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Could Free Software Exist Without Copyright?

Jul 09, 2010, 15:06 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Glyn Mody)

[ Thanks to Glyn Moody for this link. ]

"A couple of days ago, I was writing about how Richard Stallman's GNU GPL uses copyright as a way of ensuring that licensees share code that they distribute – because if they don't, they are breaching the GPL, and therefore lose their protection against claims of copyright infringement.

"That's all very well, but as many people have pointed out, this does result in the paradoxical situation that the GNU GPL actually *depends* on copyright, an intellectual monopoly, in order to spread intellectual freedom. Moreover, it seems to doom free software into a kind of symbiosis with copyright, forcing it to remain a supporter of that monopoly, since without it, the approach used to make the GPL so powerful would not work.

"This is obviously a slightly troubling prospect, so a little while ago I thought I'd raise the point with RMS himself, since he was bound to be aware of the issue, and presumably had a solution (I hoped)."

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