July 27, 2009, 5:57 am
Free Software Foundation (FSF) founder Richard Stallman published a statement last week expressing concern about the Swedish Pirate Party’s copyright reform platform. The party’s ambitious goals for copyright term reduction would blast holes in copyleft licensing, a serious blow to Stallman’s Free Software movement.
The GNU General Public License (GPL), a widely-used open source software license that was originally written by Stallman, exploits fundamental characteristics of copyright law in order to guarantee that the freedoms granted by the license are extended to derivative works. The underlying legal principles that facilitate copyleft cannot function without conventional copyright.