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Groklaw: The Daemon, the GNU & the Penguin--Ch. 17

Aug 16, 2005, 02:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Peter H. Salus)


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"A license is formal permission for something. In general, this is written permission. Historically, such things began with (unwritten) permission to 'go upon or use the land of another'--to cross a lord's manor or forest, for example--as a 'personal privilege, not constituting an interest in the land.'

"Copyright is a form of an exclusive license. It is a license granted by the state to the 'author,' granting them a monopoly on certain activities for a time. The first copyright statute was the Statute of Anne, usually cited as 1709. (As with almost everything, the date is ambiguous: the Statute was introduced in 1709, but 'passed into law' on 10 April 1710..."

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