SIMSON SAYS: Copyright and wrongs
Bradley M. Kuhn
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 23:39:31 -0500
Thus spoke Kragen Javier Sitaker:
> > 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.
> I don't see how this is a problem, frankly. Remember, the proprietary
> vendor would still have to reimplement, from scratch, everything that
> had been implemented in the GPLed version in the last 5 years in order
> to get people to use it.
> But the deeper issue is that I simply don't see this as much of a problem.
> Maybe I will after I write more code.
It could be you just aren't as far to the left as I. :)
I just would hate seeing proprietary versions of my work---ever . But,
it might be a reasonable trade-off if it meant that *all* proprietary
vendors had to release their source code into the public domain after 5
I just fear that big corporations would use their national and
international influence to find a way around it.
> > > 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
> > > software.
> > Don't forget that Cygnus sells many proprietary software products now.
> AFAIK, they sell Source Navigator, and that's it.
The GNU Pro Toolkit includes some proprietary components. The FSF is not
happy that they put the name 'GNU' on something that isn't free.
> In any case, they prospered nicely for 8 years before doing that.
And they got greedy, and horded.
> > However, I would argue that book copyrights are outdated and a "bad bargain"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
> > press.
> I tend to agree, but I don't think they're nearly as bad on books as
> they are on software.
I agree. That's why I am interested more in free software than free books.
Plus, I don't think the freedom to modify is important for literature,
poetry, and other forms of self-expression like that.
 Of course, this could be a problem since I am not hacking on stuff that
might become part of Perl, which means I have to succumb to "Artistic or
GPL, user choice" or risk upsetting the Perl community and not having my
Bradley M. Kuhn | firstname.lastname@example.org | http://www.ebb.org/bkuhn