[cc-licenses] Founders as a module? was Re: Getting to Version 3.0

Greg London email at greglondon.com
Fri May 19 00:46:11 EDT 2006



> but the much simpler question: "what are the practical differences
> between a non-copyleft free license* and the public domain?"  AFAIK,
> there isn't much difference, and this appears to be a common opinion
> in the free software community (including some important opinion
> leaders).

Er, well, I wouldn't say that. I think that folks made
sure that the definition for Free spanned from Public
Domain to Copyleft so as to include as many projects
as possible and not cause a licensing fork, or more
simply, to prevent folks who support gift economy projects
from wasting time squabbling amongst themselves, and let
them focus on contributing to their projects. Stallman's
non-endorsement of Creative Commons is, in my opinion,
exactly the sort of thing that was trying to be avoided
when all the various groups decided on the definition of
"Free". But again, that's my opinion.

As for *practical* differences, I'd say there are significant
differences. The main one being that a copyleft project can
survive alongside market competition because the license
prevents the project from being taken proprietary, whereas
a Public Domain project may have to compete with versions of
their project that have been forked off into proprietary
licenses by market competition.

Section 8 of "Drafting the Gift Domain" discusses the differences.

http://www.greglondon.com/dtgd/html/draftingthegiftdomain.htm#8_Copyleft_or_Public_Domain_

If you don't expect market competition or if you expect to
complete your project before competition starts or if you
expect your project will succeed even with market competition,
then you can just as easily go with a Public Domain license
as a copyleft license.

If you expect market competition and if you aren't certain
that your project can survive such competition, then you
might want to consider copyleft licenses as a way to protect
your project while it is developing.

-- 
Bounty Hunters: Metaphors for Fair IP laws
http://www.greglondon.com/bountyhunters/



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