Definition of copyleft in English:



mass noun
  • An arrangement whereby software or artistic work may be used, modified, and distributed freely on condition that anything derived from it is bound by the same conditions.

    • ‘I think it's also worth mentioning the somewhat blind crusade for copyleft that Cory is on, where anything that remotely smacks of Big Corporate Copyright is slapped down.’
    • ‘A copyleft is a copyright notice on a piece of software that permits unrestricted redistribution and modification, provided that all copies and derivatives retain the same permissions.’
    • ‘We should have said copyleft free software, not shareware.’
    • ‘Opsound is a record label using an open source, copyleft model, an experiment in practical gift economics, a laboratory for new ways of releasing music.’
    • ‘An experiment created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, OpenAudio is designed to promote sharing and collaboration among musicians and listeners by getting artists to copyleft their work.’
    • ‘In this sort of case, the question doesn't arise, because the use of short quoted citations in dictionaries has always been covered by the ‘fair use’ exception to copyright; this should apply to copyleft as well.’
    • ‘Furthermore, it calls for a wider use of novel institutional remedies such as copyleft and Creative Commons licensing, built upon the paradigm of copyright customisation.’
    • ‘Whereas copyleft codified the social and legal norms of open sharing, the Internet provided a ubiquitous technology infrastructure that made it easy for programmers to communicate and share their code.’
    • ‘This strategy is essentially the route taken by the Free Software Foundation and copyleft.’
    • ‘The open source movement with Linux, Apache, GNU, and so forth said no, the way you really get creativity is by replacing copyright with what they call copyleft and hence replacing private property rights with a vibrant public domain.’
    • ‘Although it is the most well known, Linux is not the only open-source software available, nor is GPL the only copyleft license.’
    • ‘Thanks to copyleft, anyone can create their own free news source - even a non-neutral one - on the basis of our work.’
    • ‘Innumerable questions surround the distribution of technical information in the copyleft environment, particularly because the Free Software Foundation has a copyleft license for its documentation as well.’
    • ‘The GNU software license for example, and the copyleft license, are similar to the Creative Commons license.’
    • ‘Draft 2 was an improvement on the first draft but still appeared to copyleft all free software.’
    • ‘One reason for doing so is that by releasing it under a copyleft, we can print the recipe for OpenCola without violating its copyleft.’
    • ‘Applying the three-paragraph copyleft statement to tens of thousands of files was no easy feat, but we managed to automate it.’
    • ‘Software released under the GPL (also known as a ‘copyleft’) can be copied, modified and distributed by anyone, as long as they, too, release it under a copyleft.’
    • ‘It's called copyleft, not copyright, and presumably the originators of this concept thought it was a great way to promote freedom of information.’
    • ‘But they know a hell of a lot about copyright, so although the GPL is to most of them of little interest, they immediately grasp copyleft.’


1980s: after copyright.