GNU General Public License
September 23, 2012
Most inventions have copyrights to protect its creator. Nobody wants their unique ideas taken from them, and worse, stripped of any acknowledgment and/or royalties that may result. As many know, copyrights protect these dreams and the creators who worked hard to make them a reality. Generally, “copyright” means “the right to copy”; however, it also gives the copyright holder many other rights. In addition to accreditation for the work, the copyright holder can determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may perform the work, and who may financially benefit from it. It is a form of intellectual property (like the patent, the trademark, and the trade secret) applicable to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantive and discrete (copyright.gov, 2012).
A GNU General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works (gnu.org, 2007). The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed to take away the freedom to share and change the works. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee the creator’s freedom to share and change all versions of a program. This ensures that it remains free software for all its users. Many companies use the GNU General Public License for most of its software; it applies also to any other work released this way by its authors. It can be applied to any program.
When free software is spoken of, references are made to freedom, not price. The General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that creators have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if they wish), that they receive source code or can get it when needed, can change the software at any time or use pieces of it in new free programs, and the knowledge of...