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Copyright law

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Copyright law were introduced when the printing press became popular.

Before that copying a book was tedious labor intensive work. The printing press changed that and made it easy, quick and cheap to copy books.

Copyright covers the distribution of a copyrighted work. It does NOT cover the use/usage of the copyrighted work.

There is a common misconception that copyright law dictate the usage of copyright work, but this is not true, it only covers the distribution.

People confuse EULA (end-user license agreement) with copyright licenses.

Often when you install a software, you see an EULA which bounds you through a click-wrap or shrink-wrap contract. I.e you have to select "I agree" to install a software.

Microsoft and many proprietary software vendors use EULAs which beside the restrictions imposed by copyright (on distribution), imposes additional restrictions (on the usage).

With a software covered by a EULA, in order to install it and use it, you must agree to the additional restrictions set by the EULA.

The GNU General Public License (GPL) for example is a copyright software license. It only covers the distribution of the software and does not cover usage. This means that you do not have to agree to the GPL in order to use a software covered by the GPL. You only have to agree to it, if you distribute the software.

Software that come under the terms of EULA are bad because they go beyond the scope of copyright by imposing additional restrictions (on usage).

I believe the initial copyright term were 14 years. This is the time before the copyright of a work expires. This was created to give an incentive for authors to create works.

But it have been continuously extended several times due to lobbyists and bribes (we don't call them bribes, we refer to them as financial incentive) by Big Media companies such as Disney.

To 25 years, 50 years, 75 years, 95 years, 120 years, etc...

Disney really didn't want the copyright to expire for Mickey Mouse and him to be put into the public domain.

There is no incentive for an author to create works when hes dead.

I hope this post cleared up some confusion and misconceptions and educated users.

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Though doesn't GPL go further than allowing one to explore the software, in as much as you can explore it and then re-distribute it, something which you're saying you can't do under copyright, though you're saying GPL is an example is a copyright software license

The GPL is a copyright license. Software distributed under the terms of the GPL are copyrighted.

The GPL is a copyright license with a twist.

Copyright has been mostly used to restrict redistribution, but the GPL uses copyright law to ensure the right to free distribution.

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