Free to marionette
It has been said that free content is not "free as in beer", but "free as in speech". But just as freedom in speech varies by governance, so many licensed works are called "free", but they are free in different ways. Authors and artists attracted to the free content idea should know the distinctions. One has to ask, is a work "free to pamphlet" or "free to marionette"?
"Free to pamphlet" works
A "free to pamphlet" work may be free to hand out copies, while rewriting or sale is restricted. The author has restricted their work- it cannot be improved, translated or transformed. It cannot be allowed to sustain itself or its distributors, which means it cannot be effectively distributed in the real world. It is a pamphlet by a single author that is passed to a few friends. The freedom is in copying only; it cannot be exercised intellectually or practically.
"Free to marionette" works
A "free to marionette" work is free to adapt into a marionette show, and to sell tickets at the door to rent the theatre and feed the hungry puppeteers. The author has opened their work- it will be improved, it will be translated, it will be transformed. But most of all it will be used, and a raucous conversation of art will open where before was monologue.
What freedom are you granting?
Most rights we rely on governments to protect, not individuals. But the content creator has a personal choice in how much artistic freedom to grant. The marionette theatre is a struggling art, and it is not the only one. The puppeteers need your help.