Watch as “Ask a Lawyer” Tackles Legality in the Maker World

Maker News
Watch as “Ask a Lawyer” Tackles Legality in the Maker World
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Limor and Phil from Adafruit sat down with Marty Schwimmer  and Jordan Garner to discuss legal issues in making. These two happen to be very maker friendly lawyers and this is over an hour of fascinating conversation.

Of course the most common questions on maker’s minds is about patents and ownership. The shortest answer to these questions is that it is complicated and there’s no short answer.

On the subject of attribution and ownership, Phil shared a story about Bristlebots, the cute little vibrating “bugs” made from toothbrush heads. They were used in a book and uncredited, and this entire story is documented on Make! You can find Part 1, where the issue is outlined. Apparently, a YouTube video “like” was the deciding factor in earning the proper credit and breaking down the PR denial. You can find the resolutions in Part 2.

It doesn’t always stick to law. They share their favorite anime, Akira and Spirited Away, as well as anecdotes about the job.

One area that particularly stands out to me as an interesting and important one, is creative commons non-commercial. As Phil points out, the non-commercial part of the license causes a lot of issues because “commercial” is not clearly defined. Does a blog with ads count as commercial? What about a YouTube video embedded in a site with ads? What if you don’t have ads on your video, but someone else embeds it on their blog with ads? Is the music you’re using, that has a non-commercial clause, being abused? Again, there’s no simple answer here.

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I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. find me at

View more articles by Caleb Kraft


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