What is Open source?
Open source is a philosophy, or pragmatic methodology. It promotes free redistribution and access to an end product’s design and implementation details.
The idea originated in Open-source software which is computer software with its source code made available. It is licensed with an open-source license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change and distribute the software for free to anyone, and for any purpose.
In recent years an Open-source hardware movement has emerged. It is physical objects & products whose initial specification, usually in a electronic format, is published and made available to the public. This enables anyone to copy, modify and redistribute the hardware and design details without paying royalties or fees.
Open source software, hardware & creative commons licensing are profoundly influencing the fields of software, design and creative endeavour.
What are Open source seeds?
At present there are no agreed definitions or licenses for Open source seeds. This site has been set up to explore their possibilities. See licence 0.1 for further details
What are the aims in developing open source seeds?
At present this project has no agreed aims, but they might include:
* Promoting a culture of sharing amongst growers and breeders
* Documentation – seed and heritage record
* Stopping Patent Abuse
* Fostering and documenting effective breeding programs
What characteristics might open source seeds have?
Open source seeds might come with documentation and a paper licence agreement that grants growers certain rights, may encourage them to share physical seeds, and may even provide certain constraints on how they can share the progeny of seeds developed from the resultant plants.
Why might they be useful?
Applied to seeds, open source principles might encourage improved breeding, better understanding of genealogy and characteristics, and increase the availability of free (no-cost) seeds.
<strong”>What are the barriers to creating open source seeds?
It is not clear at this stage how licence conditions could be made legally enforceable; they may only amount to a voluntary code of conduct.
The laws covering the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) on seeds are very different from software. One of the sticking points concerning Intellectual Property Rights on seeds is stability, the Distinct, Uniform, Stable criteria. This is how all seed IPR is based everywhere in the world, because you need a variety stable enough in order to be able to define it as a variety. Most interesting varieties, are far too unstable to be able to define it this way. However one of the great things about this instability is the way it allows you to adapt it to different growing areas.
How can I contribute?
Where can I find out more?
General Public License for Plant Germplasm Michaels T
Some analysis of General Public License for Plant Germplasm in Biobazaar
Can lessons be learnt from computer technologies be applied to seeds? Darren
Open Source Biotechnology Thesis by Dr Janet Elizabeth Hope
Free Seeds, Not Free Beer: Participatory Plant Breeding, Open Source Seeds, and Acknowledging User Innovation in Agriculture Jack Kloppenburg in The Journal of Agrarian Change
Free Seeds, Free Software and Free Beer Patrick on Bifurcatedcarrots.eu
Farmers Rights and Open Source Licensing Ryann Beck The Arizona Journal of Environmental Law
The first explicitly ‘Open Source’ seed bank The Open Source seed bank
“The breeding project is expected to produce an open-pollinated open-source tetraploid watermelon” Joseph on Proboards
Participatory Plant Breeding tool-kit Organic seed alliance