Project licensing


Firstly, before you upload any materials to SolderPad you must be certain that you have the rights required to do so. If the materials in question are of your own creation and you are the copyright holder, this is likely straightforward enough. But if, for example, the materials were created whilst working for an employer, you might want to clarify the situation regarding copyright ownership.

With third party materials, where you do not hold the copyright, you must ensure that you have an explicit licence from the copyright holder. Given that SolderPad only provides free hosting for open source hardware projects, the materials must have been furnished via a suitable licence.

For our detailed Terms of Service please see

Open Source vs. Proprietary licensing

Free hosting is only provided for open source hardware projects. We do not currently offer a solution for hosting proprietary projects, but we may do in future. If this would be of interest get in touch.

Non-commercial licences

SolderPad cannot be used for hosting projects that employ non-commercial licences, such as the Creative Commons NC variants or TAPR Noncommercial Hardware License.

Non-commercial licences discriminate against fields of endeavour and thus do not meet the criteria set out in the Open Source Definition. Furthermore, they can lead to uncertainty as it is not always easy to ascertain whether a particular use would be regarded as being commercial, or not.

Selecting a licence

A small but growing number of open source licences have been developed with hardware in mind, such as the TAPR OHL and CERN OHL. Creative Commons licences, such as Attribution-ShareAlike, have proved quite popular in licensing hardware designs. In many cases people have chosen to employ licences designed for Free/Open Source Software, such as the GPL or BSD licence.

Which licence you use may be guided by personal motivations, business imperatives or simply a gut feeling. However, you must ensure that it is one which meets the criteria set out in the Open Source Definition. If you find that there is a licence that you would like to use and which meets the criteria, but which we do not currently support, please e-mail us with details.

Multiple licences

There may be cases where a project has mixed licensing. For example, where it has made use of one or more third party open source designs. In such cases it is your responsibility to ensure that any use is compatible with the respective licences.

When it comes to selecting a licence on the project page, we would recommend that you select the licence you have determined for the original work or composite project. Clarification as to which components have been furnished under which licences can be provided in appropriate detail via a text file named COPYING, that is placed in the root of the project repository.

Obligatory disclaimer

None of the above constitutes legal advice. Whenever in any doubt you must consult your own legal counsel.