Practice of mandating free use in all derivatives of a work / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Copyleft is the legal technique of granting certain freedoms over copies of copyrighted works with the requirement that the same rights be preserved in derivative works. In this sense, freedoms refers to the use of the work for any purpose, and the ability to modify, copy, share, and redistribute the work, with or without a fee. Licenses which implement copyleft can be used to maintain copyright conditions for works ranging from computer software, to documents, art, scientific discoveries and even certain patents.
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Copyleft software licenses are considered protective or reciprocal in contrast with permissive free software licenses, and require that information necessary for reproducing and modifying the work must be made available to recipients of the software program, which are often distributed as binary executables. This information is most commonly in the form of source code files, which usually contain a copy of the license terms and acknowledge the authors of the code.
Notable copyleft licenses include the GNU General Public License (GPL), originally written by Richard Stallman, which was the first software copyleft license to see extensive use, the Mozilla Public License, the Free Art License, and the Creative Commons share-alike license condition, with the last two being intended for other types of works, such as documents and pictures, both academic or artistic in nature.