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This page describes the legal concept of Copyleft. OSGeo does not restrict projects to use the GNU GPL or any other license that implements a Copyleft effect. For more information on OSGeo's license policy please read the FAQ and Article 1 §2 of the bylaws.

Legal Definition

The term Copyleft does not have a binding legal meaning. It is a term that is used to describe a legal measure to protect software from becoming proprietary. Copyleft leverages the considerable legal powers that have been implemented in the concept of Copyright. Thus Copyleft is not the opposite of Copyright but just a legal implementation of it.

To copyleft a program, we first state that it is copyrighted; 
then we add distribution terms, which are a legal instrument 
that gives everyone the rights to use, modify, and redistribute 
the program's code or any program derived from it 
but only if the distribution terms are unchanged. 

Thus, the code and the freedoms become legally inseparable.