Legal or Not Legal to Crowd Source

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    Aloha, I built one for work recently and currently upgrading it look fully professional but the company owns it. Personal teacher friends and organization expressed their interest in the sandbox and asked me if they could showcase it or even asked me to build one for them. So I had the idea to crowd source a new sandbox to allow schools, organizations, and museums to actually borrow the sandbox for one week at a time for absolutely free. I wanted to run this by everyone here if they know of any legal issues to this. I would crowd source to pay for all the materials, transportation, graphics, and construction. Schools would borrow the sandbox for a week and I would run the maintenance on it when needed.

    It is important I convey that I don’t want to make a profit from this but I want money to also research and develop ways to transport sandbox setups to other islands in Hawaii by air.

    I want to crowd source for $5,000.
    $1000 computer
    $700 Projector
    $900 Kinetic Sand
    $40 Kinect Scanner
    $300 Sandbox Construction
    $500 Wiring/Digital Display/Graphics
    ~$1500 Spare Proj/Kinect/Computer Hardware/Unforeseen Costs

    Another question, would it be illegal for me to build Sandboxes for a friend who wants it for their school and get paid for my time? We have a lot of Native Hawaiian Groups and small schools that want a sandbox but cant afford or know how to build one for themselves, so I want to help them all out. Instead of building many and burning myself out like a mini factory I figure I make one or two and allow these schools to borrow them. The land and sea are great traditional values for the people here in Hawaii. Of course I would give credit to UC Davis in my documentation as well.


    The project software is under the GNU license. No problem here, as long as you don’t sell the software. It must be free.

    The tricky part is the Kinect, Projector, etc. These are commercial products and may have restrictions on resale. The workaround would be to have the end customer buy these separately.


    Thanks, I read that about the software but I wasn’t sure about the rest of the products. I think it is a great idea if they provide their own Kinect and Projector it gives them a feeling of ownership to it.

    Oliver Kreylos

    Note: The following applies primarily to the USA, but should be similar in most other places.

    The GNU General Public License (GPL) explicitly does not forbid selling a GPL-licensed software product. Without going into legalese, the only thing a licensee of a GPL software product can not do is re-license that software product to a third party under a non GPL-compatible license, such as, for example, a closed-source license. This is how Red Hat can sell Linux.

    What this means in practice is that you can sell the SARndbox software (or any software derived from the SARndbox software) to a third party, for any amount of money you see fit. What you can not do is take those same rights away from your licensees: you have to give them the full source code of the software you sold, and you cannot prevent them from copying or modifying the software, or re-selling the software to a fourth party.

    “Free” in the GPL means unencumbered by restrictions, not “free” as in no cost. Or in Richard Stallman’s words, “free as in speech, not free as in beer.”

    Regarding the other hardware components (PC, projector, Kinect, etc.): These are goods as defined by ownership law, and legal owners can do with them as they please, including reselling them, say during a yard sale, or on eBay, or as part of an AR Sandbox sale. Some argue that complex goods such as projectors or 3D cameras also contain intellectual property, such as firmware or industrial designs, but fortunately, the US Supreme Court in 2013 upheld the first-sale doctrine, which explicitly allows resale, including resale for profit, of copyright- or trademark-protected physical objects by their legal owners.

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