The GPL And The Legal Challenge To It

Posted by dave on Mar 29, 2004 7:01 AM EDT
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The GPL is, as far as I can see, the most innovative adjustment to copyright and IP contracts that has occurred for decades - maybe even centuries. The idea is, in essence, a simple one. Previously creators and collaborators in the creation of IP (or works covered by copyright - software happens to fall into both categories at times) chose either to defend their legal ownership via copyright and/or the lodging of patents or they chose to make it freely available. The GPL plows a middle course, allowing free usage of software source code on condition that whatever is added (source code and IP) is also provided to others on the same basis. It thus encourages collaboration by those who wish to share the fruits of their labour without direct commercial reward, but wish to retain a level of control on it usage.

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