John Sullivan - "The business case for copyleft" (LFNW, Bellingham, WA)
Apr 28, 2018
from 01:00 PM to 01:45 PM
FSF executive director John Sullivan will be giving his speech “The business case for copyleft” at LFNW (2018-04-28–29):
Copyleft is the fuel that launched the current free software boom. Previously, licenses that required sharing of derivative works were the default choice among businesses. However, today there is chatter that companies are afraid of copyleft, with some refusing to even look at copyleft code. Copyleft and business aren't at odds, and choosing these licenses can be beneficial to your work.
The GNU General Public License (GPL) protects the commercial use of software and code: the opportunity to profit from technology is inherent in the idea behind user freedom. Not only are copyleft licenses freedom respecting, they have monetary benefits including:
- you benefit from someone else fixing bugs and building off of your code;
- copyleft licenses prevent the "freeriding" we see in more lax permissive licenses;
- cooperation and community between users, enabled by copyleft, creates greater buy-in from users; and
- protection against costly patent infringement claims.
While some folks like to go on about how choosing a copyleft license seems complicated (especially concerning business use), this is short-sighted -- copyleft licenses are actually far simpler in the long term. There are also a number of organizations, including the Free Software Foundation, available to help concerning licensing questions and best practices.
While focused on a high level argument, this session will also include case studies of successful business use, and a few tips to making the switch to copyleft.
This session is for people looking to understand the role of copyleft in business, those freeing their source code for the first time, and those trying to be more ethical in their choices as a business, without sacrificing the profitability for which they are accountable. Whether you want to explain to yourself or your boss about why copyleft is the right choice for your business, this is a great opportunity to learn about your options.
Location: CC-114, Bellingham Technical College, 3028 Lindbergh Ave., Bellingham, WA
We hope you can attend the speech, or meet John at the conference.
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