Robot Makers Redesign Robot After Google Refuses To Give Permission To Make Android-Style Bots

from the open-source? dept

So the folks over at "Be the Robot" decided to make a cute little robot that could be controlled via your mobile phone. Not surprisingly, they decided to launch the thing on Kickstarter. You might notice that the robot has some resemblance to the Android robot... but it's not quite the same.
Why? Well, originally it was going to be designed as the Android robot... but then at the last minute, they realized that might be a legal issue. Even though Google encourages the use of the robot, it wasn't clear if this was allowed. So the team delayed launching the Kickstarter campaign to go visit Google and to seek permission... where hilarity (and no actual answer) ensued:
Just after we had uploaded the complete project on Kickstarter and about to press the “Submit to the world button” …we started to second guess ourselves and wanted to know are we really allowed to do this?

After further investigations, as well as talking to a few lawyer friends, we discovered that the Google Bug Droid in 2D form and in printed materials is in fact Open Source, so anyone can stick it on posters and make cut outs. But there seemed to be a gray area regarding the issue of whether a 3D version is in fact allowed for resale. So instead of killing the project or possibly getting into legal issues, we thought it would be a good idea to meet with some higher-ups at the Google Android headquarters and hear what they had to say.
To make a long story short, at this meeting (during which we felt like we were on a reality TV show) the concept was well received, but there was not definitive answer as to “Yay” or “Nay”.

Not wanting to kill the project after having already put so much work into it, and to make sure we could launch without any issues; we redesigned the outside shell to have a different appearance, while maintaining the same internal integrity and design we developed in the BERO secret lair.
So, it's sorta a little like the Android bot, but not quite, because no one could tell them definitively one way or the other if doing what they wanted to do was allowed. Isn't permission culture just great?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Shmerl, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 4:18pm

    Hmm. Didn't Android creators themselves borrow the mascot from an old Atari Lynx game? So it'd weird for them not to allow others to use it as they see fit.

    See http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/02/shocker-googles-android-logo-boosted-from-atari-lynx-title-ga/

     

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    Perry Mason (Jackie's Uncle), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 4:42pm

    For Eons, no-one could halt the progress of mankind.

    Until some evil SOB came up with Copyright and its bastard child "The Patent".

     

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      Sheogorath (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 1:17am

      Re: For Eons, no-one could halt the progress of mankind.

      "Until some evil SOB came up with Copyright and its bastard child "The Patent"."
      Let's not forget their incestuous bastard child, 'The Trademark'.

       

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    Rekrul, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 4:46pm

    So, it's sorta a little like the Android bot, but not quite, because no one could tell them definitively one way or the other if doing what they wanted to do was allowed.

    Google was waiting to see if it made money before suing them. After all, what's the point of suing someone who doesn't have lots of money for you to win in a settlement?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 4:56pm

    Don't Open Source licenses generally have the caveat that you can't sell anything containing whatever was under open source?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 5:11pm

    I'd worry more about disney, looks ever so slightly like a robot in one of their animated movies, and we know how disney likes to react.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 4:32am

    Google: We are delighted that you are willing to use the droid bot form on your project however the fact that copyright laws are so damn broken and the fact that we got the form from an Atari game that probably couldn't do any better due to graphics restrictions and incidentally looked like R2D2 so Lucas could actually sue us and you into oblivion because of that. He could also kick the dead body of Atari in the process. So, uh, great project.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 9:11am

    Given the ubiquitouness of 3-D products in the marketplace, as well as no apparent inclination of the part of Google to do anything about them, I have to wonder why they even bothered to ask.

    A commenter above noted the lack of any indication who it was these persons spoke to. If there is one thing that is a universal truth when dealing with large corporate entities, it is that nobody will ever make any decision if there is even the remotest possibility they may later be criticized.

    Just my opinion, but their replacement looks much better than the original. It stands out from the me-too crowd.

     

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    Be The Robot (profile), Sep 8th, 2012 @ 6:46am

    This thread was great!

    As the creator of BERO, I loved reading this thread and it was very insightful. Some of the best comments I have seen about the subject!

     

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    Colin S, Sep 11th, 2012 @ 5:16am

    Droidbot

    But isn't the Android bot, just R2D2 in drag?

     

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    comparateur de mutuelle, Apr 13th, 2013 @ 5:57am

    Vraiment sympa ce blog, où peut on trouver plus d information sur ce sujet ? Cela me paraît fort intéressant. Amicalement,

     

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