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Extendible Hardware Donation License v1.0

The Extendible Hardware Donation License is an open and flexible license which is applicable by members of hackerspaces and similar organisations to equipment or items they wish to donate or lend to the community. It allows owners to specify to what degree their donated or loaned equipment may be used by the community at large, and what restrictions they wish to implement on use.

Feel free to skip to the bottom for how you can actually use the HDL, but here’s some legalese background if you are that way inclined.

Guide to words and terms

In this document, the Hardware Donation License v1.0 is referred to as “this license”, “this agreement”, “XHDL” and “XHDL v1.0”.

The need for licensing

For many people, certain factors limit their ability to freely donate equipment to their communities, including financial value and sentimental worth. Therefore, many people who would otherwise be eager to lend or donate equipment to these communities refrain from doing so due to fear of not getting their items back, or of them being dismantled or misused.

This license provides granularity to owners and allows them to pick a middle ground between an outright, no-strings-attached donation, and not donating at all.


This license may be adopted by any hackerspace or equivalent community organisation that accepts donations or loans of equipment, parts or other items from members or outsiders. If a community agrees to adopt this license, all equipment donated to that community is assumed to be licensed under XHDL v1.0 or a later version.

Any organisations adopting this license for their use should make it clear to donators where applicable that the license exists, and should explain how it works. It should also be provided in plain and full forms on request. In storage areas, a notice should be posted outlining that the community is operating under the XHDL v1.0


Donated items are assumed to be licensed under the most liberal version of XHDL v1.0 unless otherwise made clear or agreed by the donator. This means that unrestricted donations to the community are not limited in use by any means except those limitations set out in this document.

The Succession of common sense

It is important that all equipment is treated with respect and that even if no restrictions are put on use by donators, community equipment should be used responsibly and wanton destruction and misuse must be avoided.

Versions of this license

When communities agree to adopt XHDL, it should be made clear that updates to the license are likely and encouraged. However, the community should be consulted as to adopting updates individually in the same way as adopting the license in the first place, as updates may change how terms or clauses work.

Liberal to Restricted

With the mentality that donations are assumedly liberally-licensed unless otherwise specified, XHDL v1.0 starts as entirely no-strings-attached donation, and adds specific restrictions, just like the Creative Commons license.


For example, the image above is a Creative Commons license badge. With just the “CC” marker, the license is most liberal, but with the added BY, NC and SA terms, it becomes more restrictive by adding conditions of use. The license version above states that work may be used for any purpose except commercial uses, as long as it is attributed to the licensor and shared using the same license.

Assumed Limitations of Application

The Restrictions on Use listed in Section 7 serve to protect the donator’s wishes for their equipment. This license does not cover restrictions on community projects or items bought collectively by the community, unless the community explicitly agrees to adopt XHDL v1.0 as a method of licensing these items.

Restrictions on Use

XHDL v1.0 contains a set of Restrictions on Use that act as template restrictions for communities and donators to apply to their items. The provided Restrictions of Use may be complemented or added to using the Restrictions of Use (Extended) for individual communities subject to their individual agreement to adopt such Restrictions.

Restrictions of Use (Extended)

Any additional Restrictions of Use that an individual community wishes to apply to their adoption of XHDL v1.0 should be agreed by the community and made clear as to their terms. Such Restrictions may take any form that the community sees fit but should not overlap on the Restrictions of Use already provided by XHDL v1.0.

Limitations on Restrictions of Use (Extended)

The additional Restrictions imposed by individual communities must not interfere with existing legislation in the jurisdiction(s) in which they are adopted. Similarly, they must not deny or attempt to deny any member of that community their inalienable human rights as defined by the jurisdiction(s) in which they are adopted.

As such, limitations involving restriction of use based on any factors defined in local anti-discrimination law must not be enacted. However, limitations involving restriction of use based on a member’s ability (and therefore, where applicable, age) or similar reasons are acceptable.

Restrictions of Use which imply or claim Intellectual Property (IP) rights or copyright to ideas, projects or inventions for a community, company or person(s) are not acceptable under this license. Such schemes must be handled separately and are not permitted to be associated with this license.

Restrictions of Use which imply or claim to take rights, benefits, property or copyright to ideas, projects or inventions from their rightful owners to a community, company or person(s) are also not acceptable under this license. Such schemes may be illegal in many jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom and Ireland, unless express permission is obtained from rights holders.

Liability for Restrictions of Use (Extended)

Any Restrictions adopted by the community outside the core set provided by this license are the sole liability of that community. Liability of those who violate additional Restrictions is to be decided by the adopting community.

By default, it is assumed that the individual(s) who violate the Restrictions are responsible for their actions.

Exemplar of Restrictions on Use

These are not exclusive; feel free to make up your own when donating equipment, but all non-standard licence clauses must be confirmed by officers of the adopting community via email before completion of donations.

Give Back (GB) clause

The GB clause states that it is expected that donated equipment be returned to the donor on request given a notice period, no questions asked.

Notice periods are not governed or restricted, but most often, these are 30-day terms. Best efforts will be made to return equipment before that term.

These terms are added to the licence in number of days suffixing the ‘GB’, eg, ‘GB30’. If no term is given, GB30 is assumed.

The Adopting community is not responsible for the removal or delivery of a donated item back to it’s doner.

Do Not Disassemble/Destroy (DND) clause

The DND clause states that donated equipment / consumables cannot be taken apart, used for spare parts, exploded, or blasted into the sun.

This does not in any way exclude or reduce the possibility of accidental damage through reasonable use.

Do Not Remove (DNR) clause

The DNR clause states that equipment may not be removed from the adopting community’s facilities for any reason.

Advance Training Required (ATR) clause

The ATR clause states that prior to the use of the donated equipment, any potential user must be trained in its operation.

The ATR clause must be associated with at least two current members of the adopting community who the donor deems compotent to conduct training.

This association must take the form of either and email address or a twitter username for the associated trainers.

The Adopting Community takes no responsibility for the provision of training for any equipment donated under this clause.

Do What Thou Wilt (DWTW) clause

The DWTW clause removes all claim, agency, and responsibility from the donor. This is incompatible with all other clauses except ATR.

Example Licenses

  • “GB30 DNR ATR(@janebloggs/@tommyatkins)” - Equipment must be given back within at most 30 days from request, must not be removed from the facility, and requires additional training before use that can be given by Jane Bloggs or Tommy Atkins.

  • “GB60 DND” - Must be given back within at most 60 days from request and must not be intentionally disassembled or destroyed

Ultimate TLDR

  • If ‘lending’ equipment to the space you want back, write your name/contact details along with “GB DND”

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