copyleft, gnu-linux, creative commons, GPL, DRM. – (Manjunath M)

Creative Commons

Creative Commons helps you share your knowledge and creativity with the world. Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.

Creative Commons (CC) is a non profit organization headquartered in Mountain view, California, United States 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 Common 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. An easy to understand one-page explanation of rights, with associated visual symbols, explains the specifics of each Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright, but are based upon it. They replace individual negotiations for specific rights between copyright owner (Licensor) and license,which are necessary under an “all rights reserved” copyright management with a “some rights reserved” management employing standardized licenses for re-use cases where no commercial compensation is sought by the copyright owner. The result is an agile, low overhead and cost copyright management regime, profiting both copyright owners and licensees.

GPL

The GNU General Public License is a free software license (one of many ) created to protect the four essential freedoms of software users. Those freedoms are:

Freedom 0. the freedom to use the software for any purpose,

Freedom 1. the freedom to change the software to suit your needs,

Freedom 2. the freedom to share the software with your friends and neighbors, and

Freedom 3. the freedom to share the changes you make.

The license is the child of Richard M Stallman – the founder of the free softwrae movement and the free softwrae foundation – the not-for-profit organization that was born from his vision. There are multiple incarnations of the license, each with their own distinct purposes:

GNU General Public License (GPL) – Designed to protect and enforce the aforementioned freedoms. All derivative works must also be licensed under the GPL or a GPL compatible license.

GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) – Designed to protect the four freedoms, but permits usage in proprietary applications to a limited degree. Derivative works must still be licensed under a GPL-compatible license.

GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) – The most noble and powerful of the GPL licenses. It is an extension of the GNU GPL, with an added clause requiring that users accessing sodtware through a server must have access to the softwares source code (e.g. a website/web service). All derivative works must be licensed under the AGPL or a compatible license.

The GPL is a guardian to those who believe that the user should, above all else, be free to use, alter and distribute the program as they wish. The GPL is a curse to those who wish to take advantage of their users by creating proprietary software in order to control and exploit them.

Copyleft

Copyleft is a play on thw word copyright to describe the practice of using copyright law to offer the right to distribute copies and modified versions of a work and requiring that the same rights be preserved in modified versions of the work. In other words, copyleft is a general method for making a program (or other work) free (libre), and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well. This free does not necessarily mean free of cost (gratis), but free as in freely available to be modified.

Copyleft is a form of licensing and can be used to maintain copyright conditions for works such as computer software, documents and art . In general, copyright law is used by an author to prohibit others from reproducing, adapting, or distributing copies of the author’s work. In contrast, under copyleft, an author may give every person who receives a copy of a work permission to reproduce, adapt or distribute it and require that any resulting copies or adaptations are also bound by the same licensing agreement.

Copyleft licenses (for software) require that information necessary for reproducing and modifying the work must be made available to recipients of the executable. The source code  files will usually contain a copy of the license terms and acknowledge the author(s).

Copyleft type licenses are a novel use of existing copyright law to ensure a work remains freely available. The  GNU General Public License , originally written by Richard M Stallman, was the first copyleft license to see extensive use, and continues to dominate the licensing of copy lefted software.Creative Commons, a  non profit organization founded by Lawrence Lessing, provides a similar license provision condition called share alike.

DRM

Digital rights management (DRM) is a class of controversial acess control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders, and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after . DRM is any technology that inhibits uses of digital content that are not desired or intended by the content provider. DRM also includes specific instances of digital works or devices.  the digital Millenium copyright Act (DMCA) was passed in the United States to impose criminal penalties on those who make available technologies whose primary purpose and function  are to circumvent content protection technologies.

The use of digital rights management is not universally accepted. Some content providers claim that DRM is necessary to fight copyright infringement online and that it can help the copyright holder maintain artistic control or ensure continued revenue streams. Those opposed to DRM contend there is no evidence that DRM helps prevent copyright infringement, arguing instead that it serves only to inconvenience legitimate customers, and that DRM helps big business stifle innovation and competition. Further, works can become permanently inaccessible if the DRM scheme changes or if the service is discontinued. Proponents argue that digital locks should be considered necessary to prevent “intellectual property” from being copied freely, just as physical locks are needed to prevent personal property from being stolen.

Digital locks placed in accordance with DRM policies can also restrict users from doing something perfectly legal, such as making backup copies of CDs or DVDs, lending materials out through a library, accessing works in the public domain, or using copyrighted materials for research and education under fair use laws. Some opponents, such as the Free software foundation (FSF) through its Defective by design campaign, maintain that the use of the word “rights” is misleading and suggest that people instead use the term “digital restrictions management”. Their position is that copyright holders are restricting the use of material in ways that are beyond the scope of existing copyright laws, and should not be covered by future laws. TheElectronic Frontier foundation  (EFF) and the FSF consider the use of DRM systems to beanti compertitive practice.

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