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The Gnu Public License and Its Role

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The GNU Public License and its Role
What is the GNU Public License? The GNU is a public license covering and giving the designer the permission and freedom to distribute freeware. Freeware in this case means giving the general public the freedom to change and/or distribute copies of software, not necessarily software which has no price. With the GNU license you are guaranteed the freedom to make changes as you see fit, whereas other software licenses are restrictive and written in a way which prevents the user from making any form of changes or distributing the software how they see fit.
In order to protect the rights of the users, the GNU public license has but one restriction. You cannot forbid anyone, whether making your version of the software available at no price or a fee, to deny the rights or ask anyone to surrender the rights to the software. The downloaded must be able to distribute or make copies of your software just as you had the same rights. You must make sure they are able to get to the source code and these terms must be shown in order to make them aware of these rights to it.
The GNU public license protects your rights with two steps: “(1) copyright the software, and (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software.” ("Gnu general public," 1989)
Each author is also protected by not providing a warranty for the free software. This way, if the software is modified by someone else and passed on, it is made known that what they have downloaded is not the original file. Therefore, if any problems occur, it will not reflect poorly on the original author.
Free programs are consistently under the threat of software patents. When redistributors of a free program obtain patent licenses, they make the program proprietary. The GNU public license makes it clear “that any patent must be licensed for everyone’s free use or not licensed at all.” ("Gnu general public," 1989)
The GNU license only applies to modified work as a whole. If there are identifiable sections which are not derived from the original program and can be considered independent of themselves, then the GNU license and any terms and conditions would not apply to these parts when they are submitted as separate works.
In conclusion, the purpose of the GNU Public License is to promote freeware, and allow users to make modifications and changes as they see fit to software without fear of prosecution, as well as protect the original developer’s rights should the program be changed and errors are found.

References
Gnu general public license. (1989). Retrieved from http://wordpress.org/about/gpl/

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