Legal Question - Using Commercial File Format

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wandererfan
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Legal Question - Using Commercial File Format

Postby wandererfan » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:39 pm

AutoCad has a file format for hatch patterns called "PAT". http://docs.autodesk.com/ACD/2010/ENU/AutoCAD%202010%20User%20Documentation/index.html?url=WS73099cc142f4875513fb5cd10c4aa30d6b-7e57.htm,topicNumber=d0e368209

This format seems to meet my needs for "technical hatching" and maybe it would be nice to be able to use existing PAT files.
I know we import other commercial file formats, but are there any copyright/pattern implications? Do we need to send a letter to AutoCad or ????

wf
triplus
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Re: Legal Question - Using Commercial File Format

Postby triplus » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:26 pm

I searched for .pat format information and didn't find anything. Therefore if you plan to ask them something ask them if the .pat format is open format or not. If the answer will be yes ask for the specification. If you get the specification after it is more or less up to you to write a library capable of reading/writing to .pat format. If the answer will be no. That is .pat format is not an open format that usually comes down to being able to use the format in some restricted way. As for the next steps story differs after as you would likely need to reverse engineer the format yourself. Doing that for interoperability purposes is considered legal in some law systems and i guess you could find a country or two with laws preventing you to do that. Or at least you would need to go through some legal battles to get a definite answer or for company to provide .pat format as open format after. For example for widely used formats like for Microsoft Word this was done in the past.
Last edited by triplus on Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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r-frank
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Re: Legal Question - Using Commercial File Format

Postby r-frank » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:28 pm

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triplus
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Re: Legal Question - Using Commercial File Format

Postby triplus » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:33 pm



Yes this looks like an example of reverse engineering the .pat format.
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yorik
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Re: Legal Question - Using Commercial File Format

Postby yorik » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:09 pm

I don't think there is much problem. These pat files are widespread on the net, and it seems a bit like DXF, it originally belongs to a firm, but everybody is using them. I couldn't find any legal license or anything about that format...

I believe the issue, if any, would be more commercial than anything else, you know, as long as we're "compatible" with pat files, no problem. If we would claim we are the author of the format, something like that, we might attract shit... But since the idea would not be to do anything like that, merely read pat files, I think it's totally ok.
wandererfan
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Re: Legal Question - Using Commercial File Format

Postby wandererfan » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:58 pm

OK, "compatible with pat-style hatching" it is.
Marco_T
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Re: Legal Question - Using Commercial File Format

Postby Marco_T » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:35 pm

I have found this:
- QCAD uses *.pat format as Autodesk
https://qcad.org/rsforum/viewtopic.php?t=3756
- LibreCAD uses a pattern defined in dxf-file
http://wiki.librecad.org/index.php/Libr ... l#Hatching

Perhaps LibreCAD guys can tell us about this different approach...
(considered that LibreCAD is a non commercial QCAD fork).

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pablogil
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Re: Legal Question - Using Commercial File Format

Postby pablogil » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:21 pm

So,
is there a chance that you just include the original .pat patterns file system inside FreeCAD? that would be nice... if it's legal, of course.
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wandererfan
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Re: Legal Question - Using Commercial File Format

Postby wandererfan » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:54 pm

pablogil wrote:So, is there a chance that you just include the original .pat patterns file system inside FreeCAD? that would be nice... if it's legal, of course.

For us to distribute their originals? I think that would be poaching. Nothing to stop the end user from installing them, I guess.
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yorik
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Re: Legal Question - Using Commercial File Format

Postby yorik » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:00 pm

wandererfan wrote:For us to distribute their originals? I think that would be poaching. Nothing to stop the end user from installing them, I guess.


Yes, I definitely would not include any autodesk file in the FreeCAD source code... That seems the right path to suicide to me :)

But nothing would prevent us from indicating (on the wiki for ex) an easy path for users to obtain that file...