Please use this guide if you do not already have an open source license on your work. If you do, leave the one that you have in place, as it is easier. If you do not already have an open source licence in place, all work contributed to Helpful Engineering is considered under the licences below by default. Please contact the #skill-software-devops channel to have a git repository set up on your behalf. If you have any questions please contact #operations-public.

In addition to adhering to the open source licences mentioned you must also warrant that your employment contract allows you to volunteer and contribute to Open Source Hardware and Software solutions in Helpful Engineering and all the work provided is freely accessible to everyone under the Open Source licences as described below.

We believe strongly in open source solutions at Helpful. In order to help everyone license their work properly, make it clear that it can be reused, and offer everyone more protection, we have released this licensing guide and require it to be used by all Helpful Projects. It is also effective for all work donated to or on the Helpful Platform.

Helpful Engineering is intending to move towards a copyleft open source licence to better protect the work developed by our volunteers. Non-permissive licenses create the greatest trust between all parties working on an open source solution and ensure that all changes to core technology made by others must be shared freely, in perpetuity and properly credited. The specific “Helpful Copyleft Licence” is still being developed and as such a permissive licence is being used until the new copyleft licence is prepared to ensure a smooth transition.

We have used Safecast’s licensing structure for inspiration and content.

Hardware Projects

Everything needed or used to design, make, test or prepare hardware that is to be manufactured or distributed including hardware designs, software, schematics or miscelanea is licensed under the CERN 2.0 Permissive licence (CERN-OHL-P). Included in this is both firmware and any software that normally comes with the hardware or other item as well as software used to test it. Please place a .txt file in the root of the repository, with this open source license in it.

Software Projects

Software that is not necessary for the functioning of the hardware but may be loaded onto it, or be used by another device to communicate with it is licensed under the permissive Apache 2.0 unless another open source license is used. Please place a .txt file in the root of the repository, with this open source license in it.

Guides, Instructional Videos, and other Materials

Accompanying materials such as instruction manuals, videos and other copyrightable works that are useful for, but not necessary to design, make, test or prepare the Medical Hardware for distribution, should be published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. 

A reference to this license should be included at the bottom of vital documents, and we recommend the following:

All copyrightable materials other than software, and everything needed to design, make, test and prepare the hardware for distribution, such as instructional videos and manuals, are published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

All contents of the Helpful Engineering website are published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license


Updated 18/12/20 – Craig Sharp, Deputy Director Operations, Helpful Engineering