unit 5: copyleft, gnu-linux, creative commons, GPL, DRM – kishore k

Copyleft is a general method for making a program free, and Copyleft is a type of license that attempts to ensure that the public retains the freedom to use, modify, extend and redistribute a creative work

Copyleft also provides an incentive for other programmers to add to free software. Important free programs such as the GNU C++ compiler exist only because of this.

The term copyleft is a play on the word copyright, Copyright does not protect facts, discoveries, ideas, systems or methods of operation, although it can protect the way they are expressed.  On the other hand Copyleft helps programmers who want to contribute improvements to free software get permission to do so. . Copyleft licenses require that information necessary for reproducing and modifying the work must be made available to recipients of the executable.

In the case of computer software, the form that facilitates further modification in source code is copyleft licenses which require that the source code be made freely available to anyone.To copyleft a program, it is first state that it is copyrighted; then it is added with distribution terms, which are a legal instrument that gives everyone the rights to use, modify, and redistribute the program’s code, or any program derived from it, but only if the distribution terms are unchanged.

GNU/Linux, or simply Linux, is an alternative to Microsoft Windows. It is easy to use and gives more freedom to users. Anyone can install it: Linux is free as in freedom, and often available free of charge.The Free Software Foundation views Linux distributions that use GNU software as GNU variants and they ask that such operating systems be referred to as GNU/Linux or a Linux-based GNU system.

It is possible to write good free software without thinking of GNU; much good work has been done in the name of Linux also. But the term “Linux” has been associated ever since it was first coined with a philosophy that does not make a commitment to the freedom to cooperate.

A great challenge to the future of free software comes from the tendency of the “Linux” distribution companies to add nonfree software to GNU/Linux in the name of convenience and power. All the major commercial distribution developers do this; none limits itself to free software. Most of them do not clearly identify the nonfree packages in their distributions. Many even develop nonfree software and add it to the system. Some outrageously advertise “Linux” systems that are “licensed per seat”, which give the user as much freedom as Microsoft Windows.

Creative Commons helps us to share our knowledge and creativity with the world.

creative commons’s easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice.

Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright-licenses known as Creative Commons licenses free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators.

For Example : If we want to give people the right to share, use, and even build upon a work we’ve created, we should consider publishing it under a Creative Commons license. CC gives us flexibility and protects the people who use our work, so people don’t have to worry about copyright infringement, as long as they abide by the conditions we have specified.

GNU refers to GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE, is a free, copyleft license for software.

The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed to take away our freedom to share and change the works. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee our freedom to share and change all versions of a program–to make sure it remains free software for all its users.

The GPL grants the recipients of a computer program the rights of the Free Software Definition and uses copyleft to ensure the freedoms are preserved whenever the work is distributed, even when the work is changed or added to. The GPL is a copyleft license, which means that derived works can only be distributed under the same license terms. It was the first copyleft license for general use. GNU GPL protect our rights with two steps: (1) assert copyright on the software, and (2) offer you this License giving you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify it.

DRM refers to Digital Restrictions Management is technology that controls what you can do with the digital media and devices you own. When a program doesn’t let you share a song, read an ebook on another device, or play a single-player game without an internet connection, you are being restricted by DRM. In other words, DRM creates a damaged good. It prevents you from doing what would normally be possible if it wasn’t there, and this is creating a dangerous situation for freedom, privacy and censorship.

DRM is designed to take all of the incredible possibilities enabled by digital technologies and place them under the control of a few, who can then micromanage and track everything we do with our media. This creates the potential for massive digital book burnings and large scale surveillance over people’s media viewing habits.

DRM gives media and technology companies the ultimate control over every aspect of what people can do with their media: where they can use it, on what devices, using what apps, for how long, and any other conditions the retailer wants to set. Digital media has many advantages over traditional analog media, but DRM attempts to make every possible use of digital goods something that must be granted permission for. This concentrates all power over the distribution of media into the hands of a few companies. For example, DRM gives ebook sellers the power to remotely delete all copies of a book, to keep track of what books readers are interested in and, with some software, even what notes they take in their books.

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