Could Free Software Exist Without Copyright?
Jul 09, 2010, 15:06 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Glyn Mody)
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"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