the only circuit diagram in her written directions is from my Instructable - all she really did was create a BOM using Jameco parts instead of SparkFun). I would have liked to make this my own Club Jameco project so I could earn commission, but they said they wouldn't want to sell duplicate kits like that.
Realistically, I doubt I'm missing out on huge amounts of cash here (the kits retail for $80 and commission is 10% or so), so I'm in no hurry to go hire a lawyer. I'm just curious about the enforceability of Creative Commons licenses in general. Do I have the right to just tell them "Hey, you actually can't do that, because the license says so?" In theory, would I actually need to hire a lawyer and send them some sort of scary-looking cease-and-desist letter?
So again, I know most Instructables users probably can't give actual legal advice...just curious if anyone else has had a similar experience. I'm sure content gets ripped off without attribution quite a bit, violating the "Attribution" and "Share-Alike" clauses of the CC license.