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nice idea in principle, shame about the impracticability

nice idea in principle, shame about the impracticability

Posted Jan 29, 2013 19:21 UTC (Tue) by copsewood (subscriber, #199)
Parent article: Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

What this does is make it possible for moderately courageous individuals to reuse unlicenced and unasserted copyright content at their own risk. But no large business paying programmers to improve code coming from elsewhere will take this risk. This makes it impossible for such content to be included within mass market products, because the corporate lawyers of the businesses involved will advise relevant decision-makers not to take the risk.

If that's what this movement wishes to achieve with their own generated content that's OK with me, but where I want the maximum possible propagation of my code traded against the maximum benefit to everyone's access to others' improvements to it, then I'll explicitly license it accordingly.

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nice idea in principle, shame about the impracticability

Posted Jan 30, 2013 5:57 UTC (Wed) by rahvin (subscriber, #16953) [Link]

The problem is that even if the author refuses to make a copyright claim, her heirs gain control after death and can certainly make such claims. Copyright terms are explicitly beyond the authors death and the one that inherits that claim may not be as generous as the original author.

It's interesting that I haven't seen a comment explaining that GPL was specifically designed to use copyright _against_ copyright. That's the entire concept behind copyleft. As copyleft grows in time it's not inconceivable that copyleft will replace most commodity software and in the process destroy much of the copyright regime in software.

nice idea in principle, shame about the impracticability

Posted Jan 30, 2013 8:12 UTC (Wed) by hblok (guest, #88569) [Link]

You're right, and I think the sharing and community aspect gets a bit lost in the "no license" and "public domain" discussion. The liberty of one individual (or company) to take a project and lock it down conflicts with the freedom of others to gain access to both the code, and potentially other locked down property (e.g. documents, hardware).

As an author of GPL software, I not only grant users free access, I dictate that future changes and re-distributions of the software will continue to carry that free license. Some see that as violation of their liberty. However, in my opinion, the free licenses are about the software and community first, and developers of derivative works second.

nice idea in principle, shame about the impracticability

Posted Jan 30, 2013 12:00 UTC (Wed) by tialaramex (subscriber, #21167) [Link]

Specifically the idea is to protect the user. All users of a GPL'd work can get the source code and fix/ improve it (for non-programmers and large organisations that will usually mean "pay someone to...")

With the non-copyleft Free licenses only the people you distribute to get this right, everybody else can be stripped of that right out of malice, in pursuit of profit, or most likely of all, simple laziness.

Of course to be effective copylefts must be enforced, for example Firefox is licensed under the MPL. You can get the entire source code to the Firefox on your Windows, Mac or whatever system. But the "Timberwolf" third party port of Firefox code to the Amiga OS 4.0 base simply doesn't provide any source code at all. Its authors have simply claimed that years of "alpha" and "beta" releases don't qualify as needing source code, and so far nobody has sent any lawyers after them, so their users don't get the freedom that they're owed in principle.

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