copyright discussion

David Johnson david at
Tue Sep 11 02:49:52 UTC 2001

On Monday 10 September 2001 07:13 pm, Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. wrote:
> Who on this list beside myself wondered whether Praveen posted his message
> on this list without consideration of why most of us support open source?
> Or, did I miss something?

Yes, you did miss something. 

That particular set of IP known as copyright is *crucial* to Open Source. 
Now more than ever since "public domain" got dropped from the appoved list. 
Praveen's post essentially said that IP is empowering. Even a cursory 
examination at the GPL will reveal how utterly useless it would be without 
the empowerment of copyright.

IP means that you and I have the legal right to enforce some of your wishes 
with regards to your software. That includes the right to enforce publication 
upon distribution, the right to prohibit the use of your name or 
organization's name for endorsement purposes, and the right to prohibit users 
from excising political views you have included in your license.

At the least, Open Source advocates are saying that some right granted to the 
author exclusively are *indeed* appropriate and justified.

I did not read Praveen's post as any sort of attack upon us. But rather it 
was in response to a common attitude among many in this community that 
copyright is evil. If it is truly evil, then let's refuse to even consider 
using its powers, by placing all of our software under as unrestrictive of 
licenses as possible. But if it isn't evil, but merely a tool, then let's 
stop condemning the tool just because there are some who abuse it.

David Johnson
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