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Pirate Party's copyright reform cannon could sink copyleft
Tech Business
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 27 July 2009 11:53

The Swedish Pirate Party's goal of reducing copyright duration to five years is facing scrutiny from an unlikely critic. Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation, fears that reduced copyright terms will undermine copyleft licenses.

By Ryan Paul | Last updated July 27, 2009 7:57 AM CT

 Free Software Foundation (FSF) founder Richard Stallman published a statement last week expressing concern about the Swedish Pirate Party's copyright reform platform. The party's ambitious goals for copyright term reduction would blast holes in copyleft licensing, a serious blow to Stallman's Free Software movement.

The GNU General Public License (GPL), a widely-used open source software license that was originally written by Stallman, exploits fundamental characteristics of copyright law in order to guarantee that the freedoms granted by the license are extended to derivative works. The underlying legal principles that facilitate copyleft cannot function without conventional copyright.

Open source software licenses grant recipients the freedom to study, modify, run, and redistribute software. Copyleft licenses are a category of open source software licenses that require linked code to be distributed under the same terms, meaning that copyleft code generally can't be used in proprietary software. This distinguishes copyleft licenses from more permissive open source software licenses such as the BSD license.   [ARS Technica...]    [Comments...]

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