Free and Open Source Software Movements as Agents of an Alternative Use of Copyright Law

Free and Open Source Software Movements as Agents of an Alternative Use of Copyright Law

Pedro Pina (Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2495-3.ch010


Digital technology produced a move from a performative model to a player-as producer paradigm since it has potentiated user-generated transformative uses of intellectual works. In fact, sharing, sampling, remixing and creating new derivative content through digital network collaboration platforms are today pillars of the so-called “age of remix”. However, when unauthorized, such activities may constitute copyright infringement since the making available right and the right to make new derivative works are exclusive rights granted by copyright law. A restrictive exercise of exclusive rights may hinder the implementation of online platforms envisioned to facilitate access to knowledge and to potentiate the creation of new works. The present chapter analyzes the creation the importance of online communities of practice using free/open source software licenses like GNU GPL or Creative Commons Licenses as agents of an alternative and less rigid exercise of the powers granted by copyright law in favor of a freer system of creation and dissemination of creative works in the digital world.
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Without proper authorization from copyright holders, operations like sharing, making available to the public or remixing works may conflict with core powers granted by copyright law, namely the exclusive patrimonial rights to reproduce, to distribute or to communicate their works to the public or to authorize such usages by others. From the rightholders’ perspective, an unregulated internet allows a vast amount of digital creative content to escape from their de facto control. In the digital environment, copyrighted works may easily be downloaded, uploaded and disseminated throughout the internet without previous authorization and the payment of remuneration to rightholders, thus decreasing the incentive to create. For that reason, in the continuous task of adapting copyright laws to the digital environment, the European Commission, for instance, declared in the Green Paper on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy that

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