Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2013


copyleft-next: an introduction

Launched as a project in July 2012, copyleft-next is an effort to publicly develop a new, simple, easily-understandable and legally sound GPL-like license. copyleft-next began as a mere modification of GPLv3, but it quickly evolved into a text that is radically different from the GPL in structure and style.

This talk will discuss the substance of the current copyleft-next draft, the nature of the drafting process, and the larger issue of why such a project is worthwhile. I will describe the rationale for significant features of the copyleft-next license text, including its notable departures from GPLv2 and GPLv3. I will also explain how and why the project has adopted some of the standard methodology of public free software project development, including the use of a public git repository and a publicly-archived mailing list, a major change from earlier free software-related legal drafting efforts. The project is also noteworthy for its invention of the "Harvey Birdman Rule", which has two aims: to maximize transparency by discouraging undisclosed private negotiations over license drafting, and to limit the undue influence of interest groups far removed from the concerns of individual free software developers and users.



Richard Fontana