What is Copyleft?

Copyleft (a play on the word copyright) is the practice of offering people the right to freely distribute copies and modified versions of a work with the stipulation that the same rights be preserved in derivative works down the line.

Copyleft is a form of licensing, and can be used to maintain copyright conditions for works ranging from computer software, to documents, to art. In general, copyright law is used by an author to prohibit recipients from reproducing, adapting, or distributing copies of their work. In contrast, under copyleft, an author may give every person who receives a copy of the work permission to reproduce, adapt, or distribute it, with the accompanying requirement that any resulting copies or adaptations are also bound by the same licensing agreement.

The above information was taken from Wikipedia on 9/5/2016.

Is Copying Always Theft?

In my opinion no, I don’t believe that copying is always theft. I believe that there’s a fine line between the two arguments and it can get quite murky trying to argue which is right and which is wrong. To argue my point, lets first take a look at the definition of theft, I googled theft and I found this definition from



1. The act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny.

2. An instance of this.

3. Archaic. something stolen.
Nowhere does it say anything about ‘copying’ is stealing, however, it is one of those invisible questions that is there and is strongly argued around the world.
Answer this for me please, if I come across an unlocked car, jump in and take the owner’s brand new Dirty Dog sunglasses, is that theft? That sure is, and there’s no arguing it. But how about this instead, if I came across an unlocked car, jumped in and scanned a copy of the owner’s brand new glasses with a 3D scanner and printed myself a copy of those glasses, is that still theft? Pretty hard to call but in my opinion the answer is no, the reason being is that the owner still has their glasses and even the dictionary I used as an example above will agree with me!

Who is Larry Lessig and what part has he played in the copyright/copyleft debate?

Larry Lessig was the legal brains behind Creative Commons, along with the well-known individual Aaron Swartz who was the mastermind behind all the coding. Creative Commons is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. More can be found about Creative Commons at their website

These two people helped change the way most creative industries and people, act when making and releasing their work to the public. Because of them, and ultimately Creative Commons, we are able to share are stuff freely and have anyone use it at their will, within reason.


Like I said above, it’s a really fine line between copying and stealing another’s work. However, like people such as Larry Lessig, Aaron Swartz and even Michael Moore, I believe in sharing as long as the person who copies your work or ideas isn’t making money from it. It’s a great way to get your name, product or ideas out to the people in the world.










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