The MakerBot/Thingiverse move to the Dark Side (Updated)

Walter | Posted 2012.09.23 at 2:33 pm | Perma

NYC-Resistor offshoot and a generally speaking cool company MakerBot Industries has caused a sudden uproar which seems not to subside. MakerBot has introduced two new successors in their Replicator series of 3D-printers, the Replicator 2 and the Replicator 2X, that for the first time in MakerBot history are not open hardware. Probably not coincidentally, people started to notice that Thingiverse, the online repository of 3D-designs which is also run by MakerBot Industries had changed its terms of use last February. I will quote the bit that has caused quite an uproar in verbatim:

3.2 License. You hereby grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to Company and its affiliates and partners, an irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free and fully paid, worldwide license to reproduce, distribute, publicly display and perform, prepare derivative works of, incorporate into other works, and otherwise use your User Content, and to grant sublicenses of the foregoing, solely for the purposes of including your User Content in the Site and Services. You agree to irrevocably waive (and cause to be waived) any claims and assertions of moral rights or attribution with respect to your User Content.

The relevant bit of the old terms of use read as follows:

However, by posting, uploading, inputting, providing or submitting your content to Thingiverse.com, you are granting Thingiverse.com, its affiliated companies and partners, a worldwide, revocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, create derivative works of, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, transfer, transmit, distribute and publish that content for the purposes of displaying that content on Thingiverse.com and on other Web sites, devices and/or platforms.

The significant difference being that in the old terms of use the license had a limited scope, ‘use, reproduce, create derivative works of, display, transfer, transmit, distribute and publish’ , being the operatives. As a lawyer I tend to struggle with the application of copyright notions to open hardware, but precisely because open hardware and copyright are a poor match, the scope of this license was very much limited to Thingiverse-like platforms. As Bre Pettis wrote in his earlier blog on the change of the terms of use: this bit was probably nicked from the YouTube terms of use or those of a similar content-sharing platform. The net result was that this caused an inadvertent limitation on MakerBot Industries ability to incorporate stuff uploaded to Thingiverse in non-free open hardware products. Because selling a 3D-printer most likely does not fall within the scope of ‘the purpose of displaying that content..’, the newer terms of use however allow for such a thing.

Now these are both decidedly moves away from the openness that MakerBot was evangelizing in the past. Josef Prusa, of RepRap fame, has already started a Occupy Thingiverse movement and others in the community have responded so unfavourably that Bre Pettis, MakerBot Industries CEO and figurehead felt compelled to write a blog titled ‘fixing misinformation with information’ about it. In which he provides an argument that boils down “we haven’t figured out yet how to kick-start a hardware company with venture capital and remaining fully open at the same time. But trust us, we’ll be as open as possible, whatever ‘possible’ means”.  Which is about as tangible as Mitt Romney’s promises for the policies he’ll enact when elected president. Mind you, this section 3.2 of the Thingiverse terms of use is comparable to what is known in free and open software circles as a contribution license agreement. There are are all sorts of ways and purposes for which these are used and having been part of an effort to harmonize these I won’t say it is an inherently evil thing to do.

What is less-than-awesome is the way both changes have been enacted by MakerBot Industries. It is one thing to publicly announce that you’re having to compromise on openness because building an open hardware business model is still pretty much uncharted territory and that you’re moving back to some enclosure and also stating what your goals for future openness are. It is another thing to do kind of omit it in the fanfare surrounding the launch of a new generation of your products, a new generation whose polish was made possible to a significant extent by all the people willing to put up with all the quirks, bugs and sometimes outright braindead engineering decisions embodied in your earlier generations, just because an open 3D-printing future is awesome.

It is outright underhanded to use the same legal tricks outright evil companies such as Facebook and Apple use for the terms of use of a website you awesomely started to create an ecosystem to change the playing field that you can reuse the fruits of other people’s labour and creativity in any way you see fit. Again, you could have announced that due to the different economics of tangible goods versus those of pure information, you’ll need to be able to do stuff that is not necessarily congruent with openness. If done so in advance, the uproar could possibly be equally as bad, but would eventually subside. Especially if you made it clear that if you were actually using a design contributed by a Thingiverse user, you’d be reimbursing them. In fact, MakerBot has already done so, without even being obliged to do so. So if you are already doing something that is acceptable, why not be transparant about it? Because that is what it all boils down: MakerBot betrayed the massive amount of trust it had and makes it worse by telling the community which calls it out for it to trust it even more. And this is what really baffles me. The world of open source is littered with projects that collapsed after a major actor in that community decided to enclose it. Who remembers Mambo? The fork away from OpenOffice.org to LibreOffice because none trusts Oracle? The current forks of MySQL, for precisely the same reason? Or closer to home, Junior Veloso who pulled a similar stunt resulting inbeing overtaken by B9Creator? MakerBot explicitly set out to create a community-based ecosystem, both on the 3D-printer hardware side and the 3D-design side of things. Put a massive effort into that, especially communication. And it is all being thrown away. With platforms like Github available, a Thingiverse contender can easily be created. And then what? MakerBot Industries still won’t have the control it apparantly craved and nothing to show for it to its venture capital funders. I just don’t get it. For now I’ll steer clear from Thingiverse and will suggest others to do the same.

(Updated after the break)

Read more…

Some thoughts on personal fabrication

Walter | Posted 2012.04.09 at 8:46 pm | Perma

One of the buzzwords doing the rounds in the past few years is ‘personal fabrication’. The idea that in the foreseeable future we all will be able to fabricate our own stuff. And although the founder of the fablab phenomenon, MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld, is pretty nuanced about it (watch his TED talk on the subject), some are actually talking about upsetting the traditional supply chains for manufactured goods. It actually is one of the stated goals of the Global Village Construction Set project by Open Source Ecology. The heavily ajective-laden newspeak of their website, this is actually a cool project. Watch Marcin Jakubowski’s TED talk about it. Also read Far McKon’s rather thoughtful criticism of it on his blog. The snark in me prevents me from omitting that the Open Source Ecology are doing everything in imperial measurements. Which aren’t quite useful for your stated target audience: farmers and villagers in the developing world. Get with the program guys, use metric!

Other than that, I find any ideas on reducing our interdependencies a bit interesting. There are a few snags here and there. First of all, economies of scale matter. They matter a great deal. Actually, a lot of the activity in hackerspaces would be impossible weren’t it for the fact that China has become our global workshop. There is no way other than massive robot usage in which we can ever dream to meet the current price-performance ratio of the Chinese manufacturing base. Also, do not forget that current shipping all over the globe is probably one of the last things to survive through the permanent oil crisis we have just entered. Simply because the energy expended lugging that container full of stepper motors for your repraps from Shanghai to Rotterdam or San Diego is actually pretty low. A shame that those massive container behemoths burn really dirty oil for that. Not even the next leg, either inland shipping over the river Rhine or over rail from San Diego elsewhere in the USA (granted, electrifying US rail networks would be a big win and will be inevitable). It is the last hundred or so kilometers that are the really energy-intensive part of those steppers’ journey.

Personal fabrication only makes sense for niche products such as spare parts and when access to the world’s supply chains is not really affordable. Which indeed means the developing world, but perhaps also rural communities in a not so distant future in which the world has stopped shrinking and has expanded again because oil is not so cheap anymore.

All of this does not mean that the GVCS is not an incredibly interesting idea that doesn’t deserve support. It also doesn’t mean distract one jota from the fact that affordable CNC-machines and additive manufacturing will make craftmanship accessible again, without the five years minimum you have to spend to get a skillset need for say, advanced woodworking. In the past lots of us had great ideas that would require the collaboration of several disciplines and therefore execution would be difficult. Now that lasercutters,CNC-mills and 3D-printers are within reach of hobbyists and hackerspaces, these barriers are crumbling. Atoms may or may not become bits, but lasercutters are cool!

SpaceCamp!

willow | Posted 2011.10.17 at 1:32 am | Perma

I know this has been done to some extent before, but we’re having another go of it. Better faster stronger and all that.

Overview:
SpaceCamps exist as a venue for facilitators and founders of hacker and maker spaces to speak to each other on the meta level of the maker movement and the associated responsibilities. SpaceCamp has taken place at Maker Faire San Mateo, Detroit, and New York. It’s also taken place for the Seattle ecosystem and informally at Chaos Communication Camp in Germany. This first global Camp will bring together people from all over the world (ok, mostly North America until our budget is better) for a focused 2-day event. We will all learn from each other’s victories and mistakes, design new patterns for our space processes, and walk away from the event with deeper ways to interact with each other.
See planning and join in the action at http://atrium.schoolfactory.org/spacecamp

image nabbed from @GiantEye's photostream

Let’s get together and have dedicated time to learn from each other. Come prepared to present, as this will be an unconference format. We’re working on getting funding for travel scholarships, and we’ll all throw in together to cover food and drink. Tracks fall into the general categories listed above, and might include things like “If you could go back in time, what lessons would you impart to yourself (and how would you get you to listen?)” “Pokelhaftigkeil (the slump in energy after formation)” “Succession Planning” and “avoiding recreating hierarchical systems when trading time for dues” (add more ideas to the Atrium blog - please tag appropriately and comment a +1 on ideas you like). We’ll be capping attendance at around 350.
Where is this happenings? Well, there are so many fantastic venues that we’re doing a call for venue to kick things off :bit.ly/spacecampvenue
The offered space must be able to comfortably and safely house the 200-400 expected attendees. The event will take place from early Friday evening to late Sunday evening some weekend in April or May.
Categories : blog  conference  meetup
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Help Hackerspaces Happen in Cairo and Elsewhere in Africa

maltman23 | Posted 2011.09.27 at 3:18 pm | Perma

3-Day Egyptian Maker Space
Maker Faire Africa is coming up next month, in Cairo, Egypt. It promises to be a three-day mashup of Africa’s most imaginative makers. And, at least two Americans will be joining them.

Bilal Ghalib (co-founder of All Hands Active hackerspace in Ann Arbor, MI, and hackerspace documentarian) and Mitch Altman (co-founder of Noisebridge hackerspace in San Francisco, CA, inventor of TV-B-Gone remote controls, and recent recipient of the first-ever Maker Hero Award) are going to Maker Faire Africa to create a three-day hackerspace there. This will help the founders of the Cairo Hackerspace establish their forming space into a physical reality which, in turn, will help get other hackerspaces going throughout Africa. We have recently seen how important hackerspaces are in helping people in Africa live more fulfilling lives. Let’s see how much more we all can do with so little!

Bilal and Mitch received seed funding from Maker Faire Africa, and at posting time, 147 backers have raised $6,822 over the past two weeks on their Kickstarter campaign!  They need to raise $200 more in the next several hours (and any amount over their goal will directly help hackerspaces in Africa!). If you can give a $1, please do! If you can give more, please do! Any amount is great! (And they are offering some pretty cool premiums too.)

3 Day Egyptian Maker Space – Expanding the Maker Movement

Hackerspaces at The Next Hope!

Nick Farr | Posted 2010.06.15 at 10:12 pm | Perma

Back in 2008 at The Last HOPE, we said that Hackerspaces were possible everywhere and your excuses are invalid.  We had an awesome Hackerspace Village and Hardware Hacking Area, and provided inspiration to hundreds of folks who would go on to build their own Hackerspaces all over the world.

It’s now 2010.  Hackerspaces are everywhere and our rallying cry from 2008 has been heard all over the world.  Spaces that kicked off the movement like NYCResistor and HacDC have matured and moved into larger quarters and spawned very successful startups from Open Source ideas.  Spaces like Hive76 and AlphaOne Labs have proven that big cities need more than one Hackerspace.  Now that we’re well on our way to “Hackerspaces Everywhere!”, we think it’s time to change the cry to “Hackerspaces Forever!”

“Hackerspaces Forever!” is the theme of The Hackerspace Village at The NEXT Hope and the panel discussion taking place at the next hope.  In addition to a Hardware Hacking Area that’s in a prime position in the Mezzanine level, we have an awesome group of speakers lined up to tell you how their Hackerspaces are working on growing, expanding and being around for a very long time:

Mitch Altman (Noisebridge, San Francisco, USA)
Mitch likes to trick people into doing what they love to do

Sean Bonner (Crashspace, Los Angeles, USA / HackspaceSG, Singapore)
We’re not really sure what Sean Bonner does, but it’s awesome.

Johannes Grenzfurthner (hackbus.at, Vienna, Austria)
Writer, artist, director, DIY researcher

Markus “fin” Hametner (Metalab, Vienna, Austria)
Less serious than Nick Farr

Alexander Heid (HackMiami, Miami, FL, USA)
President, HackMiami and Co-Chair of South Florida OWASP

Nathan “JimShoe” Warner (Makers Local 256, Huntsville, AL, USA)
Former Chairman, Charter Member of Makers Local 256

Matt Joyce (NYC Resistor, Brooklyn, NY, USA)
Once Banned from HOPE, twice spoken at HOPE

Carlyn Maw (Crashspace, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Crashpace Cat Herder and canonical source of awesomeness

Far McKon (Hive 76, Philadelphia, PA, USA)
Co-Founder of Hive76, Instigator of weird and interesting projects, and a ginger

psytek (Alpha One Labs, Brooklyn, NY, USA)
Inventor and engineer currently building a Flying Saucer at Alpha One Labs.

The “Hackerspaces Forever!” panel will be moderated by Nick Farr.

We hope to see you at The Next HOPE!

Categories : blog  conference  hackerspace  hacking  meetup  party  people  soldering  speaker

WTF is up with Sweden

kugg | Posted 2010.01.22 at 2:33 pm | Perma

The recent history of what has happened at “the Forsk“, a hackerspace in Malmö, Sweden before and after the police raid(s).
Let’s start with a timeline to give you a quick round-up of where we are, since unfortunately many articles referred to are written in Swedish.

21-11-2009

Forsk makes public appearance in local newspaper:
http://sydsvenskan.se/kultur-och-nojen/article568467/Det-finns-inga-sparrar-allt-gar-att-knacka.html
( Swedish )

28-11-2009

Police makes a raid against the whole house where the hackerspace
forskningsavdelningen is seated.
This is partly filmed and published live in English

http://bambuser.com/channel/forskningsavd

The raid did not have a search warrant.
All the background can be found here in English

http://hack.org/mc/writings/hackerspace-raided.html

29-11-2009

We made statements in papers and blogs in English
http://forskningsavd.se/2009/11/29/i-can-haz-moar-bout-teh-reid/

At the same time, the police made statements about the club below our space in Swedish

http://www.polisen.se/Skane/Aktuellt/Nyheter/Skane/2009/okt-dec/Alkohol-och-slangbomber-beslagtogs-vid-tillslag-i-Malmo/

09-12-2009

The prosecutor gave a statement on that we can have our computers returned, since all data has been “secured”

http://sydsvenskan.se/malmo/article591271/Datorer–aterlamnas-br–efter-kopiering-av-data.html
(Swedish)

At this point (22-01-2010) there are still no allegations concerning the hackerspace, but in statements towards press people, these terms get mentioned:

  • “Preparation for Grand Theft”
  • “Computer intrusion”
  • “Breaking of the special knife law”
  • “Fencing “
  • “Breaking alcohol laws”

Asked about these allegations, the prosecutor claimed that this is nothing they will press charges on. (or something similar)

10-12-2009

When we ask the police to return our stuff, they say no as they haven’t been able to use or understand any of the data they
cloned of any of the disks. For this reason, they decide to keep the machines to bargain with.
(one laptop unrelated to the hackerspace is handed back, but is totally wrecked (one disk is overwritten with garbage data, dvd-player is broken))

18-12-2009

Police contacts employers and relatives to people in the hackerspace to push them in to give up information on people in hackerspace and what “passwords” they may have.

04-01-2010

Police decides to hand back ink, wifi-antenna, Linksys-router and three out of ten bus cards.

19-01-2010

Police raids founder of hackerspace grill-bit (MMN-o) in Swedish city Umeå (and blog host for forskningsavd). During this bust, the police confiscates four servers, one laptop and one external USB-drive. The forskningsavd.se blog goes offline due to the raid.

http://blog.mmn-o.se/2010/01/19/polisen-raidade-mitt-kontor/ (Swedish)

20-01-2010

The police accuses MMN-o of computer intrusion, prosecutors disagree on the charges but continue with charges.

The charges are based on MMN-o using the Internet connection at his rented office to set up a VPN.
According to the ISP this VPN disturbed the service for other customers since it was “complex to limit its bandwidth” and this type
of connection was not agreed upon. Further the ISP refused to contact MMN-o in person since this would “give him a chance to remove
something illegal before the raid”.
Here is an article written by MMN-o in Swedish

http://blog.mmn-o.se/2010/01/20/misstanke-om-dataintrang-ansluta-till-internet-olagligt/

Update:

26-01-2010

Forskningsavdelningen send a letter to the prosecutor to claim back equipment and send a reminder on the legal state of this case.

http://forskningsavd.se/files/docs/prosecutor_letter.doc

1-01-2010

Police responds with a letter announcing the release of all computers. YAY

http://forskningsavd.se/2010/02/03/we-sent-a-letter-and-one-week-later-we-got-an-answer/

Current list of missing equiment is:

  • Metal files
  • Blank keys
  • Pocket calculator
  • Lock-picking practice locks
  • 2 key cutters
  • 1 external 2.5″ hard drive
  • 1 backpack
  • 6 RFID cards (Jojo Skånetrafiken) (the cops took 10 of them and have returned 4)

Legal implication

Most likely all charges in all of these “investigations” will be dropped. Further there is a fair chance that no equipment or data
content will be handed back before it’s “useless”.

All charges that will/may be raised against police will be dropped no matter what they are or how much evidence there is.

History

You all probably remember the raid of hackerspace Abbenay
(http://blog.hackerspaces.org/2009/09/29/the-situation-at-abbenay-hackerspace/)
or maybe the raid of the service provider PRQ (when all customer machines where
cdonfiscated) http://www.thelocal.se/3963/20060601/

This kind of events/mentality has a history older then these recent years.

The current head of IT-police in Sweden, Stefan Kronqvist, made this statement about hackers back in 1984:

The youngsters, like the so called “hackers”, have created their own etic rules where you must break every rule possible. To be the worst is the best. This point of view is a direct copy from America.
http://www.textfiles.com/magazines/SHA/shanews1.txt

More recently he made this statement, as an argument to why police had decided to put “thepiratebay.org” in the countrywide DNS filter against childporn:
The police have documented evidence that child-pornographic content is
hosted at The Pirate Bay

http://www.idg.se/2.1085/1.114684 (Swedish)

These statements set the standard.

Future

“This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.
We will not be victims, we wil continue we will grow and we will
learn, build, recycle and change!
Forskningsavdelningen means Research Department. “Forskning” is the
idea of analyzing circumstances and document them to learn and change
behaviour. Our department are good at this. We are not sad, hurt,
outraged or offended we are innovation we are change we are friendship
and we “forsk” our way to the future. We will not excuse our selves
for our curiosity.

Hack on!

// kugg at forskningsavdelningen Sweden

Abbenay Hacklab Shut Down, AK4 Evicted

Nick Farr | Posted 2009.10.08 at 6:35 pm | Perma

Bad news regarding Abbenay Hacklab, for whom we put out a call for support last week:

I am sorry to inform you that early this morning the cops raided the AK4 squat where the Abbenay hacklab was set up, and 16 people were arrested. The joys of Sweden…

So far, I do not know if Fredrik Winberg made any further contact with anyone involved, nor if the squatters have been released.

More news and updates on the aftermath over at the Hackerspaces Discuss list.

Categories : blog  hackers  hackerspace  organization
Tags :     

The Situation at Abbenay Hackerspace

Nick Farr | Posted 2009.09.29 at 5:54 pm | Perma

The one-month old Abbenay hacklab has put out a call for support from the Hackerspace community. In the spirit of ASCII and PUSCII, they opened up operations in a squat in downtown Stockholm. While squats are unusual in Sweden, this particular space has been able to stay open for a month.

We are however facing an imminent eviction threat and police pressure has been significantly increasing lately – with civil cops coming very often to take pictures of the house and sirens waking us up early in the morning. This call is asking you to contact the landlord to show support to the hacklab and the squat…

Herein lies a rather unique opportunity. While you may not agree with the politics behind squatting, Abbenay’s call for support is asking for an open dialogue with the building’s landlord, advocating on behalf of Hackerspaces and asking for reasonable accommodation. Here is an opportunity to purposefully advocate for a fellow Hackerspace, not by necessarily aligning yourself with the politics of the situation but by appealing to a property owner why it’s in his community’s best interest to allow Abbenay to continue.

Hellekin’s very reasoned and well-argued letter is a great example of how you can voice your support:

Although their methods are questionable, please consider what benefits you and your fellow citizens could enjoy from having such a dedicated team of goofy researchers in your capital city. Beyond the obvious press coverage…you would be surprised … how productive and ingenious these people can be, and how shaking and beneficial such an endeavor can be for the local community.

Those of you who have started hackerspaces know how difficult the bootstrapping process is, as well as how beneficial these spaces are to the technically creative and curious where you live. While your hackerspace probably took a different route in coming to be, consider that every Hackerspace confronts its own forming and operating challenges differently. Consider how you give and receive help at your hackerspace and consider that what Abbenay is asking for isn’t that much different.

While this post is a bit of a departure from my theoretical musings of late, I believe this is a fascinating situation with a good working solution that shows promise. Even if Abbenay is ultimately evicted, the mere process of reaching out to a property owner in another part of the world can help you frame your own thoughts about your Hackerspace and how the magic and struggles in your space relate to those in spaces throughout the world.

If you do decide to contact Fredrik Winberg, be sure to post what you said or wrote to the Hackerspaces Discuss list. His contact information can be found in the initial call for support. There is also a Facebook group you can join as well!

Categories : blog  hackers  hackerspace  organization
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Greetings from the night shift!

astera | Posted 2009.09.09 at 9:05 am | Perma

Dear haxx0rs,

sorry for the short, unannounced downtime this night, as we were doing some maintenance on the servers.
As of now, everything’s up & rolling again! However, if you encounter any bugs [cough, cough], please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll be right on it like white on rice ;)

G’morning greetz from your fave nightshifters hellekin & yours truly,
/astera

The Journey Begins…

Jordan | Posted 2009.09.08 at 6:00 am | Perma

Soon I may be visiting you!

Today I will embark on an epic journey with my friends Bilal Ghalib and Paul Jehlen to travel across the U.S. and Canada. Our mission? To record hackerspace history. We’re calling this film adventure the Two Hands Project… because along with everything else ever made, it will be produced with two hands!

Why are we doing this? As a member of Pumping Station: One, I know what a hackerspace is, but many other people don’t. If you are a member of a hackerspace, I’m sure you’ve had to explain it before, and it’s not always easy. If you aren’t a member, then I’m sure you’ve wondered yourself. We want to help explain what a hackerspace is, why they are important, and what it means to be a member of such a place.

So, we’re setting out to film the creation of projects, ideas, and whole new hackerspaces! We feel that now is an important time in the history of these spaces, and it is our responsibility to record that history.

For more information about the project, visit www.TwoHandsProject.com. I plan to blog here as much as possible along the way, so stay tuned for updates on our adventures!

Cheers!
- Jordan Bunker