Leftcopy is a social domain licensing scheme for all kinds of work including: books, videos, movies, games, music, animation, art, photographs, plays, maps, blogs, apps, websites and software.

  • You can do pretty much what you want with work under a Leftcopy license. The only requirement is including the license text, or a clickable link to https://thesocialdomain.org.

    Can Use commercially, modify, adapt, distribute, sublicense1, use privately2, use a patent3, add a warranty4
    Must Include license or clickable link to https://thesocialdomain.org
    Cannot Hold Workers liable
    1. Modified works may be licensed with additional restrictions. 

    2. Private use includes certain, special ‘free uses’, use in quotations, teaching, newspaper articles, reporting, fair use, first sale, work for hire and some other proprietary uses like product evaluations, testing, trials and trade secrets

    3. Having a patent grant may be useful with some software because it protects Workers against legal claims. 

    4. A warranty may be added, for example for accompanying products or services. 

  • To keep things simple, Leftcopy does not insist on attribution.

    It is possible to encourage personal reciprocity and anticipate academic or scientific citations, by placing your name in a ‘one-liner’ in document headers or footers, something like this:

    Unless otherwise stated, {TITLE} (!C) 2021 The People by {AUTHOR NAME}. This work is <a target="_blank" href="https://thesocialdomain.org">social domain</a> licensed under Leftcopy LTL-2.43.

    Authoritative information could also be included in:

    • A NOTICES or README file
    • A humans.txt file

    The conventional designation for work in the social domain is (!C) or the symbol. The SVG file is available for download here

  • Take an example of a massive media distributor with an offshore shell company. Their production affiliates want to modify music recordings and artwork to bundle into a new pilot for a new TV mini-series.

    A small studio edits the recordings and artwork to make a new collection, and the shell company copyrights the entire production.

    When the media giant wants to distribute the series, their nervy lawyers point out the original material is under a Leftcopy license.

    The new collection is under the copyright of their tiny offshore subsidiary, but distribution of substantial amounts of the original material is not allowed under the head Leftcopy license because it does not provide permission to the large parent company, the main distributor.


    • The ‘applicable law / competent court’ have been deliberately left open, so any large corporate group headquarters operating in almost any jurisdiction will find it difficult to evade legal notice.
    • Other social domain licenses are available.
  • Software applied to Leftcopy can use Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) License Identifier Tags1

    LicenseID: LicenseRef-LTL-2.43 or LicenseID: LicenseRef-LRL-2.43

    Be prepared for disapproval from free and open source fans who advocate sharing software indiscriminately, as a matter of ‘principle’.

    Other than for private use, Leftcopy is not compatible with the GNU General Public License to deter interoperability with capitalist infrastructure.

    For larger software projects, a Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) or Contributors License Agreement (CLA) may also be desirable.

    1. SPDX is backed by a consortium of large tech corporations motivated to influence work practices using ‘standardization’.