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Other changes relate to internationalization, how license violations are handled, and how additional permissions can be granted by the copyright holder.

It also adds a provision that "strips" Digital Rights Management (DRM) of its legal value, so people can break anything a court might recognize as DRM on GPL software without breaking laws like the DMCA.

GPLv3 was written by Richard Stallman, with legal counsel from Eben Moglen and Richard Fontana from the Software Freedom Law Center.

According to Stallman, the most important changes are in relation to software patents, free software license compatibility, the definition of "source code", and hardware restrictions on software modification ("tivoization").

The first problem was that distributors may publish binary files only—executable, but not readable or modifiable by humans.

To prevent this, GPLv1 stated that copying and distributing copies or any portion of the program must also make the human-readable source code available under the same licensing terms.

To keep the license up to date, the GPL license includes an optional "any later version" clause, allowing users to choose between the original terms or the terms in new versions as updated by the FSF.This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD licenses and the MIT License are widely used examples.GPL was the first copyleft license for general use.Historically, the GPL license family has been one of the most popular software licenses in the free and open-source software domain.Prominent free software programs licensed under the GPL include the Linux kernel and the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). Wheeler argues that the copyleft provided by the GPL was crucial to the success of Linux-based systems, giving the programmers who contributed to the kernel the assurance that their work would benefit the whole world and remain free, rather than being exploited by software companies that would not have to give anything back to the community.

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