17 August 2008

Copylefting

I believe copyleft is a Good Idea. 'Copyleft', obviously a pun on 'copyright', is a term that refers to the concept that material placed under an open license should remain open. In practice this means that a licence for open source software or other open material should contain a clause that forbids the use of the material in question if resulting materials are not also released under an open license.

I think this makes a lot of sense. If you create something and release it to a community, you don't really want to see some money-grabbing corporation take it, improve it and release it commercially without making their improvements available to you or other interested parties. Sharing, and improvement via sharing, is the whole point of the open source ideology.

The little creations on my site aren't really interesting or big enough for the licences used to make any difference, but I still like to do things right and in accordance to ideals I believe in. My RPG settings have been under a Creative Commons license, but thus far under a version that restricted commercial use but weren't copyleft. While this would also prevent the above scenario from taking place, it's not commercial use that's really the issue. It's sharing and benefiting everyone through that sharing. So I've changed the Creative Commons licences I've used to 'Share Alike' versions and scrapped the 'Noncommercial' requirement.

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