[clug] Re: A most interesting read, most interesting

Simon Fowler simon at dreamcraft.com.au
Sun Dec 31 01:16:36 GMT 2006

On Sun, Dec 31, 2006 at 10:30:01AM +1100, Peter Anderson wrote:
> Martijn van Oosterhout said:
> "...I have certainly never assigned ownership rights to anybody. And 
> please don't say that people who develop open source have done so. They 
> have simply published under a fairly liberal licence, but it's certainly 
> not public domain. At the very least they retain the right of 
> attribution..."
> Martijn, I not sure a lawyer would agree with your interpretation. 
> Equally, I think that if you put Simply put, once you have published 
> your 'ideas' as open source you have given 'the world' unfettered access 
> to them to do with them what ever they want. Usually all you ask in 
> return is that they acknowledge your original ideas. So although you 
> might think that you have not given up ownership of your ideas, 
> effectively you have.
Not at all - most of the 'open source' or 'free software' licenses
that people actually use impose quite specific limitations on what
people can do with the copyrighted work that they own and release
under that license. They're most definitely /not/ giving the world
unfettered access to do whatever they want with it, and certainly
not giving up their ownership rights over copyrighted works.

Copyleft type licenses (GPL and any similar license that enforces
the share and share alike model) /rely/ on people not giving up
ownership of their ideas - they work by using those ownership rights
to grant permissions that the rest of the world wouldn't normally
have, and using copyright laws to enforce these grants. Making
limited grants in well defined circumstances definitely doesn't
equate to giving up ownership . . .

You're missing the forest by focussing on the trees here.


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