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Legal and copyrights confusion. Answered

Hey everyone,

I love instructables and I've been working on my own tutorial for the last few weeks. I am not far from publishing the instructables. Recently it came to my attention that I might have some legal/copyright issues.

I built my DIY using some parts I took down from other products that are still on sale. One of these parts is copyrighted but not patented.
I was wondering, due to the DIY and instructables nature if that would be an issue for me? I am not reselling the DIY or pushing people to do the same as me and even give indication to future makers about how to obtain that part legally. I cite all the sources of the original product from which I borrowed the parts. Would it be ok if I publish my instructables like this or should I avoid talking at all about the "borrowed" parts?

Also, if a newspaper or magazine wanted to publish an article about my instructables, would granting them sole publishing rights interfere with using the "borrowed parts" that I talk about above? Would I even be able at all to grant them these rights, given the general terms of the CC license (Non-commercial share-alike)? Does this CC license allow anyone to publish an article about my instructables without my written consent (print and online), so long as they cite the sources?

Thanks in advance for helping me out, I'm a bit confused!



4 years ago

A huge number of the projects here are built with parts from other products, so don't sweat it.

You won't be able to grant a magazine sole publishing rights, since the project will already be published here, and the site has rights to it.

If you're worried about articles about your work, it doesn't matter what sort of licence you use, anybody can write about it. They can even quote parts of it quite legally.

If you publish your instructable BY-NC-SA, other people are required to give the source, are not allowed to make money off it, and any variations they publish must be published under the same conditions.


Reply 4 years ago

This clarifies a lot. Puts my mind at ease about the "borrowed parts"!

So basically, under the BY-NC-SA if a magazine asks me for exclusive rights to do a print version of the tutorial, I am not allowed to grant them these rights, all I can do is tell them they can only publish under the BY-NC-SA license? Is it not possible to grant them the right to print publish the tutorial, whilst respecting the terms of this license? Would the monetary exchange between myself and the publisher violate the terms of the BY-NC-SA license and my agreement towards Instructables.com?

What confuses me is that the CC license states: "CC's NonCommercial (NC) licenses prohibit uses that are primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or monetary compensation. Whether a use is commercial will depend on the specifics of the situation and the intentions of the user". However the terms of the license also state that separate agreements are possible: "You may offer the licensed material under other licenses in addition to the CC license (a practice commonly referred to as "dual licensing"). For example, you may offer your material to the public under a NonCommercial license, but offer commercial permissions to fee-paying customers."

Pardon my ignorance, I read the license FAQ page but there is a lot of information to digest and sometimes not so clear.

Thanks again for the help!


Reply 4 years ago

You can grant them the rights, but they can't be exclusive, and they can't profit from the article (easier to ignore that bit).

You retain copyright of the tutorial (you wrote it), so any money that changes hands is between you and them.

The confusion is; you can let folk use your work for free if they are only going to make one for themselves, or giving them away as gifts, but as soon as they start charging others for the object, they will have to pass on some of the profit to you in a licence fee.

For instance, I made myself a Scout badge, using the trademarked logo of the UK Scout association. I did not have to pay for that.

Other leaders saw it, and now I make them to sell, but I have to pass 10% of my profits to the UKSA as part of a licence agreement we have made.

See: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LightWorksLaser

Items I have designed myself, but do not feature the fleur de lis, are not subject to the licence fee.