I'm happy to announce that version 1.0 of the Definition of Free
Cultural Works has been released. This definition is directly
referenced in the draft Wikimedia licensing policy and is likely to
become our future guideline to distinguish free and non-free content.
The definition itself is developed using a wiki process & a group of
moderators (see below), so I'd appreciate "bug reports" on the wiki.
Specifically for the Wikimedia Commons folks:
We're developing a set of buttons to identify free licenses, using our
own "Free Cultural Works" logo. Any contribution here would be
Full announcement & links below. Please forward & distribute to
relevant mailing lists.
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New "Definition of Free Cultural Works" Challenges Authors to Rethink
''The Internet, February 14, 2007.''
A diverse group of writers has released the first version of the
"Definition of Free Cultural Works." The authors have identified a
minimum set of freedoms which they believe should be granted to all
users of copyrighted materials. Created on a wiki with the feedback of
Wikipedia users, open source hackers, artists, scientists, and
lawyers, the definition lists the following core freedoms:
* The freedom to use and perform the work
* The freedom to study the work and apply the information
* The freedom to redistribute copies
* The freedom to distribute derivative works.
Inspired by the Free Software Definition and the ideals of the free
software and open source movements, these conditions are meant to
apply to any conceivable work. In reality, these freedoms must be
granted explicitly by authors, through the use of licenses which
confer them. On the website of the definition,
<http://freedomdefined.org/>, a list of these licenses can be found.
Furthermore, authors are encouraged to identify their works as Free
Cultural Works using a set of logos and buttons.
The definition was initiated by Benjamin Mako Hill, a Debian GNU/Linux
developer, and Erik Möller, an author and long-time Wikipedia user.
Wikipedia already follows similar principles to those established by
the definition. Angela Beesley, Wikimedia Advisory Board Chair and
co-founder of Wikia.com
; Mia Garlick, general counsel of Creative
Commons; and Elizabeth Stark of the Free Culture Student Movement
acted as moderators, while Richard Stallman of the Free Software
Foundation and Lawrence Lessig of Creative Commons provided helpful
As more and more people recognize that there are alternatives to
traditional copyright, phrases like "open source," "open access,"
"open content," "free content," and "commons" are
But many of these phrases are ambiguous when it comes to
distinguishing works and licenses which grant all the above freedoms,
and those which only confer limited rights. For example, a popular
license restricts the commercial use of works, whereas the authors
believe that such use must be permitted for a work to be considered
Free. Instead of limiting commercial use, they recommend using a
clever legal trick called "copyleft:" requiring all users of the work
to make their combined and derivative works freely available.
Möller and Hill encourage authors to rethink copyright law and use one
of the Free Culture Licenses to help build a genuine free and open
== Links ==
- Official homepage of the definition
- Information about specific licenses
- Logos and buttons for
identifying free cultural works
== Contact ==
* Erik Möller - eloquence (at) gmail (dot) com - +49-30-45491008
* Benjamin Mako Hill - mako (at) atdot (dot) cc
Peace & Love,
DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.