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Copyright/CopyLeft

What is Copyright?


Copyright is a way of protecting intellectual property rights. It gives an author of an original work exclusive rights in relation to the work for a certain period of time, including its publication, distribution and adaptation, after which time the work enters the public domain. Copyright is inherent in creation of a work. When a piece of work is created the creator retains copyright.

What is the Public Domain?


Works that are in the public domain are freely available for anyone to use. They are not covered by any intellectual property rights. The works may have been ineligible for copyright, rights may have expired or been forfeited.

Why Copyright?


Simply creating or producing a work gives the author automatic copyright. Copyright gives the owner the right to copy and alter their own work and to protect their creation.

What is CopyLeft


"Copyleft is a type of license that attempts to ensure that the public retains the freedom to use, modify, extend and redistribute a creative work and all derivative works (i.e., works based on or derived from it) rather than to restrict such freedoms. This is accomplished by the copyright holder granting irrevocable permission to the public to copy and redistribute the work in the same or modified form, but with the conditions that all such redistributions (1) make the work available in a form that facilitates further modification and (2) use the same license." (Linux Information Project) The author surrenders some but not all their rights. Where copyright restricts use of works, copyleft frees the use of works.The first example of a CopyLeft license is Richard Stallman's GNU Genral Public License (GPL) In order to ensure that the software he was working on remained free for others to work on he used the framework of existing law to create the copyleft license. A form of copyleft is Creative Commons (CC). (See Page on CC)

Why CopyLeft?


The main reason some authors may wish to apply copyleft designation to a work is to open a work up so that others may contribute to its improvement. Others also apply copyleft designation because, they believe in the open source ethos of sharing.

Next up: The Copyright-CopyLeft Argument