Software and Internet Licences Presentation at English for Science at Tallinn University of Technology

A practice presentation took place today on Friday evening. It was bloody awful. Nevertheless, I received necessary points and this part of the course is clear now. The subject of the presentation was Software and Internet Licences. The purpose was to give an informal introduction to the subject of licences. I took only a few moments.

The definition of a licence is a meaning to give certain official permission, allow or deny something according to its described conditions. The purpose of a licence is authorized usage. When a licence is present, its subject is known exactly what it is bounded to and how it can be used further.

I began by dividing a picture of software and internet licences into two flavors:

  1. Licences for software (or source code). It usually can be found when some software is downloaded and just started to use. Usually it is a standalone software or a software connected with other software facilities. The representative Licence is GNU General Public License (GPL).
  2. Licences for internet facilities (or websites). Such a licence is typically encountered when certain websites are visited. These licences usually are applied to the content of a website. It can be some images, videos, audio, texts and so on. The representative Licences are Creative Commons (CC) licenses.

When some man has Intellectual property, he needs to regulate its usage. The most important is that this man must not violate others property in his claimed intellectual property. As long as others property is respected, this man chooses a licence that suits his needs. That was the general picture for types of licences and reasons for.

Then I looked at accordance to a licence. I supposed that some intellectual property is owned. It can be foreign property what man didn’t make or the property is made by man himself.

  • If man uses foreign property, so its terms of a licence regulate his usage and they are obeyed by him.
  • If man uses own property, he has his rights reserved. Typically, the signature like “All rights reserved” means rights by default, if there is no agreement the other way.

Consequently, this property is used and further distributed by people. As a result, owner needs to regulate its relationship with an audience. Foreign property may restrict its further use. Own property is available under principles an owner wants. He can put an arbitrary statement that reserves his rights, but also he can choose a ready-made licence to represent his property.

Finally, I turned to common traits of licences. There were four traits I considered to mention.

  • A licence can assume that its subject is a free software. Hence, it gives certain benefits for free to use, study, modify, copy and redistribute.
  • A licence can have some full or partial copyleft. Perhaps, a licence grants that exactly the same freedom must be granted in any derived work. This is full copyleft. A licence may also exempt some freedom as opposite to full copyleft. In this case it permits distribution of any derived work under freedom other than it was before.
  • A licence can be approved, recognized or released by related organizations. For example, if it is known that a licence is recognized by Open Source Initiative (OSI) or Free Software Foundation (FSF), we are certain about attributes the licence has.
  • A licence may be compatible with other Licence for combination, further modification or distribution. If there is a contradiction then their properties cannot be combined for further usage.

That completed my brief overview of software and internet licences presentation. Thank you for your attention.



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