[Fsfe-ie] Software freedom arguments against copyright extension

Ciarán O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Tue Apr 12 18:16:31 CEST 2011

Bob Jolliffe <bobjolliffe at gmail.com> writes:
> I do find it hard to
> see how the extension of term has a direct effect on free software.

I think it's easier to see when we take it to the extremes: what would be
better for free software: all music being free-as-in-freedom, or all music
being under the control of DRM-loving companies?

The former, obviously.  Copyright extension takes music out of the
free-as-in-freedom pool, and hands it to the DRM-loving companies, so free
software organisations should oppose copyright extension.

> Regarding copyright it might be useful to look at it from the GPL
> perspective.  The GPL makes constructive use of copyright to construct new
> bundlings of rights and obligations for users, follow on innovators etc.
> [...]  Would there be an "ideal" term from a GPL perspective?

RMS wrote an interesting piece about this:

   I could support a law that would make GPL-covered software's source code
   available in the public domain after 5 years, provided it has the same
   effect on proprietary software's source code. [...]

   So I proposed that the Pirate Party platform require proprietary
   software's source code to be put in escrow when the binaries are
   released. The escrowed source code would then be released in the public
   domain after 5 years.

Ciarán O'Riordan, +32 487 64 17 54, http://ciaran.compsoc.com

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