Careful, contracts and copyright can cause chaos
In this week’s lecture, we discussed what copyright really is, and what we will need to know in the future if and when we are involved in a contract. Something I found interesting in the conversation was how copyright laws are not all universal, some laws are different between countries, and even differ between the States of America.
How does this thing work?
Some points that were brought up in class were points that I had never thought of, where in different situations, different people may own what you solely created. I understand that if I use code from another creator, that I must ask them if I can implement it into my scripts, but if I ask someone for help with a problem I am having, does the answer belong to the answerer? I would think that it is not copyrighted material, everyone who came across this answer could freely use it. On the other hand, is any code copyrighted?
Obfuscation? Encryption? Eww…
People who do not want their code to be used or distributed for implementation in other projects will usually obfuscate their code and/or encrypt it, so that it can neither be manipulated nor read (therefore be reused).
Free the code!
I have always allowed my code to be reused by anyone who comes across it, all I ask is for my name to be mentioned if the code is being used for a profit. I do not care about being thanked if it is for educational use or for self-usage.
GNU Operating System – http://bit.do/GNUOS
Luckily, for programmers and software developers, it looks like there is a solution, Copyleft!
“Copyleft is a general method for making a program (or other work) free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well.” (GNU, 2015)
With Copyleft, the programmer can now make software available for free and let people modify it and release it under the terms that it stays free as the modified version is distributed. This also applies to blocks of code rather than whole programs, which is where my problem came in.
Copyleft – http://bit.do/copyleft
Yes, a solution!
I am able to use copylefted code as long as the sections I use contribute to a program which I shall also distribute for free, so other developers and programmers may use the code that was initially copied. I will be making all my scripts copylefted in the future, I fully support the FSF (Free Software Foundation) which sponsors the GNU Operating System. Their work is creating a more open and welcoming future in software development and free code distribution. I knew about GNU but not about the FSF before this blog post and now that I know about their cause, I am looking forward to helping out the development community in the future.
GNU Operating System, The. (Last Updated 2015). What is Copyleft. Retrieved October 16, 2015 from http://www.gnu.org/licenses/copyleft.en.html
This is Daniel Jochem, signing out.