Skip to content

Why not require sharing-alike / copyleft?

The free software movement came up with a clever idea to utilise copyright to preserve the freedom to copy a work rather than to restrict it. So if anyone redistributes a work it must be under the same license as the original. If the original allows modifications, then any derivatives must also themselves allow modifications. If the original does not allow commercial use then any derivatives also must forbid commercial use.

This sounds like a clever way of forcing others to freely share as well. While it is clever, it is itself a restriction. A work cannot be truly considered "freely given" if it comes with conditions, including conditions on how it can be reshared.

ShareAlike and copyleft licenses are also confusing to those not familiar with them, and can lead to believers accidentally breaking the law, such as by not attributing or not including a reference to the original license. They also require attribution as otherwise the license cannot be passed down to derivatives.

Rather than utilising secular law to force people to freely give, we should entrust our works to God and pray that his Spirit will work in their hearts instead.