On Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 7:40 PM, Richard Fontana
Does anyone think the idea of a limited-term copyleft --
given that copyleft-next is a software-oriented license -- is a
We're now a few years from the point where there could be 30-year-old
code under GPL-like licenses. I have found from $DAYJOB experience
that one occasionally has to deal with legal issues concerning
*really* old code (in a situation I dealt with today, from 1979;
admittedly that's unusual).
The idea would be to have the copyleft terms disappear after some
limited period far short of the statutory copyright term.
This is of course conceptually similar to the Creative Commons
'Founder's Copyright' idea and is related to general criticisms of
present-day copyright term duration.
If anyone thinks it's a good idea, what would be a good copyleft
duration? 15, 20, 25 years?
Please do not hesitate to shoot this down.
I've been slowly warming up to this idea for the last year, which I
attribute in part to becoming less annoyed at all the things wrong
with 'Founder's Copyright' (inducement of unbalanced ticks perhaps the
Some things referenced in
might be interesting.
Anyway, now I wholly support it, for roughly three reasons, the 2nd
being by far the most important for copyleft-next:
1) public copyright licenses have largely not borne any relation to
copyright reform proposals (the ones that mitigate copyright
restrictions anyway) other than the general sense that they mitigate
copyright restrictions (there's also the problem that public licenses
have largely not inspired copyright reform proposals, but I think
that's a different problem). I think there's a lot of space to explore
licenses that do reflect the usual reform proposals. Maybe much of
this space "should not" be explored, but see (3).
2) In part due to (1), inclusion of any limited term in copyleft-next
would be a genius marketing gambit. It would be cited in more law
review papers. If potential copyleft-next users are afraid that they
might lose the ability to do (or delegate) the work that is very hard
and boring and nobody but a few heroes wish to do (I listened to
today see) after some number of
years sometimes deemed reasonable or efficient or merely with ancient
historical precedent, ie a dangerous weakening of copyleft, make it an
absurdly long period, say 50 years. Which also serves to point out how
absurdly long life+70 or 95 years are.
3) The space of public licenses as art projects is under-explored
(though as someone reminded me last week, one might characterize the
early days of Creative Commons as trending that way, mostly unawares).