Copyright © 1995-2010 Thomas Hedden

Permission is granted to anyone to make or distribute verbatim copies of this document, in any medium, provided that the copyright notice and permission notice are preserved, and that the distributor grants the recipient permission for further redistribution as permitted by this notice.

What Is Copyleft?

The simplest way to make a program free is to put it in the public domain, uncopyrighted. But this permits proprietary modifications, denying others the freedom to use and redistribute improvements; it is contrary to the intent of increasing the total amount of free software. To prevent this, "copyleft" uses copyrights in a novel manner. Typically copyrights take away freedoms; copyleft preserves them. It is a legal instrument that requires those who pass on a program to include the rights to use, modify, and redistribute the code; the code and rights become legally inseparable.

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