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Difference between Copyright and Copyleft in FOSS

  • Last Updated : 09 Feb, 2022

The grant of an exclusive right to make copies, license, use, or otherwise exploit an original work of art, or over the creation of an original design. For example, assume you bought a DVD of Star Wars – A New Hope, you can use this DVD according to specific rules as defined on the package like playing it at your home with your friends. 

You cannot do anything with it that is not allowed by the publisher like copying the DVD and give a copy to your friend. This is because the publisher has the copyright of the movie and will probably use you if they know you are copying the DVD. 

Copyleft is a general method for making a program free software and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free software as well. The simplest way to make a program free is to put it in the public domain, uncopyrighted. This allows people to share the program and their improvements if they are so minded. 

But it also allows uncooperative people to convert the program into proprietary software. They can make changes, many or few, and distribute the result as a proprietary product. People who receive the program in that modified form do not have the freedom that the original author gave them; the middleman has stripped it away. 

For example, Free-software licenses that use “weak” copyleft include the GNU Lesser General Public License and the Mozilla Public License. Examples of non-copyleft (“permissive”) free-software licenses include the X11 license, Apache license, and the BSD licenses. 

Difference between Copyright and Copyleft in FOSS: 

1.Copyright is the right that enable you to prevent unauthorized copying or selling of your work.Whereas Copyleft is a method using which you can modify the software or documentation and distribute it back to the open-source community.
2.In Copyright the work is original and not the copy of other.On the other hand Copyleft comes with an idea of collaboration.
3.Copyrights protects you original ideas from others access.While Copyleft allows you to make changes to other ideas and give them back.
4.Copyright is all about granting individual permission.Copyleft is all about user freedom.
5.You can apply Copyright protection both to work that you have published into the public domain and work that you have not published.While Copyleft allows users to distribute derivative works under a license that offers the same rights as the original work.
6.Examples of Copyright: Suppose you made a movie, now if anyone else wants to make its sequel, he has to buy copyright from you.Examples of Copyleft: Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a good practical example of copyleft. Which is a commercial operating system. Users are free to modify and redistribute the source code but they are not allowed to resell it.
7.It is denoted by ©It is denoted by mirror image of copyright symbol.


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