What the hell is copyleft, anyway?
According to the GNU Project,
Copyleft is a way of using the copyright on the program. It doesn’t mean abandoning the copyright; in fact, doing so would make copyleft impossible. The “left” in “copyleft” is not a reference to the verb “to leave”—only to the direction which is the mirror image of “right.”
Er, What’s Copyleft Again? In English This Time
In essence, it is a way to kind of license already copyrighted material and allow it to be changed.
As a result, free software programs are possible. And it may even be one of the reasons why wikis are possible. Why? Because they allow for a measure of alteration and distribution.
If a project starts out as free, someone can’t come around later and decide to charge for it. That is, someone who is not the actual rights holder.
Because, of course, people can change their minds and start to monetize previously free content.
But the real beauty of this form of licensure and distribution is that it (ostensibly) protects the little guy.
Let’s say I code something amazing. Never mind that I know just enough code to be dangerous. You know what I mean.
Well, what happens if I am less than vigilant, and a large corporation takes it? Or what if I get rooked by someone? Or, maybe, I don’t speak the same language as that corporation?
Maybe I think I’m agreeing to one thing. But in reality, I am signing my rights away. Well, the concept here is that such a situation can never arise.
But the truth of the matter is that I am a rather skeptical person by nature. I have a hard time believing that this is at all sustainable.
I feel as if it will not take a few bad actors too long to just collapse the entire house of cards onto itself.
And, in all frankness, I wonder at times why that has not happened already.
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