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Linux.com: on copyright

Sep 07, 2001, 10:09 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rob Bos)

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"Premise: The intent of copyright is to ensure that documents and works reach the public domain after a specified period of time (originally twenty years after creation, now seventy years after the author's death, extended every twenty years by twenty years). Copyright is a mechanism to a) allow people to make work available with the guarantee that they will remain the only supplier of that work and to b) ensure that work reaches the public domain, so that it will someday be freely available for all person's use.

Once this is stipulated - and one may agree with it or not, but I'm exploring its ramifactions here - I feel that the basic intent of copyright is being violated with proprietary software. By not publishing the source code - the program itself, they're violating the spirit of copyright. Copyright should be sufficient protection for the program's source code - that's what it's for.

Once copyright expires, the program is supposed to enter the public domain (whether or not it happens in two centuries or tomorrow is immaterial, the issue of copyright length is an entirely different question) - but in the current state of affairs, the program will not enter the public domain because the source code of the program is not a matter of public record."

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