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

All rights reversed is a phrase that indicates a release of a publication under copyleft licensing status.[1] It is a pun on the common copyright disclaimer "All rights reserved", a copyright formality originally required by the Buenos Aires Convention of 1910. However Arnoud Engelfriet writes that "[t]he phrase ['All rights reversed'] by itself is not enough; a license must explicitly state the rights that are granted".[2]

"All Rights Reversed" (sometimes spelled rites) was used by author Gregory Hill in his Discordian text Principia Discordia.[3]

In 1984 or 1985, 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.[4] It is often accompanied by a reversed version of the copyright symbol.[5] That said, the use of the reversed copyright symbol is considered legally risky by the Free Software Foundation.[6]


  1. ^ Sandredv, J. (2002). Managing Open Source Projects: A Wiley Tech Brief. Wiley. ISBN 9780471189176. Free Software Foundation uses the term copyleft, which means all rights reversed.
  2. ^ Engelfriet, Arnoud (2006). "The phrase "All rights reserved"". Ius mentis. Archived from the original on January 1, 2008. Retrieved December 27, 2007.
  3. ^ Hill, Gregory (1965). Principia Discordia. Ⓚ All Rites Reversed - reprint what you like
  4. ^ Stallman, Richard (1999). Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution. O'Reilly Media. pp. 59. ISBN 1-56592-582-3.
  5. ^ Muffatto, Moreno (2006). Open Source: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Imperial College Press. p. 40. ISBN 1-86094-665-8.
  6. ^ "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!