I recently discovered an awesome 3D lantern product on youtube
I thought to myself, “hey, I could make these with my cutting machine (or even better, an Epilog Zing if I win that contest I mentioned last post)”… that is, if I had the designs for them. But I don’t, and I’m not even sure I could reverse engineer them… besides, I’m not out to steal others ideas …. I think I must have already accumulated some terrible business karma in “past lives” and for me The Playful Geometer is a work to heal patterns of poverty which, according to Dharma, are perpetuated by theft.
So, I thought I’d see if I could work out a deal with the inventor, suggesting they put a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license on them. If that was the case, I would gladly buy a license off of them once this ship gets flying just as I have agreed to do with the maker of SlideTabs who did license his work as such. I thought I’d make it an open letter in the interests of transparency. Here’s what I sent:
You have a very nice product, I really like your designs ! I see your swirl lantern borrows from the IQlite design but you have clearly put a lot of creativity into adapting the ideas and also have some very unique things as well.
I plan to open up a more professional online storefront soon for my geometric lanterns and I was thinking about the possibility of stocking your lanterns there as well. I’ve never seen them around here in Canada. I feel like you are unlikely to sell many lanterns in North America if your prices are only in zlotych.
I have a commitment to becoming an environmentally friendly business and shipping products from halfway around the world is not very good for the earth. I would like to produce your lantern here using biodegradable plastic and I have the tools to do so.
I don’t want to undercut your business, but I think I can produce and sell them cheaper, and like I said, I don’t imagine you’re tapping the North American market much anyway. Would you consider licensing your designs to my company The Playful Geometer ? Your light fixtures seem very affordable, I might want to buy them in bulk. Do you manufacture them ?
Do you have a patent for your designs ? Whether or not you do, with popularity, the plans for your models are likely to show up on the internet just like the IQlite. Publishing them on the internet under a Non-Commercial Creative Commons License might be a good thing for your company, as it would help to promote the product. The people who would make one themselves are not likely the people who would buy the lantern from your website anyway because they are do-it-yourself kind of people, and they’d probably help other people who are not DIY people find out about your product.
The person who designed the SlideTab system I use (http://www.slidetab.com) for my product has licensed his designs under a NonCommercial license, and because of that, I’ve agreed to purchase a license from him once my business becomes profitable. I don’t think I even legally have to because only the published media and not the ideas there within are protected by copyright, but I want to support his developments and benefit someone who has benefited me. I would feel the same way towards you, especially if you share your designs freely as Chris K. Palmer has. I have also licensed one of my designs under such a license by publishing it on instructables: http://www.instructables.com/id/Quasicrystal-Star-Lantern/. If you’re interested in using the design commericially, perhaps we can trade in ideas. I know it can be a strange way to think about business, but I believe it is truly the future of commerce in the information age.