What Copyright is left in Copyleft?

Posted by: Daniela Madrid

Copyleft_image    An author of an original expression of work is granted many rights in his or her work through the federal Copyright Act of 1976. The author is granted many exclusive rights such as the right to sell, distribute, display, and perform. The author also controls any derivative work. The author is automatically granted these rights when the author puts the work in a fixed medium. Everyone, other than the author, is restricted from using the work without first obtaining permission from the author. But what happens when the author wants to make the work available to anyone and everyone? This issue arouse in the computer software industry and the free software movement was initiated in 1983 as a result. Continue reading

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Do users own or license software?

Posted by: Taylor Durbin

DVDThe software industry would undoubtedly lead you to believe that you have merely licensed a single copy of their software product. This conclusion may not be reality, it is possibly a legal fiction created by the software industry. This seemingly subtle distinction between whether you are an owner or mere licensee of software can have significant ramifications. The most significant of these ramifications and the focus of this blog revolves around the first-sale doctrine.  This doctrine enables the owner of a copyrighted product to re-sell the product if they wish. The software industry for obvious business reasons wants to restrict the re-sale market of their software. To do this they claim to not sell their products, but instead they claim to lease a copy of the software to users who are then bound by the license agreement which will include a provision prohibiting the re-sale of the software. The first sale doctrine does not apply to licenses. Continue reading