All rights reversed

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The copyleft symbol. Unlike the copyright symbol, it has no legal meaning.

All rights reversed is a phrase that indicates a release of copyright or a copyleft licensing status. It is a pun on the common copyright disclaimer "All rights reserved", a copyright formality originally required by the Buenos Aires Convention of 1910.[1] "All Rights Reversed" (sometimes spelled rites) was used by author Gregory Hill to authorize the free reprinting of his Principia Discordia in the late 1960s. Hill's disclaimer was accompanied by the kosher "Ⓚ" (for kallisti) symbol, a play on ©, the copyright symbol.[2]

In 1984–5 programmer Don Hopkins sent Richard Stallman a letter labeled "Copyleft—all rights reversed". Stallman chose the phrase to identify his free software method of distribution.[3] It is often accompanied by a reversed version of the copyright symbol.[4] That said, this usage is considered legally risky by the Free Software Foundation.[5]

"All Rights Reversed", its homophone, "All Rites Reversed", and/or the "Copyleft" symbol, are occasionally used among those who publish or produce media (or any other material that might normally be copyrighted) as a clever means of saying "This is not copyrighted. Please, do with it what you will." and encouraging the duplication and use of the "copy-lefted" material thereof.


  1. ^ Engelfriet, Arnoud (2006). "The phrase "All rights reserved"". Ius mentis. Archived from the original on January 1, 2008. Retrieved December 27, 2007.
  2. ^ Hill, Gregory (1965). Principia Discordia. Ⓚ All Rites Reversed - reprint what you like
  3. ^ Stallman, Richard (1999). Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution. O'Reilly Media. pp. 59. ISBN 1-56592-582-3.
  4. ^ Muffatto, Moreno (2006). Open Source: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Imperial College Press. p. 40. ISBN 1-86094-665-8.
  5. ^ "What is Copyleft?". Free Software Foundation. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved May 6, 2017. It is a legal mistake to use a backwards C in a circle instead of a copyright symbol. Copyleft is based legally on copyright, so the work should have a copyright notice. A copyright notice requires either the copyright symbol (a C in a circle) or the word "Copyright". A backwards C in a circle has no special legal significance, so it doesn't make a copyright notice. It may be amusing in book covers, posters, and such, but be careful how you represent it in a web page!