"Software that is placed under "copyleft" -- as opposed to
copyright -- may be in a legal limbo and is still reliant on the
concept of copyright, an Irish legal expert says. But during a
legal seminar Tuesday in Dublin on "Copyleft and Open Source
Software: History, Applications and Legal Issues," Free Software
Foundation founder and principle GNU developer Richard Stallman
argued that the concept of copyright is inappropriate to the
digital age and restricts freedom and innovation."
"However, Paul Lambert, a lawyer with LK Shields Solicitors in
Dublin, argued that even with copyleft "as a fundamental concept,
copyright remains, because copyleft can't work without copyright."
... Therefore, copyleft is not "the end of copyright as we know
it," as some critics have argued, he said. Software developers can
thus not disclaim copyright, but may either license or assign the
work to others."
"Copyleft, free software and open source software all pose major
challenges to the concept of copyright and could threaten the
established software houses such as Microsoft, Lambert said. For
example, he said, "Linux is now a viable alternative." ...GPL and
copyleft will remain philosophical rather than practical issues
until they are tried in court. "The issue for GPL is whether or not
it works, whether or not it's enforceable. But it hasn't been
tested in a court of law," said Lambert."