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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.
(Updated after the break)
In the meantime MakerBot Industries’ lawyer, Richard McCarthy. has chimed in on both the MakerBot and Thingiverse blogs. Also there has been a bit of discussion on the Hackerspaces.org general discussion list about this subject. But first Richard McCarthy’s blog:
As far as I am concerned the whole discussion on moral rights is actually nowhere near as relevant as others think it is and at least Richard’s take on it is not grounded in the law. Moral rights do apply in the USA per the Berne Convention. That the US courts still tend to ignore them is a different matter altogether. I also do not think that most, if not all moral rights are actually tenable in an open hardware context. Including the right of attribution. Basically after a certain chain of derivations, there is no point to acknowledging the creator of the initial part of the chains.
A worthwhile read on the whole saga is Matt Joyce’s blogpost. Matt expresses much better than I can ever do how understandable such a move can be. It is not that I have a disagreement with that. Just that there is a sense of betrayal. It is time for a successor of Thingiverse.