Software Licenses and Copyright

Matt McCutchen, an IOI gold medalist from the USA, releases most of his works into the Public Domain. I was intrigued by this fact, and asked him for his reasons. An insightful conversation followed. If you want to broaden your knowledge about copyright, licenses and the reasons / decisions behind them, you may find our discussion interesting.

3 Responses to Software Licenses and Copyright

  1. Alex says:

    That’s an interesting discussion. In the long run, he seems to be right, because the world as a whole, individuals and companies, will be more successful if each individual/company is cooperative.

    In other words, everyone is happy [maximum benefit] if everyone cooperates; otherwise, if some are cooperative and some are not – only a subset of the population is happy, and actions will be taken against that.

    Those who abuse the kindness of cooperative individuals will be “punished” (other people will avoid dealing with them in the future).

    This is a very generalized summary of a documentary called “Nice guys finish first”, by Richard Dawkins. It is a great movie, and I believe he also has a book about it, though I’m not sure. Note: you can check out our local torrent tracker, I’ve uploaded the movie there, and it is still being seeded. I insist you watch it (-:

    Other ideas:
    – I’d like to ask him “why not a BSD license?”; it is very permissive.
    – Another point is that ones views about licensing depend on one’s life experience. If it never happened to you that someone literally pwned you intellectually, you might not feel a threat at all. In contrast, people who’ve been there, they tend to be more defensive.

  2. Constantin says:

    Why not BSD (what I suspect his point of view would be):
    1) because he can prove his authorship just as easily with public domain.
    2) because it introduces needless hassles for distributors etc.

    Let me check out that movie…

  3. Alex says:

    There are several flavours of the BSD license, of which one prohibits references to the original author.

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