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Author Topic: Growing the Copyfree Movement  (Read 6777 times)
kiba
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December 09, 2010, 04:17:24 PM
 #61

Very few business that I know of make money from BSD model. They make it from their GPL/dual licensed model.

It doesn't matter if you just closed the source code and try to sell it. If you make your own changes, but you have to integrate the upstream source....well good luck.

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December 10, 2010, 02:22:17 PM
 #62

So, how many killer apps have been made impossible by the GPL and other copyleft?  We can't really know.  Want to structure Wikipedia's data, add value to it, and resell it?  Sorry, you'll need to operate at a loss and offer your data for free because of Wikipedia's share-alike license.  The fact is, we can't see all of the awesomeness that doesn't take place due to copyleft enforcement because fear of legal retribution means that none of this awesomeness can exist in the first place.

There is nothing stopping you from creating an encyclopedia based upon other licensing models.  You must start from scratch and get a group willing to create that content in some fashion with those other licenses.  Such encyclopedias did exists and still continue to exist in other contexts, even though some have folded up shop.  Wikipedia wasn't even the first electronic encyclopedia:  ever hear of Encarta?

You are also free to use Wikipedia's data, add value to it, resell it, and make money at the same time.  There are many people who are willing to do that and do so at a profit.  Nothing in the CC-BY-SA license used by Wikipedia prohibits you from making a profit, it just spells out the terms and conditions for reusing that content.  If you don't like the license, use somebody else's content.  What I see here is a complaint that you don't like the license and are expecting others who don't agree with you that perhaps they should adopt your philosophies for content usage.

If you really think there might be some sort of advantage with some other licensing model for an encyclopedia, start it up and convince some others to help out with developing content.  Pay them for it if you must, but find some way to get it to happen.

It is possible that many people who contribute to Wikipedia do so simply because they have something interesting to say and don't care about the licensing model at all.  You might get many or most of those people to join in your project too.  In fact, I know that there are some who participate on Wikipedia who explicitly do donate all of their contributions into the public domain as a whole and don't accept copyleft licenses.  There are also purely public domain images on the Wikimedia commons for you to use, including newer stuff that isn't in the public domain due to copyright expiration.  If you want to prove that having stuff in the public domain is useful and can create some useful applications:  prove it.  The content without a copyright is available for you to use if you but search for it.  Wikipedia isn't a solid wall of copyleft content as is implied here.

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December 10, 2010, 02:32:15 PM
 #63

I already created an encyclopedia that is dual licensed under GNU FDL/CC-BY.  Wink


The conclusion? Nobody cares if you're an obscure encyclopedia.

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December 10, 2010, 02:42:20 PM
 #64

Withholding source code via cryptography, obfuscation, or just not revealing it for a period of time is both legitimate and moral.  This is a critical component of expression, which is composed of both speech and silence.

Legally removing a modifier's right to silence effectively criminalizes a large number of possible business plans that would've benefited countless people.
One can exercise his right to silence by using GPL'ed works privately. The license provides for such use.

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So, how many killer apps have been made impossible by the GPL and other copyleft?
How many killer apps have been made impossible by intellectual property monopolies? The GPL is a symptom of the excessive protections afforded by copyright laws. We have to cope somehow.

Quote
I think also that people don't realize what the GPL does to create permanent code monopolies.  This would be much more equitable if the author were also bound to the GPL, but in fact one of the prime uses of the GPL is to prevent others from selling commercial licenses while retaining one's own right to do so.
Modify the code and, as required, license it yourself under the GPL. Now you can sell commercial licenses, too.

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December 10, 2010, 02:45:56 PM
 #65

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I think also that people don't realize what the GPL does to create permanent code monopolies.  This would be much more equitable if the author were also bound to the GPL, but in fact one of the prime uses of the GPL is to prevent others from selling commercial licenses while retaining one's own right to do so.
Modify the code and, as required, license it yourself under the GPL. Now you can sell commercial licenses, too.

I think he mean, "dual licensed business model". One is the GPL, the others is "as long as you pay us, you can do whatever the shit you want" license.

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December 12, 2010, 06:45:11 AM
 #66

So, how many killer apps have been made impossible by the GPL and other copyleft?  We can't really know.  Want to structure Wikipedia's data, add value to it, and resell it?  Sorry, you'll need to operate at a loss and offer your data for free because of Wikipedia's share-alike license.  The fact is, we can't see all of the awesomeness that doesn't take place due to copyleft enforcement because fear of legal retribution means that none of this awesomeness can exist in the first place.

There is nothing stopping you from creating an encyclopedia based upon other licensing models.  You must start from scratch and get a group willing to create that content in some fashion with those other licenses.  Such encyclopedias did exists and still continue to exist in other contexts, even though some have folded up shop.  Wikipedia wasn't even the first electronic encyclopedia:  ever hear of Encarta?

You are also free to use Wikipedia's data, add value to it, resell it, and make money at the same time.  There are many people who are willing to do that and do so at a profit.  Nothing in the CC-BY-SA license used by Wikipedia prohibits you from making a profit, it just spells out the terms and conditions for reusing that content.  If you don't like the license, use somebody else's content.  What I see here is a complaint that you don't like the license and are expecting others who don't agree with you that perhaps they should adopt your philosophies for content usage.

If you really think there might be some sort of advantage with some other licensing model for an encyclopedia, start it up and convince some others to help out with developing content.  Pay them for it if you must, but find some way to get it to happen.

It is possible that many people who contribute to Wikipedia do so simply because they have something interesting to say and don't care about the licensing model at all.  You might get many or most of those people to join in your project too.  In fact, I know that there are some who participate on Wikipedia who explicitly do donate all of their contributions into the public domain as a whole and don't accept copyleft licenses.  There are also purely public domain images on the Wikimedia commons for you to use, including newer stuff that isn't in the public domain due to copyright expiration.  If you want to prove that having stuff in the public domain is useful and can create some useful applications:  prove it.  The content without a copyright is available for you to use if you but search for it.  Wikipedia isn't a solid wall of copyleft content as is implied here.

Thank you for the clarification about license diversity in Wikipedia.  I am basing my thoughts on the license notice at the bottom of each page, which is CC-BY-SA.

You're right that it's not effective to simply talk about what I think is a sub-optimal license, and I'm not interested in recreating Wikipedia just to prove a point.

I think that you did, however, brush off my point: it's not about what terms I want, or what terms any person in particular wants.  It's not about which particular pieces of information have which legal restrictions.  It's about the innovations that won't happen because there are restrictions on the uses of that information.

It's about not wanting to threaten people with legal ramifications or make contributors feel like they're backing freedom when they aren't.  Because really, that's what a license is: a legal threat masquerading as a platform for freedom.
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December 12, 2010, 06:51:06 AM
 #67

Withholding source code via cryptography, obfuscation, or just not revealing it for a period of time is both legitimate and moral.  This is a critical component of expression, which is composed of both speech and silence.

Legally removing a modifier's right to silence effectively criminalizes a large number of possible business plans that would've benefited countless people.
One can exercise his right to silence by using GPL'ed works privately. The license provides for such use.

I'm talking about distributing what I want to others who express an interest, without being required to also share the source or meet some other requirement of a license.

Personally I don't see an incentive for someone to withhold code for a long period of time.  But, I do see the potential for many business plans such as releasing binaries to an app store 30 days before releasing the code in the public domain.  I think this type of arrangement could be the root of many an innovation in software distribution and sales, but it's hard to tell given the presence of both IP in general and the GPL in specific.
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December 12, 2010, 11:25:45 AM
 #68

I think that you did, however, brush off my point: it's not about what terms I want, or what terms any person in particular wants.  It's not about which particular pieces of information have which legal restrictions.  It's about the innovations that won't happen because there are restrictions on the uses of that information.

It's about not wanting to threaten people with legal ramifications or make contributors feel like they're backing freedom when they aren't.  Because really, that's what a license is: a legal threat masquerading as a platform for freedom.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion on this issue, but I will say you have a long and tough road ahead if you are trying to get your political ideas turned into public policy and law, or for that matter widely accepted custom if you hate the concept of laws themselves.

What I don't understand is the attack upon copyleft principles when most of those who are involved with copyleft content development mostly support your view that substantial legal restrictions on the use of copyrighted content is wrong.  Copyleft supporters aren't your "enemy", but rather entities like Microsoft and Disney should be.  Of course I'm repeating myself now.  90%+ of the "licenses" on content (I would say 99% but copyleft licensing has made some inroads) have nothing at all to do with "freedom" or even "copyleft", but are purely to do with "proprietary" copyright restrictions.  By far and away the most common and to me the worst offender is the "end-user licensing agreement" (EULA) often seen with computer software but includes other products as well.  This is the "shrink-wrap license" where some courts have ruled that simply opening a package is the equivalent of signing and notarizing a contract.  Really, there are bigger fish to fry here, and attacking the copyleft community is only going to backfire any effort to further your cause.

Perhaps I guess the idea is to convince those in the copyleft content development community that licenses like the GPL are somehow evil and should be abandoned.  The arguments here aren't don't a good job as they aren't dealing with the causes that create licenses like the GPL.

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December 12, 2010, 02:54:25 PM
 #69

Some other popular copyright-free licenses:
http://creativecommons.org/about/cc0
http://sam.zoy.org/wtfpl/
http://unlicense.org/

kiba
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December 12, 2010, 03:06:31 PM
 #70

Perhaps I guess the idea is to convince those in the copyleft content development community that licenses like the GPL are somehow evil and should be abandoned.  The arguments here aren't don't a good job as they aren't dealing with the causes that create licenses like the GPL.

The right to silence are very important to us, even if we don't like proprietary software. We aren't looking to eliminate proprietary software, but a monopoly privilege.

That's a very important distinction.

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December 12, 2010, 03:45:54 PM
 #71

I'm talking about distributing what I want to others who express an interest, without being required to also share the source or meet some other requirement of a license.

Personally I don't see an incentive for someone to withhold code for a long period of time.  But, I do see the potential for many business plans such as releasing binaries to an app store 30 days before releasing the code in the public domain.  I think this type of arrangement could be the root of many an innovation in software distribution and sales, but it's hard to tell given the presence of both IP in general and the GPL in specific.
You can't restrict copyleft licensing without restricting copyright protections in general, and that's kind of the point. Please, direct your ire accordingly.

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December 12, 2010, 10:25:59 PM
 #72

Copyfree.org's definition includes not-so-free licenses like BSD, which require redistributors to retain a copyright notice. With pure copyfree licenses, like CC0 or Unlicense, that's never necessary.

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December 12, 2010, 11:49:55 PM
 #73

I think that you did, however, brush off my point: it's not about what terms I want, or what terms any person in particular wants.  It's not about which particular pieces of information have which legal restrictions.  It's about the innovations that won't happen because there are restrictions on the uses of that information.

It's about not wanting to threaten people with legal ramifications or make contributors feel like they're backing freedom when they aren't.  Because really, that's what a license is: a legal threat masquerading as a platform for freedom.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion on this issue, but I will say you have a long and tough road ahead if you are trying to get your political ideas turned into public policy and law, or for that matter widely accepted custom if you hate the concept of laws themselves.

What I don't understand is the attack upon copyleft principles when most of those who are involved with copyleft content development mostly support your view that substantial legal restrictions on the use of copyrighted content is wrong.  Copyleft supporters aren't your "enemy", but rather entities like Microsoft and Disney should be.  Of course I'm repeating myself now.  90%+ of the "licenses" on content (I would say 99% but copyleft licensing has made some inroads) have nothing at all to do with "freedom" or even "copyleft", but are purely to do with "proprietary" copyright restrictions.  By far and away the most common and to me the worst offender is the "end-user licensing agreement" (EULA) often seen with computer software but includes other products as well.  This is the "shrink-wrap license" where some courts have ruled that simply opening a package is the equivalent of signing and notarizing a contract.  Really, there are bigger fish to fry here, and attacking the copyleft community is only going to backfire any effort to further your cause.

Perhaps I guess the idea is to convince those in the copyleft content development community that licenses like the GPL are somehow evil and should be abandoned.  The arguments here aren't don't a good job as they aren't dealing with the causes that create licenses like the GPL.

I think you're mischaracterizing my "attack" on the GPL.  There are clearly licenses that are worse.

I don't think you're right about the causes of the GPL.  The GPL is from an era when the BSD system was under legal attack, and there wasn't a developed tradition of public domain or permissive licenses.  Now, there are exceedingly healthy commercially- and community-supported non-copyleft projects, many of which will replace their more restrictive GPL counterparts.

I think the two "causes" of the GPL today are 1) the viral requirement of useful GPLed components and 2) the notion that the GPL is a tool for freedom.  I think the second is a faulty notion; it can be argued that there are eras where swords are tools for healing, but thankfully we're long out of harm's way on that one.

About the copyleft community: I'm not really going to dissuade anyone who has investment in the GPL.  My goal is really to be a voice for those who hadn't really thought about the issue deeply or didn't notice the viable alternatives but are attempting to produce the least amount of legal threat to their fellow man.
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December 12, 2010, 11:54:59 PM
 #74


Thanks for the links.  I didn't realize that the wtfpl and the unlicense were actually public domain dedications.  I had thought about using the cc0 previously, the main advantage of which is that it falls back to a permissive license in places where that is necessary.

I decided against cc0 because it a much more involved license and I think that disallowing disclaimers of copyright is absurd.  Where are these jurisdictions, really?  And if someone used my public domain software in these jurisdictions, who would they face legal threat from?
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December 13, 2010, 11:40:14 AM
 #75

... And if someone used my public domain software in these jurisdictions, who would they face legal threat from?
One threat is from heirs of the original author, who claim that because the coypright disclaimer is unlawful, they retain the copyright and are therefore "owed" a lot of money.
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December 16, 2010, 05:26:04 AM
 #76

... And if someone used my public domain software in these jurisdictions, who would they face legal threat from?
One threat is from heirs of the original author, who claim that because the coypright disclaimer is unlawful, they retain the copyright and are therefore "owed" a lot of money.

Is this related to estoppel?  Even if the copyright disclaimer is unlawful, it was clearly intended by the copyright holder, and I don't see how a person could seek to benefit by showing that they are in contravention of the law.
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December 16, 2010, 10:47:44 AM
 #77

Even if the copyright disclaimer is unlawful, it was clearly intended by the copyright holder

Exactly. Unless it's something with enormous monetary value (say, the Beatles back catalog), a simple one-sentence dedication to the public domain works perfectly in practice.
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