This is where it would be nice to have a middle ground between copyright and public domain. Guess what? You can already do this. Copyrights allows you to dictate what rights you give a person. You do this by creating a license for your work. The interesting thing is that unless a person has a license to use a copyrighted work, they are not allowed to distribute that work. The creators of copyrighted materials give permission to people by licensing their work to them. Open source licenses work the same as other licenses, but are granted to anybody who wants to agree to the terms of the license. In fact, because copyrights forbid anybody from using the work without the owner's permission, unless the distributor of the copyrighted material agrees to the license being offered to them by the copyright holder, they can not distribute the material.
One of the simplest of the various open source licenses is the BSD license. BSD stands for Berkeley Software Distribution and was named after the Unix variation that the Berkeley University released. The simplicity of the license helped to make it a fairly popular license among open source developers due to the fact that it is a very short license that gets right to the point.
All rights reserved.
Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:
* Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
* Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
* Neither the name of the
THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY
Even non-lawyers should have no trouble understanding what that means. The license lets anybody distribute or change the software as long as the source code or documentation contains the license, which means that credit will be retained if the source code is distributed with the software.