SIMSON SAYS: Copyright and wrongs
Bradley M. Kuhn
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 22:55:41 -0500
Thus spoke Kragen Sitaker:
> Perhaps an easier solution: reduce the term of software copyright to
> five years or so. Releasing source code would be nice, but you can't
> have everything, right? :)
This might have other negative effects. What if someone makes something
GPL'ed, looses the copyright after 5 years, the code reverts to the public
domain, and then someone else builds a new proprietary product based on it,
which we have to wait 5 years to get in the public domain.
> Perhaps it would be worthwhile to require the release of source code to
> some government escrow agency in order to grant copyright protection.
Something like this would still have the problems I describe above, I think.
> A more radical solution: eliminate software copyright altogether. It
> would seem that Red Hat Software and Cygnus Solutions have demonstrated
> that software copyright is not necessary to stimulate authorship of
Don't forget that Cygnus sells many proprietary software products now.
Also, elimination of software copyright may make it easier for folks to
distribute binary-only versions of things (no source) since nothing is
actually *requiring* them to release the source.
> (I know these proposals have no chance in hell of getting through the
> current legislature, but they are certainly worthy proposals.)
I am not sure.
> It seems to me that applying book-style copyright on software naturally
> produces destructive monopolies like Microsoft, because of some ways
> books are different from software.
However, I would argue that book copyrights are outdated and a "bad bargain"
as RMS says in today's modern age of everyone having their own printing
Bradley M. Kuhn | firstname.lastname@example.org | http://www.ebb.org/bkuhn