How the Swedish Pirate Party Platform Backfires on Free Software
Jul 24, 2009, 20:03 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard Stallman)
"The GNU General Public License and other copyleft licenses use
copyright law to defend freedom for every user. The GPL permits
everyone to publish modified works, but only under the same
license. Redistribution of the unmodified work must also preserve
the license. And all redistributors must give users access to the
software's source code.
"How would the Swedish Pirate Party's platform affect copylefted
free software? After five years, its source code would go into the
public domain, and proprietary software developers would be able to
include it in their programs.
"But what about the reverse case? Proprietary software is
restricted by EULAs, not just by copyright, and the users don't
have the source code. Even if copyright permits noncommercial
sharing, the EULA may forbid it. In addition, the users, not having
the source code, do not control what the program does when they run
it. To run such a program is to surrender your freedom and give the
developer control over you."