Copyleft Vs Copyright – 5 Important Concepts You Must Know

Copyleft Vs Copyright – 5 Important Concepts You Must Know

Copyleft and Copyright sounds like words and opposite right? There is more to copyleft License and copyright that you need to know. When you want to use a work, you have to understand the type of License that is associated with it. This will help you know what you can do and what you cannot do with the work.

Copyright infringement is one of the biggest problems you can get yourself into right now. You can save yourself from this problem by having a proper understanding of copyright.

In this article, we are going to look into Copyleft vs Copyright and understand some basic concepts about the two. When you are done reading this article, your mindset about copyright and copyleft will definitely change. You will see how copyright License differs from copyleft License.

5 Important Concepts To Know About Copyright and Copyleft

Believe me if I say there will be nothing like copyleft if there is no copyright. The later gave birth to the former. Most people are not really familiar with copyleft. I even came across it lately and decided to go into it to find out about the concepts. Those concepts are what we are going to see in this article.

1. Definitions Are Not The Same

Obviously, copyright and copyleft are not the same from the definition.

Copyright is simply the all the right you have over a work by virtue of authorship. This right protects you as the author of the work from unauthorized copying or selling of your work. Work here can be text, image,audio, video or software.

Copyleft in the other hand is a concept by which a work is made open to third parties with some rights, like copying, making changes etc and any derivative that came out of such work will also be subject to similar (Copyleft) terms and conditions.  It is similar to Share Alike in Creative Commons License.

In a nutshell, Copyleft encourages innovation while copyright doesn’t. Let say there is this software that has a copyleft type of License, a person can download it and add more value to and still share the work.

2. Copyleft Is Not The Same As Creative Commons

Creative Commons License and copyleft License look alike but they are not the same.
Creative Commons licenses are applied by the copyright owner to their own works. These are the most prominently used licenses of their type in the world. There are four components to the licenses that are arranged in six configurations and is only one out of the six that look like copyleft.

Majority of people make use of content that are Licensed under Creative Commons but minority do when it comes to copyleft. I will tell you why is like that in the next heading.

3. Copyleft Is Prone To Software

I told you that majority make use of Creative Commons but not all make use of copyleft because it is associated with software and not everybody is a developer.

GNU Free License is an example of copyleft which gives everyone the rights to use, modify, and redistribute a code, but only if those distribution terms remain unchanged. This ensures that the source code and the freedoms are legally inseparable.

4. The Icon for Copyright and Copyleft are Not the same

If you are observant enough, you will notice that copyright has a different icon. It is also important to mention that copyleft icon is different from Creative Commons icon
Take a look at the the icons below:

Copyright Symbol

Copyright Symbol


Copyleft Symbol

Copyleft Symbol

5. Examples Of Copyleft Licenses

Below are some examples of copyleft Licenses:

  • GNU General Public License v3 (GPL-3) (365900)
    Code License managed by kevin
  • GNU Lesser General Public License v3 (LGPL-3.0) (187078) Code License managed by kevin
  • GNU General Public License v2.0 (GPL-2.0) (169541)Code License managed by kevin
  • GNU Affero General Public License v3 (AGPL-3.0) (155556) Code License managed by kevin
  • Mozilla Public License 2.0 (MPL-2.0) (111337) Code License managed by kevin
  • Eclipse Public License 1.0 (EPL-1.0) (44870) Code License managed by kevin
  • Open Software Licence 3.0 (17858) Code License managed by rescueAnn
  • Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL) (15521) Code License managed by kevin
  • ODC Open Database License (ODbL) (8078) Code License managed by haroldship
  • Reciprocal Public License 1.5 (RPL-1.5) (7908) Code License managed by Henry
  • Peer Production License (7138) Code License managed by jarradhope
  • Nethack General Public License (NGPL) (5125) Code License managed by Henry
  • RealNetworks Public Source License v1.0 (RPSL-1.0) (4981) Code License managed by Henry
  • GNU LESSER GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE (4885) Code License managed by Ruel
  • OCLC Research Public License 2.0 (OCLC-2.0) (4812) Code License managed by Henry
  • Mechanical (4665) Code License managed by Mdavis1297

If you want to know more about the examples, click here

Wrapping Up

Copyright is gives you the right to do anything you want on your work whereas copyleft existed because of copyright to give third party users easier way to use,copy, modify and distribute a work as long as they are willing to follow the rules. Creative Commons License on the other hand may look familiar to copyleft but they are not the same. Creative Commons is for works like texts, images, audio and videos whereas copyleft if for software.
I hope you find this article helpful, if so please consider sharing it with your friends.
If you have any question related to copyleft, copyright or Creative Commons, the comment section is open for that.

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