mfioretti: copyleft*

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  1. Oracle v. Google is the revenge of the normals, bringing a hammer down on the customs and practices that the nerds decided for themselves. After all, something can’t be copyrightable just because all the nerds agree it is; so why should something be unable to be copyrighted just because the nerds think it is?

    But Oracle v. Google does nothing to disabuse the nerd of the conviction that they are right, and that the copyright law forged by the normals is an unrigorous wishy-washy piece of nonsense. Because in this case, the law really is completely out of touch with what the technology actually is, with reality itself. Just look at the Federal Circuit opinion that ruled that APIs are copyrightable, where they say, “Google was free to develop its own API packages and to ‘lobby’ programmers to adopt them.” A federal appeals court actually proposed that in some alternate universe, Android launched and told developers to write apps in a language they’d never encountered before.
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  2. Per ampliare il digital lending, o prestito digitale, a tutto l’SBN sono necessari soldi e in Italia ci sono sempre pochi denari per la cultura, soprattutto per quegli aspetti della cultura che non producono immediatamente business.

    I nostri politici hanno iniziato a comprendere l’importanza del patrimonio artistico nazionale e, con grande ritardo, hanno cominciato a investire, in musei e siti archeologici che danno un ritorno immediato; ma chi ci governa non ha ancora ben capito l’investimento a lungo termine, quale è, ad esempio, quello nelle Biblioteche.

    Infatti SBN richiede un investimento a lungo termine che non dà nemmeno rientri economici quantificabili, almeno secondo i parametri di chi ci governa; semplicemente contribuisce a formare cittadini migliori dando loro l’opportunità di leggere e conoscere. Ma Roberto Ventura nel suo libro La biblioteca rende sostiene che 1 euro investito in biblioteca fa risparmiare dai 4 ai 7 euro allo Stato. Ne consigliamo la lettura ai nostri politici.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2014-07-10)
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  3. Existing copyleft licenses include conditions that would not exist (unless otherwise implemented) if copyright were abolished. In other words, copyleft does not merely neutralize copyright. But I occasionally1 see claims that copyleft merely neutralizes copyright.

    A copyleft license which only neutralized copyright would remove all copyright restrictions on only one condition: that works building upon a copyleft licensed work (usually as “adaptations” or “derivative works”, though other scopes are possible) be released under terms granting the same freedoms. Existing copyleft licenses have additional conditions. Here is a summary of some of those added by the most important (and some not so important) copyleft licenses:
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  4. data, not software, is the heart of today's most successful "software" companies. Peddling bits is yesterday's business model.

    But what about innovation? If developers choose to put their code into the public domain, won't innovation stagnate?

    Please. That's another tired argument from the 20th Century. TechDirt highlights research showing that extending copyrights increases prices and limits dissemination of knowledge, while also pointing out that people who believe patents cause innovation are simply confusing correlation with causation. If anything, patents inhibit innovation.

    This may be one reason that the US and UK, both super strong on intellectual property protection, come in dead last in IT innovation, according to a new report from CA Technologies.

    None of which means that developers or companies need rip off their clothes and mosh to hippie anthems, all while collectively shaking their fists at The Man. It just means that we should start considering public domain as a more efficient way to share code and boost innovation. To the extent that companies feel the need to hold code back under proprietary licenses as a way to encourage customers to pay, fine. But real innovation should happen in the open, and the most open way to do this is the public domain.
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  5. By rights, copyright really shouldn't apply to binary executables, because they are purely "functional" (not "expressive") works. The decision to extend copyright to binaries was an economically-motivated anomaly, and that choice has some counter-intuitive and detrimental side-effects. What would things in the free software world look like if the courts had decided otherwise? For one thing, the implementation of copyleft would have to be completely different.

    Hypothetical? Academic? Not if you're a hardware developer! Because this is exactly what the law _does_ look like for designs for physical hardware (where the product is not protected by copyright).
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