Copyfree vs. Copyright/Copyleft

The other day I stumbled upon the Website http://copyfree.org/, which advocates a software licensing model somewhat similar to LGPL.
See the Website for arguments in favor of this licensing model.

I would, however, stick with GPL/LGPL due to the following reasons:

  1. The world has some actors (such as the one whose name starts with M and ends with T) with monopolistic intentions. Copyfree is not strong enough to stop them. GPL (especially its v3) is essential to limit the effects of such actors.
  2. Some software developers are not altruistic philanthropists. They expect to be compensated for their software development work. In the case of software which scratches their own itches, an acceptable form of compensation would be enhancements to the software, which fix bugs and - more interestingly - add new features. When wielded by such developers, GPL/LGPL are used much as traditional copyright law is used by creators to get compensated for their creations.
  3. In the special case of security software, which should be used by everyone, exemptions can be made on case by case basis. The reasoning is much the same as the one which led USA to release to USSR, in midst of the Cold War, certain technologies for securing atom bombs against accidental detonation. And those were days, in which people were executed for releasing nuclear secrets to the wrong parties (witness the Rosenbergs affair).

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4 Comments »

Comment by apotheon
2009-01-03 20:51:10

I have three things to say about this — one for each of your points:

1. The GPL is actually a tool of monopolists. Ironic — isn’t it?

2. I don’t see how something like the BSD license interferes with the kind of open source business model you discuss.

3. You might want to reconsider how you choose your licensing model for security software.

Comment by Omer Zak
2009-01-03 21:13:37

I read the article about licensing model for security software, and noticed that to have convenient access to comments made by people, I would need to obtain “free” subscription to TechRepublic. So much for the freest possible means to disseminate information.

1. GPL being a tool of monopolists - can you cite an example of monopolist behavior enabled by having the software released under GPL? I mean in the classical sense - not letting other people/corporations compete over the same market,and being able to charge monopolistic prices.

2. Very simple - people won’t pay the price, which I want for the right to use my software - if I release it under BSD rather than GPL/LGPL.

3. I don’t see a real contradiction between what I said and what you said. I already agreed that it may make sense to release security software under more liberal licenses; although it should be determined on case by case basis.

 
 
Comment by apotheon
2009-01-08 02:22:12

to have convenient access to comments made by people, I would need to obtain “free” subscription to TechRepublic

So . . . should writers just decide that TR’s community members and other readers aren’t worthy to read about licensing models other than TechRepublic’s publishing and membership policy? Has it occurred to you that writing an article published at TR doesn’t mean the writer choose the licensing and membership policy? What exactly are you trying to imply? Does the membership policy somehow invalidate the actual statements made in the article?

can you cite an example of monopolist behavior enabled by having the software released under GPL? I mean in the classical sense - not letting other people/corporations compete over the same market,and being able to charge monopolistic prices.

If you want general examples, read the linked SOB entry. If you want very specific, direct relationships between GPL use and higher prices (for instance), you might want to consider that proving such direct relationships is extremely difficult.

people won’t pay the price, which I want for the right to use my software - if I release it under BSD rather than GPL/LGPL.

Please be more precise about that “price”, because so far I don’t see how your statement is true — so I must be assuming the wrong “price”.

I don’t see a real contradiction between what I said and what you said. I already agreed that it may make sense to release security software under more liberal licenses

Maybe I misread what you said, but . . .

it should be determined on case by case basis.

I disagree. It’s my opinion that a “default allow” approach should be taken to spreading secure software.

Comment by apotheon
2009-01-08 02:22:49

Damn. That was meant to be threaded with the others.

 
 
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