Linked by M.Onty on Mon 3rd Feb 2014 19:33 UTC

A few days ago I inadvertently caused a bit of a fuss. In writing about GOG's Time Machine sale, I expressed my two minds about the joy of older games being rescued from obscurity, and my desire that they be in the public domain. This led to some really superb discussion about the subject in the comments below, and indeed to a major developer on Twitter to call for me to be fired.

I wanted to expand on my thoughts.

Fascinating article on Rock Paper Shotgun from John Walker on why he thinks software copyright (and possibly other kinds too) should come with a much shorter shelf life. Although ostensibly about videogames, much of it could be said to apply to recent events in mobile OS development too.

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RE: an historical perspective
by boudewijn on Tue 4th Feb 2014 16:56 UTC in reply to "an historical perspective"
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"Copyright for non-technical book publications, films and software should be no longer than 10 years. Copyright and all source code should automatically become public domain after that period"

Well, I don't disagree -- but this is an interesting bit, because my project, Krita, is now over ten years old. And if we agree on 10 years (or 12 years, for historical reason's sake) is a good copyright term, how do you apply that to something that gets continually updated? A project like Krita basically never is finished.

There are still lines of code in the krita source repository that haven't been changed since 2002. And there are new lines added every day. Do we calculate copyright for the thing as a whole, ab initio, or for the thing as a whole from when it gets discarded, or per file, or per line?

And given that Krita is copyleft, is moving the source to public domain necessarily a good thing? I'd be tempted to say it isn't, but then, I am feeling a bit hypocritical because I also feel that a book shouldn't be copyright for a long period.

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