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== Preamble ==
 
== Preamble ==
  
Through global communication networks, hundreds of millions of human beings today have the ability to access, modify, author, publish and distribute artistic works, scientific and educational materials, commentary, reports, and documents; in short: anything that can be represented as a sequence of bits. In many cases, however, we find that traditional copyright laws, which provide authors and artists with decades of protection even beyond their death, can impede cultural and scientific progress.
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Through universal communication networks, hundreds of millions of human beings today have the ability to access, modify, author, publish and distribute artistic works, scientific and educational materials, commentary, reports, and documents; in short: anything that can be represented as a sequence of bits. In many cases, however, we find that traditional copyright laws, which provide authors and artists with decades of protection even beyond their death, can impede cultural and scientific progress.
  
 
Works built by communities collaborating as volunteers, art created for the purpose of shared enjoyment, essential learning materials, scientific research funded through taxpayer money, and many other works do not benefit from artificial scarcity. They benefit from being used freely. We therefore believe that these works should be free, and by "freedom" we mean:
 
Works built by communities collaborating as volunteers, art created for the purpose of shared enjoyment, essential learning materials, scientific research funded through taxpayer money, and many other works do not benefit from artificial scarcity. They benefit from being used freely. We therefore believe that these works should be free, and by "freedom" we mean:
* the freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it
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* the freeto study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it
 
* the freedom to redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression
 
* the freedom to redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression
 
* the freedom to make improvements or other changes, and to release modified copies
 
* the freedom to make improvements or other changes, and to release modified copies
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Not all licenses grant the freedoms enumerated above. For example, some popular licenses forbid the creation of derivative works, or the commercial use of a work. Some licenses are even more specific. They limit usage of the work to particular regions of the world, or to relative quantities of information.
 
Not all licenses grant the freedoms enumerated above. For example, some popular licenses forbid the creation of derivative works, or the commercial use of a work. Some licenses are even more specific. They limit usage of the work to particular regions of the world, or to relative quantities of information.
  
However, no work can be truly called "free" unless it can be freely shared, freely modified, freely aggregated, freely combined, and freely provided through any channel. Works under licenses that prohibit these essential freedoms stand seperate from the body of works that is not impeded by these restrictions. They are philosophically and legally incompatible with the licensing options used by the growing movement that refers to its works as "free content" or "free expression."
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However,work can be truly called "free" unless it can be freely shared, freely modified, freely aggregated, freely combined, and freely provided through any channel. Works under licenses that prohibit these essential freedoms stand seperate from the body of works that is not impeded by these restrictions. They are philosophically and legally incompatible with the licensing options used by the growing movement that refers to its works as "free content" or "free expression."
  
Any license which requires the term "free" to be significantly qualified ("it is free, but you cannot ..") can only mean "free" in the sense of "gratis, without cost". It can never mean that every essential freedom is present. It is the goal of this definition to precisely define the essential freedoms, and to provide guidelines by which existing licenses can be certified as meeting this definition.
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Any license which requires the term "ree" to be significantly qualified ("it is free, but you cannot ..") can only mean "free" in the sense of "gratis, without cost". It can never mean that every essential freedom is present. It is the goal of this definition to precisely define the essential freedoms, and to provide guidelines by which existing licenses can be certified as meeting this definition.
  
 
== Naming and versioning ==
 
== Naming and versioning ==
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New versions of this definition shall be released as soon as a consensus (achieved directly or through a vote, as per the [[authoring process]]) has developed around suggested changes. Numbering shall be 0.x for initial draft releases, 1.x, 2.x .. for major releases, x.1, x.2 .. for minor releases. A minor release is made when the text is modified in ways which do not have an impact on the scope of existing or hypothetical licenses covered by this definition.
 
New versions of this definition shall be released as soon as a consensus (achieved directly or through a vote, as per the [[authoring process]]) has developed around suggested changes. Numbering shall be 0.x for initial draft releases, 1.x, 2.x .. for major releases, x.1, x.2 .. for minor releases. A minor release is made when the text is modified in ways which do not have an impact on the scope of existing or hypothetical licenses covered by this definition.
 
== Recommended and required criteria ==
 
 
This definition uses the terms ''may'', ''may not'' and ''must not'' in obvious ways to distinguish required and optional criteria for covered licenses. Importantly, it uses the term ''should'' where we recommend that licenses which do not meet the stated criteria should be amended. Later versions of this definition may make some of these criteria mandatory.
 
  
 
== Essential freedoms ==
 
== Essential freedoms ==
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* '''The freedom to redistribute copies:''' Copies may be sold, swapped or given away for free, as part of a larger work, a collection, or independently. There must be no limit on the amount of information that can be copied. There must also not be any limit on who can copy the information or on where the information can be copied.
 
* '''The freedom to redistribute copies:''' Copies may be sold, swapped or given away for free, as part of a larger work, a collection, or independently. There must be no limit on the amount of information that can be copied. There must also not be any limit on who can copy the information or on where the information can be copied.
 
* '''The freedom to distribute modified versions:''' In order to give everyone the ability to improve upon a work, the license must not limit the freedom to distribute a modified version, as above, regardless of the intent and purpose of such modifications. However, some restrictions may be applied to protect these essential freedoms, as well as the requirement of attribution (see below).
 
* '''The freedom to distribute modified versions:''' In order to give everyone the ability to improve upon a work, the license must not limit the freedom to distribute a modified version, as above, regardless of the intent and purpose of such modifications. However, some restrictions may be applied to protect these essential freedoms, as well as the requirement of attribution (see below).
 
== Allowed requirements and restrictions ==
 
 
There are certain restrictions on the use or interchange of works that we do not feel impede on the essential freedoms enumerated above. These are described below.
 
 
=== Attribution ===
 
 
Attribution protects the integrity of an original work, and provides credit and recognition for authors. A license may therefore require attribution of the author or authors, provided such attribution does not impede normal use of the work. For example, it would not be acceptable for the license to require a significantly more cumbersome method of attribution when a modified version of the licensed text is distributed.
 
 
=== Protection of freedoms ===
 
 
The license ''may'' include clauses that strive to protect the [[#Essential freedoms|essential freedoms]] of the work, such as:
 
* '''transparent copies:''' a clause requiring all copies of the work to be in a transparent file format (documented and not encumbered by patents) which allows the work to be freely used in perpetuity
 
* '''copyleft or "share-alike":''' a clause requiring that derivative works are entirely made available under a license which meets this definition
 
* '''free from technical restrictions:''' a clause prohibiting the use of technical measures designed to prevent individuals to whom the work is distributed from exercising any of the freedoms described above
 
 
The license ''may not'' include clauses that strive to limit the [[#Essential freedoms|essential freedoms]] of the work, such as:
 
* '''usage restrictions''': the license must not limit the licensee's actions beyond those which may have a plausible and direct impact on the essential freedoms of the work or its derivatives. Explicitly, it ''must not'' limit commercial use of the work.
 
  
 
== Recommendations ==
 
== Recommendations ==
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When making copies of a work, the licensee ''should'' be allowed to refer to a resource pointer instead of being required to distribute the license text itself with each copy of the work. Similarly, the license ''should'' allow the author or authors to specify a resource pointer for the attribution of multiple authors of a work. This is to ensure that the attribution requirement for complex collaborative works does not become an impediment.
 
When making copies of a work, the licensee ''should'' be allowed to refer to a resource pointer instead of being required to distribute the license text itself with each copy of the work. Similarly, the license ''should'' allow the author or authors to specify a resource pointer for the attribution of multiple authors of a work. This is to ensure that the attribution requirement for complex collaborative works does not become an impediment.
 
== Further reading ==
 
 
* See [[Licenses]] for discussion of individual licenses, and whether they meet this definition or not.
 
* See [[History]] for acknowledgments and background on this definition.
 
* See the [[FAQ]] for some questions and answers.
 
* See [[Portal:Index]] for topic-specific pages about free content and free expressions.
 
  
 
== Notes ==
 
== Notes ==

Please note that all contributions to Definition of Free Cultural Works are considered to be released under the Attribution 2.5 (see Definition of Free Cultural Works:Copyrights for details). If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then do not submit it here.
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