The fog of copyleft

Aaron Krowne, Raymond Puzio


In this paper we question the notion of using copyleft, in its current form, as the principle contractual framework of free culture. We argue that there are many flaws in the copyleft concept and its execution which are beginning to immerse free culture activity in a “fog” of risk and uncertainty. The main feature of copyleft which is causing problems is its “license lock” aspect, while the main problem with the execution of copyleft is the exercise of too much control by license authors. We give examples from our own experiences with PlanetMath, as well as the free culture community in general, to illustrate. Finally, we provide a wide array of solutions to the problem, ranging from immediately usable legalistic ones to long–term societal transformations.

Full Text:



A Great Cities Initiative of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.

© First Monday, 1995-2019. ISSN 1396-0466.