Respecting Your Freedom
All of our functional work (hardware, software, documentation, etc) is licensed such that you have the freedom to:
- Use the work as you wish, for any purpose.
- Study the work, and change it so it functions as you wish.
- Distribute copies of the work and your modified versions so you can help others.
We believe these freedoms are vitally important for each individual to have and exercise, especially when it comes to technologies and ideas related to fundamental human needs, such as the ability to grow food. These freedoms not only form the foundation of a strongly collaborative community, they empower individuals and thereby build resilience into our delicate and life-critical food systems.
We hope to see you and many others exercise these freedoms to build things such as:
- Custom UTM-compatible FarmBot tools for harvesting or other tasks
- Businesses that sell parts made from locally sourced materials
- Data analysis software tools
- Integrations between FarmBot and other smart-home devices and systems
- And much, much more
Using the work
The freedom to use the work means all people and organizations have the freedom to use the work in any way for any kind of overall job and purpose. While we may encourage, endorse, direct, discourage, and warn against particular purposes and/or ways of using the work, ultimately it is the user’s purpose and way of using the work that matter, not FarmBot Inc’s; you have the freedom to choose how and why you use the work.
Freedom does not equal functionality
This freedom has nothing to do with what functionality the work has (whether it is technically capable of any specific function or operating in any given environment) or whether it is useful for any particular activity.
In other words, please do not consider this freedom to be an extension of what you can expect your FarmBot to be capable of. For example, while you may have the freedom to try using your FarmBot as a toaster oven, it will likely not function very well for that purpose. We make no guarantees about functionality beyond the scope of what we explicitly claim in our marketing materials and product documentation.
With freedom comes responsibility
In giving you the freedom to use the product as you wish, we do not make any claims as to the safety, functionality, or practicality of any of your uses. Please do not consider this freedom to be an extension of our guarantee, warranty, or the safe ways in which you can expect to use the product.
In our documentation we may warn against or discourage using the product in certain ways that may be dangerous. It is important that you take these warnings seriously and always use the product in a responsible and safe manner. Just because you are free to do something doesn’t mean you should.
For the freedom to study and change the work to be meaningful, the work must be open-source. Thus, we have committed with two of our public benefit purposes to openly share our products and openly share our business to grant you this freedom.
Whether a change constitutes an improvement is a subjective matter, though FarmBot Inc holds no limitations over your right to modify the work, for better or for worse.
With freedom comes responsibility
In giving you the freedom to make changes, we do not make any claims as to the safety, functionality, or practicality of any of your changes. Please do not consider this freedom to be an extension of our guarantee, warranty, or the safe ways in which you can expect to use or modify the product.
In our documentation we may warn against or discourage changing the product in certain ways that may be dangerous. It is important that you take these warnings seriously and always work in a responsible and safe manner. Just because you are free to make a change doesn’t mean you should.
The freedom to distribute means you are free to distribute copies, with or without modifications, either gratis (free of charge) or charging a fee, to anyone anywhere. Having the freedom to distribute means you do not have to ask or pay FarmBot Inc for permission to do so.
You may release your modified versions in any way, with any license that you wish, as long as it is compatible with the licenses of all combined works.
FarmBot Inc has chosen permissive open-source licenses for all of its functional work. (See the section on maintaining integrity for what doesn’t qualify as functional work, and our licensing page for specific licensing details). This means you are free to distribute copies or modified versions of the work even for commercial purposes.
You also have the freedom to license your changes with a different license (such as a proprietary license), though we generally don’t encourage this. Instead, we hope you will freely share your work with the community as well, and grant the same freedoms to others that we have granted to you.
You also have the freedom to make modifications and use them privately in your own work or play, without even mentioning that they exist. If you do publish your changes, you are not required to notify anyone in particular, or in any particular way.
Most of our work is functional work. That is, a user can use the work to accomplish some practical function, such as using the documentation to hack their hardware, or using the software to control it. In many cases, modification and redistribution of functional works can serve an individual and the community well (filling gaps in the documentation, development of new software features, etc). Thus, we are committed to respecting your freedoms (as stated above) when it comes to all of our functional work including but not limited to our hardware, software, and documentation.
However, in order to maintain integrity of our business and brand, we do not extend the exact same freedoms to users of our non-functional works. Specifically, our marketing materials, brand assets, and our company messaging may not be used for commercial purposes except under specially negotiated circumstances. This includes but is not limited to our videos, photos, social media posts, blog posts, newsletters, recorded talks, interviews, written words, logos, iconography, color pallets, general aesthetic, and other media.
Using these works for commercial purposes (verbatim or with modifications) would likely confuse the public and threaten our business. For example, if another company used our product launch videos to market their own FarmBot kit, that would be confusing to the public, and unfair and disrespectful to us.
Fair use is fair game
You are free to use our non-functional works for non-commercial purposes. For example, we absolutely encourage you to retweet us, share our videos with your students, use our promotional photos with attribution in your news article, or use any other non-functional work in a fair-use manner. In the end, we simply ask for your respect and for you to be a good community member .
Much of the content on this page was inspired by Richard Stallman’s philosophical writings as part of the GNU Operating System Project and Free Software Movement.