No, this is not a liberal
vs. conservative thing, although you might be tempted to think so when considering the terms of each. A
copyright, as you know, is legal protection against
unauthorized usage or obvious modification of original works, something a right-winger would like because it represents
a right to private property. A copyleft, on the other
hand, is a left-winger's dream because it permits free distribution of original works with the only restriction being that
it and/or derivative works also be declared copyleft material. That explains why evil capitalist companies like IBM copyright
and patent everything it creates, and why liberal-dominated companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook allow everything
they create to be freely copied. Oh, wait, no they don't - that 'village' concept only applies to everyone else.
I have seen the copyleft logo in a few places when searching for freeware and shareware software and though maybe it
was just someone lampooning copyright protection, but upon further research I learn it is a very real form of protection
for original works. Here is the distinction, in a nutshell (per Wikipedia entries):
The concept of 'copyleft,'
while not explicitly called that, was first formerly encompassed in the spirit of the 1985
GNU Manifesto, where founder Richard Stallman
declared, "GNU is not in the public domain. Everyone will be permitted to modify and redistribute GNU, but no distributor
will be allowed to restrict its further redistribution. That is to say, proprietary modifications will not be allowed. I
want to make sure that all versions of GNU remain free." Note that copyleft does not place the works in the
public domain, which puts no restrictions on usage.
The suspected first public declaration of copyleft was by Tiny BASIC's creator Li-Chen Wang. Copyleft, as with copyright, is subject to
Now when you spot a backwards copyright symbol, you know it is for real. As with copyrighted material, copylefted material
is also subject to the "Fair Use Act."
Posted May 10, 2016