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A form of licensing that encourages the distribution of software at no charge for noncommercial uses.

[After copyright.]

cop′y·left′ed (-lĕf′tĭd) adj.


(Law) law a form of licensing that imposes fewer restrictions on the use of a work than copyright


A distribution agreement that allows everybody who receives a copy of the work in question to freely distribute or adapt it on the condition that they do not claim copyright on it for themselves.
References in periodicals archive ?
He also misrepresents copyleft licensing as a whole, giving authors the impression that they sign away their "intellectual property" rights to open source journals.
From public domain in copyright, the open access or copyleft licensing to the multiple and complex authorship resulting from online wiki creation and new forms of cohousing based on common spaces and property, all rely on the lack or limitation of exclusive rights and the accommodation of symmetric entitlements of other individuals.
There are other important characteristics of a chosen license to consider as well, for example, whether or not a patent commons surrounding the project is desirable, (115) or whether it is a priority to preserve all derivative works of the project as free software using the legal force of copyleft licensing.
GPLs are an example of "copyleft"--a licensing scheme which, says Wikipedia, can give every person who receives a copy of a work permission to reproduce, adapt or distribute it: as long as any resulting copies or adaptations are also bound by the same copyleft licensing program.
Licensing includes a need to develop stronger licensing traditions around dual licensing and other forms of asymmetric copyleft licensing.