MIT for Noncommercial is Broken

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There is no way to enforce such contracts.

What do you mean? There’s no way to enforce licenses that require payment? Sure there are - the courts.

In more than 2 decades, Copyright hasn’t proven to be effective in making OSS sustainable at all.

How could a legal court know if a company like AWS makes unauthorized use of a copyleft licensed software? (citing DocumentDB rip-off clone of MongoDB)

Even the MPAA ex chairman, Dan Glickman, has admited in an interview that copyright laws cannot be enforced effectively in this era of digital communications, as he said “piracy will never be stopped” but stating that “MPAA will try to make it as difficult and tedious as possible”.

It has shown that IP legal framework only serves to big corporations with huge legal resources for helping them stopping competitors from innovating. Very often, copyright holders just take advantage of the ambiguos contractual terms and extensively abuse of the overreaching capability of the law without recognizing any fair use, just for looking rent-seeking opportunities in lawsuits.

You couldn’t sustain an innovative free market based on litigant power and legal coaction, and that was the main reason why the Free Open Source Movement appeared within the computing industry, in response to draconian legal contracts that constrained the labor from engineers like Stallman. The fact is that developers always look for collaboration with their peers when solving technological problems by sharing information.

Sharing information and imitating others is a very natural trait from human behavior, that aspect did help us in prehistoric times to survive and evolve as intelligent species. Monopolizing knowledge and restricting the act of copying goes against the natural spontaneous order of human development, as it is vital in learning processes and helps us nurture relationships by communicating ideas.

So, we should look for alternative ways of monetizing knowledge production (and FOSS as well) that don’t depend on taxing the consumption of digital content related to intellectual works.

I don’t think that “copyright makes OSS sustainable” is what either James Turner’s post or Kyle was saying. James had a classic take on the issue; Kyle was pointing out that MIT doesn’t work if you’re putting restrictions on who is using it.

I’m all for finding alternative ways to fund knowledge production, though.

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I think there may be a confusion regarding the purpose of copyleft licenses when I read:


They were never designed to sustain Free Software financially or to be the cornerstone of a free market. They are an instrument for copyright holders to share their work with those who also agree to share in the same way. It has a strong legal basis and was successfully enforced in court.