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Licensing question / limitations of use
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Licensing question / limitations of use

by strangeintp on Tue Jan 18, 2022 4:35 pm

There is an Adafruit product (https://www.adafruit.com/product/2217) that I'm looking to incorporate as the core of another device, but the firmware is proprietary. The "Firmware" section of the product's downloads page notes "We cannot release the source code (VLSI has it under a non-open license) but here are the binaries you can flash into the 2M/16M disks."
I'm familiar generally with how open-source works (less so on the hardware side), and it seems that I can use the PCB design w/o restriction, including taking the CAD files and having a PCB manufacturer mass produce it for the end-product.

Question 1 - is my understanding correct (for the PCB design)? Obviously no claim to any IP on the board itself - the value-added is the rest of the device.
Question 2 - The proprietary firmware caveat has me concerned about potentially running afoul of any IP limitations of use. But I could find no further info on that. Since the binaries are published on the downloads page, does that also mean they can be distributed ad infinitum incorporated into another product that uses the board? I.e., program each PCB off the production line with that binary?

I know this question borders on "legal advice", so if there's a better place to get the answer, I'll take that direction too. Thanks for looking!

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Re: Licensing question / limitations of use

by mikeysklar on Thu Jan 20, 2022 6:30 pm

The Audio FX boards are under creative commons design license. Pretty much you need to acknowledge that Adafruit designed it. As with any of our PCBs the license files are on the github repo with the design CAD files:

https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit-Au ... icense.txt

The VLSI blob is probably fine to distribute as a binary, but you might want to check with them to confirm your plans.

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