Gray Hoverman Licensing, Copyright, and Ownership - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #1 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-08, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Gray Hoverman Licensing, Copyright, and Ownership

With all due respect, wan't antenncraft the only one who manufactured a hoverman in the first place? If anything, I would think your design is a derivative of THEIRS.

Last edited by stampeder; 2009-02-09 at 12:11 PM. Reason: Split from AntennaCraft U4500 thread
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post #2 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 01:52 AM
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alphanguy, the birth of the Gray Hoverman antenna had its basis in the original patents taken out by Mr. Doyt Hoverman, which preceded by many years the antennas that were eventually released by AntennaCraft and Radio Shack. The many phases of development and change to the Gray Hoverman designs are based on those original patents and on the innovation of volunteers to the Gray Hoverman project. Their designs are copyrighted and their body of work is released under the GPL Version 3.0 for the benefit of humanity.

AntennaCraft does not, in any way, shape, or form, deserve any credit for the Gray Hoverman antenna.




Last edited by stampeder; 2009-02-09 at 12:13 PM.
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post #3 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 04:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stampeder View Post
The many phases of development and change to the Gray Hoverman designs are based on those original patents and on the innovation of volunteers to the Gray Hoverman project. Their designs are copyrighted and their body of work is released under the GPL Version 3.0 for the benefit of humanity.

I just scanned the GNU General Public License (www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt) and it's all about software. I don't see how it applies to antenna designs.

I was always under the impression that the purpose of GPL was to facilitate making software freely available. What is the intent with regard to Gray-Hoverman antenna designs? Why is it needed at all?

I'm not familiar with Canadian law. When you say the designs are copyrighted, do you mean a simple declaration of copyright, as is possible in the U.S., or a registered copyright, which requires submission of copyrighted materials to a government agency. What is the purpose of copyrighting the antenna designs? Who is the copyright holder?

I'll bet I'm not the only one confused by all this.

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post #4 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 08:46 AM
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The basic understanding of the GPL is that you can sell any product covered under the license, however if you choose to modify the original design of the product you must release the details regarding any changes you have made. When those changes are released they are covered by the GPL as well and anyone can make/sell a product using those changes.
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post #5 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OverDrive View Post
The basic understanding of the GPL is that you
can sell any product covered under the license, however if you choose
to modify the original design of the product you must release the
details regarding any changes you have made. When those changes are
released they are covered by the GPL as well and anyone can make/sell
a product using those changes.
Suppose a company were to start selling an antenna that looked exactly
like one of the antennas presented on this forum. How would you know
if that antenna was derived from the original patent, or was derived
from one here? Were the ones on my web site derived from the the
original GH as presented on the digitalhome.ca "superantenna" page? I
would say no, because at no point did I ever start with any of the
numbers on the page.

I have also wondered about the legality of the GPLv3 as applied to the GH
because there is no copyright holder associated with the license.
It also seems to me that the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL)
would have been more suitable.

Thanks,
--John
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post #6 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 10:57 AM
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Well, the original patents had expired, and so has Doyt Hovermann. So, I believe its free to anyone to use anyway.

My builds/plans (not the latest models) are located here.
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post #7 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k6sti
I was always under the impression that the purpose of GPL was to facilitate making software freely available. What is the intent with regard to Gray-Hoverman antenna designs?
One of the first intentions of Autofils and other early contributors was that, as retirees, they were pursuing a hobby and thus did not have intentions of marketing or patenting the results of the project. They also did not wish to have the fruits of their labours disappear into the vault of a private corporation intent on hoarding the designs by any sort of "intellectual property" means.

The GPLv3 does indeed cover hardware, and none other than Bruce Perens commented on how nice it is to have the Gray Hoverman under its protection. There are other hardware projects out there protected by the GPLv3.

The GPLv3 was chosen over the Creative Commons License, the FDL, and the Open Document License in order to accomodate any home grown electronic designs or custom software that might also find their way into the Gray Hoverman project. It was a very early precaution I took, and Autofils agreed that it was a proper way to go.
Quote:
Originally Posted by j3d
I have also wondered about the legality of the GPLv3 as applied to the GH
because there is no copyright holder associated with the license.
Copyright was asserted on all images and documents shown on the www.digitalhome.ca/ota/superantenna site in order to prevent plagiarism or unauthorized modification of them. In this way, as per the instructions on the GPL site, they are protected properly.

I'm satisfied that we've done what was needed to protect contributors while allowing any and all to benefit from the Gray Hoverman.




Last edited by stampeder; 2009-02-09 at 12:19 PM.
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post #8 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j3d
Were the ones on my web site derived from the the
original GH as presented on the digitalhome.ca "superantenna" page? I
would say no, because at no point did I ever start with any of the
numbers on the page.
I'm satisfied from that statement that your designs are not "forked" from the Gray Hoverman project, meaning that you are free to license them (or not) as you see fit. They are from a parallel project analyzing Doyt Hoverman's original patents.



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post #9 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 12:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stampeder View Post
One of the first intentions of Autofils and other early contributors was that, as retirees, they were pursuing a hobby and thus did not have intentions of marketing or patenting the results of the project. They also did not wish to have the fruits of their labours disappear into the vault of a private corporation intent on hoarding the designs by any sort of "intellectual property" means.
How does GPL prevent that? And why is it necessary? If the GH designs are published and you can document the date, how could they subsequently be coopted?

Quote:
The GPLv3 does indeed cover hardware
Perhaps the reference I quoted was not the right one. I didn't read every word, but I didn't see a reference to anything but software. Lots of references to source code. I don't understand how this applies to an antenna design, which is neither hardware nor software. Is it the dimensions that are being licensed? The topology? What exactly? If I start with a GH design and run it through the optimizer I wrote, every dimension will change. The general shape may change. The performance will change. Am I under restrictions with what I can do with the new design?

Quote:
Copyright was asserted on all images and documents . . .
By whom? Here in the U.S., every copyright requires a copyright holder. Who holds the GH copyright? Isn't a holder required in Canada?

Quote:
I'm satisfied that we've done what was needed to protect contributors while allowing any and all to benefit from the Gray Hoverman.
I still don't understand what they are being protected from. Perhaps you could explain in simple terms what the intention is.

I offer a number of software utilities on my web site for free. None is of much value. They are just things I wrote for my own use that I thought others might benefit from. I also offer a number of FM antenna designs that I created from scratch or optimized from existing designs. None of the antenna designs or software utilities has a copyright notice and all are in the public domain. I don't care what people do with them. Is there some reason I should go to the trouble to create a license of some sort for these things? What might happen to me if I don't?

Brian
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post #10 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 01:02 PM
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In this era of the DMCA and the nebulous notions of "intellectual property" the greatest concern was that any and all of the information and work performed in the Gray Hoverman project could be taken down from the web or otherwise absconded with, preventing all others from benefiting from it. Those who would try to derail the Gray Hoverman project by saddling it with legal troubles are prevented by the terms of the GPLv3 license, and in the rare event of such cases actually happening the defenders of the GPLv3 provide a formidable backing group who are known to be quite active in such situations.

We knew we were about to see antenna designs that were expected to smoke the products of most commercial antenna manufacturers (to whom we have no enmity) so the concern of losing all that freely available information due to corporate or other concerns was justifiable.

Further, since the project was never meant to be static or to end, an ongoing means of protecting contributors from patent, copyright, or other abuse all the way downstream was desired. With the GPLv3 anyone who contributes to the Gray Hoverman project with design improvements benefits from the GPLv3's protections if the design they worked on was itself covered. The proper way to contribute to the Gray Hoverman project and enjoy those protections is to use this Antenna Research & Development forum's threads.

As I mentioned before, the desire of Autofils to make sure that anyone and everyone would have free access to the Gray Hoverman designs and project is the reason for the GPLv3 licensing.

The copyright holder of those images on the Superantenna pages is this very web site, digitalhome.ca




Last edited by stampeder; 2009-02-09 at 01:21 PM.
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post #11 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by stampeder View Post
Further, since the project was never meant to be static or to end, an ongoing means of protecting contributors from patent, copyright, or other abuse all the way downstream was desired. With the GPLv3 anyone who contributes to the Gray Hoverman project with design improvements by using this Antenna Research & Development forum's threads automatically benefits from the GPLv3's protections if the design they worked on was itself covered.

As I mentioned before, the desire of Autofils to make sure that anyone and everyone would have free access to the Gray Hoverman designs and project is the reason for the GPLv3 licensing.
The way I see it, which may or not be the way the antenna enthusiast community as a whole or Copyright Law sees it, is that without the open license the project would have likely have terminated, from the form as we now see it. If Autofils and others had decided to privately copy protect their designs (presumably for commercial production), there would have been no impetus for improvement on those designs by others, as royalties would be due to the original copyright holders. However as an open project, it has progressed into likely the largest community resourced consumer/hobbyist level antenna project in the world.

That is a good thing.

I'm glad Autofils, stampeder, and others took this route.
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post #12 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 01:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by stampeder View Post
In this era of the DMCA and the nebulous notions of "intellectual property" the greatest concern was that any and all of the information and work performed in the Gray Hoverman project could be taken down from the web or otherwise absconded with, preventing all others from benefiting from it.

Perhaps you could explain what DMCA means. Are you afraid of someone duplicating the designs and then claiming to have invented them? Is that it?


Quote:
We knew we were about to see antenna designs that were expected to smoke the products of the commercial antenna manufacturers (to whom we have no enmity) so the concern of losing all that freely available information was justifiable.

Lost because someone else claims it as their own? How would that be possible if you had published it first? That's what I don't understand.


Quote:
With the GPLv3 anyone who contributes to the Gray Hoverman project with design improvements by using this Antenna Research & Development forum's threads automatically benefits from the GPLv3's protections if the design they worked on was itself covered.

What about the optimized designs that I mentioned? Can I do whatever I want with them or are there restrictions?


Quote:
As I mentioned before, the desire of Autofils to make sure that anyone and everyone would have free access to the Gray Hoverman designs and project is the reason for the GPLv3 licensing.

OK. I understand the intention. But I still don't see how GPL helps (or applies to antenna designs).

Brian
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post #13 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 01:32 PM
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The Digital Millenium Copyright Act contains this really awful "Legal Chill" action (italics are mine):
Quote:
Title II: Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act

DMCA Title II, the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act ("OCILLA"), creates a safe harbor for online service providers (OSPs, including ISPs) against copyright liability if they adhere to and qualify for certain prescribed safe harbor guidelines and promptly block access to allegedly infringing material (or remove such material from their systems) if they receive a notification claiming infringement from a copyright holder or the copyright holder's agent. OCILLA also includes a counternotification provision that offers OSPs a safe harbor from liability to their users, if the material upon notice from such users claiming that the material in question is not, in fact, infringing. OCILLA also provides for subpoenas to OSPs to provide their users' identity.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital..._Copyright_Act

Notice the words "allegedly" and "claiming infringement"...

So whether an entity truly has a copyright claim on the Gray Hoverman project is irrelevant! It would still be possible for them to move for a take down of the project while it makes its way through the legal system. In such an action we would call upon the defenders of the GPLv3 for support and assistance. To this date there have been no such tests of the GPLv3.

The GPLv3 and this site's assertion of copyright over the design images on the Superantenna site serve to provide clear and firm protection from such potential abuse of the Gray Hoverman project and its resulting works.




Last edited by stampeder; 2009-02-09 at 02:11 PM. Reason: info update
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post #14 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 01:55 PM
 
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So whether an entity truly has a copyright claim on the Gray Hoverman project is irrelevant!

I don't believe that is true. If it were, people could cause all kinds of mischief simply by making bogus claims of copyright infringement. Surely any ISP would do some elementary fact checking before pulling the plug on a customer. And all you would have to do is demonstrate that the published designs predate the copyright claim. Have you consulted a lawyer about this?

Again, what about my optimized designs? Am I free to do whatever I want with them or are there restrictions?

Brian
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post #15 of 74 (permalink) Old 2009-02-09, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k6sti
people could cause all kinds of mischief simply by making bogus claims of copyright infringement
Sadly the SCO vs. [insert defendant's name here] cases show what can happen when corporations try to attack Free and Open Source Software licencees using bogus copyright claims. That's the environment we worried about.

Your optimized design improvements, if they aren't "clean room" like John's but are based on the Gray Hoverman designs covered by the GPLv3 (and were contributed back to the project via this website forum) are automatically covered fully and downstream. You are free to copyright your own diagrams. Your designs that are not based on the GH designs are of course your own to license or not as you see fit.



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