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GitHub - fommil/copywrong: list of free software that is now proprietary

Free / Libre Software Made Proprietary by its Copyright Holders

What?

This is a list of software that was free / libre software and is now proprietary.

When free / libre software becomes proprietary it means that you, as a user of the software, no longer have all four essential freedoms to:

  1. run the program as you wish, for any purpose.
  2. study how the program works, and change it.
  3. redistribute copies.
  4. distribute copies of your modified versions to others.

Additionally, if you are a user of free / libre software that has become proprietary, you are now in a supplier lock-in and may be facing further usage restrictions, the risk of viruses / spyware, as well as large fees to your supplier.

How?

There are two legal ways that free / libre software can become proprietary:

  1. the copyright holders release a new version of the software using a license that is not a free / libre software license.
  2. the original software license wasnt copyleft, and some entity later distributes a modified version of the software under a proprietary license.

This list is concerned with the first case.

How can I help?

Luckily, there are several ways that you can help.

  1. Do not assign copyright of your free / libre software contributions to a third party until you have read the FSF guide to assigning copyright and are comfortable with the situation.
  2. When you come across another case of free / libre software that has become proprietary, send an email to sam.halliday@gmail.com to get the item added to this list. Also, inform your community of the danger they are facing if they continue to use the software.
  3. Create a fork of the software from the last point at which it was free / libre software. Make all your changes using a copyleft license, so that your changes can not be used in a proprietary distribution. Trust that developers will prefer your fork, even if the proprietary version may have more features in the short term.

The List

Continue reading on github.com