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Copyleft (also share-alike) is a concept of sharing something on the condition that others will share it under the same terms; this is practically always used by a subset of free (as in freedom) software and culture to legally ensure this software/art and its modifications will always remain free. This kind of hacks copyright to de-facto remove copyright by its own power.

Copyleft has been by its mechanisms likened to a virus because once it is applied to certain software, it "infects" it and will force its conditions on any descendants of that software, i.e. it will spread itself (in this case the word virus does not bear a negative connotation, at least to some, they see it as a good virus).

For free/open-source software the alternative to copyleft is so called permissive licensing which (same as with copyleft) grants all the necessary freedom rights, but does NOT require modified versions to grant these rights as well. This allows free software being forked and developed into proprietary software and is what copyleft proponents criticize. However, both copyleft and permissive licensing are free as in freedom.

In the FOSS world there is a huge battle between the copyleft camp and permissive camp (LRS advocates permissive licenses with a preference for 100% public domain).

Issues With Copyleft

In the great debate of copyleft vs permissive free licenses we, as technological anarchists, stand on the permissive side. Here are some reasons for why we reject copyleft:

All content available under CC0 1.0 (public domain). Send comments and corrections to drummyfish at disroot dot org.