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Re: [Fsuk-manchester] Strong Copyleft [WAS Re: Enjoyed the meeting]

From: Simon Ward
Subject: Re: [Fsuk-manchester] Strong Copyleft [WAS Re: Enjoyed the meeting]
Date: Sat, 27 Aug 2011 09:06:39 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)

On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 06:50:05PM +0100, Chris Wilson wrote:
> This isn't actually as bad as it
> sounds<http://blamcast.net/articles/orphan-works-bill-deserves-support-rms>

That is about the US incarnation, although I understand ours will be
largely similar.

As it is, it applies to all works, not just free software, and implying
it affects free software more than any other work is stirring up FUD.
If a diligent search¹ for an author does not find the author of free
software, the result is the same as if the author of proprietary
software isn’t found.

With free software, there are typically multiple authors. Probably
largely thanks to Eric S. Raymond’s “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”
opening peoples’ eyes a bit more, the majority of free software
development is “open”. By having an open development model, the barrier
to contribution is lowered, and there are more easily many authors for a
single piece of software.

A “diligent search” would surely include attempting to contact all of
the copyright owners (although I’m not holding my breath). This
naturally makes it harder to orphan a free software work than a
proprietary work often authored by a single person or, more likely,

So, the idea of orphan works is effectively a weakening of copyright for
all (as Stallman suggests in the article, the US orphan works bill
reduces copyright power, but not enough), and this is generally a good

¹The level of diligence hasn’t been defined yet AFAIK.

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a
simple system that works.—John Gall

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