Unauthorized duplication, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as the real thing. – Statement found under the copyright notice of many Ani DiFranco albums.
Are recipes like songs? Maybe not. What are they like? ________________________________________________________________
Recently, a food-blogging friend sent me an email comparing recipes and computer code.
Her claim: Without open source code computer programmers would not be able to learn as much about writing code and about developing software. If we all refuse to allow others to share our recipes and/or build upon them our knowledge will not increase as much and recipes will not improve over time.
For the pursuit of good food (and of knowledge), it makes sense to tell the world about a dish we’ve made, even if the source of that dish is another person’s recipe.
But, is there a difference between recipes and open source code?
Yes: Open source software comes with a license stating that it may be used free of charge under certain circumstances and sometimes that it may be adapted and/or even distributed.
Cookbooks and magazines do not allow for free dissemination.
Does this seem fair to you? Why or why not?
If you answered no, consider the situation where the food-blogger is making money on their blog through advertising or promotions. Many pieces of open source software would not even be useable under this circumstance (the licenses often state “not for commercial use”). Do you think it matters whether the food-blogger is making money or is it irrelevant?
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