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{{divbox|blue|Unstable version|This is the openly editable version of the definition. Please try to find a consensus for any significant changes you make on the [[Talk:Definition/Unstable|discussion page]]. If you want to work on a substantially different derivative, you can try [[creating a fork]]. See [[authoring process]] for more information.}}
 
{{divbox|blue|Unstable version|This is the openly editable version of the definition. Please try to find a consensus for any significant changes you make on the [[Talk:Definition/Unstable|discussion page]]. If you want to work on a substantially different derivative, you can try [[creating a fork]]. See [[authoring process]] for more information.}}
 
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This document provides a definition of "Free Cultural Works" [the Definition], which are roughly works or expressions that can be freely studied, applied, copied and modified, by anyone and for any purpose.  The Definition distinguishes between ''free works'' and ''[[licenses|free licenses]]'' which can be used to legally protect the status of a free work.  The definition itself is ''not'' a license; it is a tool to determine whether a work or license should be considered "free."  This document also describes restrictions that respect or protect the freedoms of Free Cultural Works.
 
  
 
== Summary ==
 
== Summary ==
  
'''Free Cultural Works''' are works which anyone can  
+
This document defines the terms "Free Content" and "Free Expression" as any work or expression which can be freely studied, applied, copied and/or modified, by anyone, for any purpose. It also describes certain permissible restrictions that respect or protect these essential freedoms. Additionally, the document provides a [[Licenses|list of licenses]] which meet the terms of freedom laid out in this definition.
* '''Use'''
 
* '''Study'''
 
* '''Copy'''
 
* '''Change and Improve'''
 
* '''Sell'''
 
  
'''Free Culture Licenses''' are legal instruments by which copyright owners grant users these freedoms and make their works into Free Cultural Works.
+
== Preamble ==
  
In addition to the 5 freedoms listed above '''Free Cultural licenses''' may also include certain restrictions. These can include:
+
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.
* '''Attribution''' - acknowledge other authors
 
* '''Share-alike''' or '''Copyleft'''- derived works must be licensed under the same or compatible license as the original
 
* '''Protection of Freedoms''' - the license may require additional permissions or information is distributed with the works (such as source code, design drawings, musical scores, access codes) where these are needed to create new versions of the work.
 
* '''Due Credit''' Give credit where credit is due. If it's not your work do not claim it as yours.
 
  
== Preamble ==
+
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
 +
* 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
  
Since the earliest humans appeared on planet earth they have drawn, painted, sang, carved, weaved, danced, recited, built, studied. These cultural works have been passed down from parent to child, from master to apprentice ever since, each taking the works of those that went before and passing it on to those who came after; each adding and improving and polishing and translating what they received so that human culture could grow and develop.
+
These freedoms should be universally available to absolutely anyone, anywhere. To the extent possible, they should not be restricted by the context in which the work is used.
  
Since Science has been based on an explicit philosophy of sharing information, with all scientists expected to publish and any scientist free to repeat any experiment, we have seen an unprecedented explosion of scientific knowledge.
+
Any original work of authorship is copyrighted. Under copyright law, authors are considered God-like "creators" and are given legal powers they can use against those who duplicate "their" content in altered or unaltered form. Only very limited freedoms are granted to others unless authors choose to explicitly relinquish some or all of these powers. To do so, authors can explicitly release their work into the public domain (no copyright)<sup>[[#Notes|1]]</sup>, or can choose among a vast array of legal documents known as ''[[w:license|licenses]]'' to grant, retain or qualify their exclusive rights.
  
In recent years social and technological advances make it possible for a growing part of humanity to share cultural works that can be represented in digital form with other people they have never met in person. These works include artworks, scientific and educational materials, software, stories, audio and video recordings. Many communities have formed to exercise these new possibilities and create a wealth of collectively reusable works. As these collaboratively produced works grow in commercial value there is ever greater pressure to monetise these works, to erect toll gates so that the community who collaborated to create these works can be charged to access them.
+
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.
  
At different time over the years Copyright and Patent legislation has been introduced as a way of restricting and taxing that free flow of information - as a way of rewarding particularly innovative new contributions or favoured supporters of the government of the time. These laws have been used to create the tollgates mentioned above.
+
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."
  
'''Free Culture licenses''' have been created to provide a legal framework which reflects these collaborative working practices, providing a simple way for people to share with others the rights needed for such collaborations to happen, so that users can collaborate and work together  to create and improve '''Free Culture Works''' and ensure that these works stay free.
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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.
  
==Free Cultural Works==
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== Naming and versioning ==
Free Cultural Works are works where
 
* '''anyone''', i.e. rich or poor, socialist or fascist, man, woman or corporation;
 
* '''anywhere''', i.e. worldwide;
 
* '''anytime''', i.e. unlimited and irrevocable and forever.
 
has each of the following freedoms
 
====The freedom to use and perform the work====
 
to make any use, private or public, of the work. For kinds of works where it is relevant, this freedom should include all derived uses ("related rights") such as performing or interpreting the work. There must be no exception regarding, for example, political or religious or commercial considerations.
 
  
====The freedom to study the work and apply the information====
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You may refer to this definition as the "Free Content and Expression Definition" (its full name), the "Free Content Definition", or the "Free Expression Definition". Consequently, you may call a work covered by this definition "free content" or (a) "free expression" (the terms may or may not be capitalized). [[Which name should you use?]] summarizes some arguments for and against the two names and possible alternatives.
to examine the work and to use the knowledge gained from the work in any way. The license may not, for example, restrict "reverse engineering".
 
  
====The freedom to redistribute copies====
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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.
whether they are 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. Neither may there be a limit on who can copy the information or on where the information can be copied. The license may not, for example, forbid "Commercial' exploitation of the work.
 
  
====The freedom to distribute derivative works====
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== Recommended and required criteria ==
including modified versions (or, for physical works, a work somehow derived from the original), regardless of the intent and purpose of such modifications.
 
  
== Permissible restrictions==
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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.
There are certain requirements and restrictions on the use or interchange of works that we feel do not impede the essential freedom in our definition. These restrictions can therefore be included in Free Culture licenses. They are described below.
 
  
=== Attribution of authors ===
+
== Essential freedoms ==
  
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.
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In order to be recognized as "free" under this definition, a license must grant the following freedoms without limitation:
  
In addition to the requirement for attribution the license may include restrictions to ensure the original author is not seen to be responsible for changes to the work made by others. This may include restrictions on the use of trademarks.
+
* '''The freedom to study and apply the information:''' The licensee must not be restricted by clauses which limit their right to examine, alter or apply the information. The license may not, for example, restrict "reverse engineering", and it may not limit the application of knowledge gained from the work in any way.
 +
* '''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).
  
=== Transmission of freedoms ===
+
== 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.
  
The license may include a clause, often called ''copyleft'' or ''share-alike'', which ensures that derivative works themselves remain free works. To this effect, it can for example require that derivative works are made available under the same free license as the original.
+
=== Attribution ===
  
The license may restrict the redistribution of the work as part of a compilation with other works unless the other other works are under the same license or are under another free license.
+
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.
 
 
The license may require that where the work is used to provide a service over the internet then users of the service will have rights under the license, such as the right to access, copy, amend and redistribute the source code for software.
 
  
 
=== Protection of freedoms ===
 
=== Protection of freedoms ===
  
The license may include clauses that strive to further ensure that the ability to exercise the freedoms listed above is not restricted by technical or other means. These can include:
+
The license ''may'' include clauses that strive to protect the [[#Essential freedoms|essential freedoms]] of the work, such as:
* '''Availability of source data:''' Where a final work has been obtained through the compilation or processing of design information or a source file or multiple source files, the license may require that underlying source data should be available alongside the work itself under the same conditions. This can be the score of a musical composition, the models used in a 3D scene, the data of a scientific publication, the drawings and parts list of a machine, or any other such information.
+
* '''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
* '''Use of a free format:''' For digital files, the license may require that the format in which the work is made available should not be one that can only be read using a particular manufacturers program. Formats should be documented and should not be restricted by patents, unless these patents are licensed for use in free works. While non-free formats may sometimes be used for practical reasons, a free format copy means that the information will be accessible to everyone, for ever.
+
* '''copyleft or "share-alike":''' a clause requiring that derivative works are entirely made available under a license which meets this definition
* '''No technical restrictions:''' The license may require that the work must be available in a form where no technical measures are used to limit the freedoms enumerated above.
+
* '''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
* '''No other restrictions or limitations:''' The license may specify that it may not be used to distribute works which are covered by legal restrictions (patents, contracts, etc.) or limitations (such as privacy rights or being for non-commercial use only) which would impede the freedoms enumerated above. This can mean that if you agree to pay a patent holder for the right to use a program then you can lose the right to distribute that program (since you have acknowledged that you think the patent applies to the programme). This is sometimes known as a '''Liberty or Death''' clause and makes it more dificult for owners of weak patents to divide the users by offering deals to some users under the threat of a costly lawsuit.
 
 
 
===No other restrictions ===
 
 
 
Apart from these allowed restrictions, the license ''must not'' include clauses that limit essential freedoms. See [[Permissible restrictions]]
 
 
 
== Free Culture Licenses ==
 
It is important that any work that claims to be free provides, practically and without any risk, the aforementioned freedoms.
 
  
All new works are automatically covered by existing copyright laws which default to All Rights Reserved. All Rights Reserved considerably limit what others can and cannot do with the work. Authors can make their works free by choosing among a number of legal documents known as licenses which grant users the 4 freedoms listed 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.
  
Licenses are legal instruments through which the owner of certain legal rights may transfer these rights to third parties.  Free Culture Licenses do not take rights away — they specify freedoms that are not included in a default copyright license such as All Rights Reserved. When accepted, they never limit or reduce existing user rights and exemptions under copyright law. Because the grant  rights which are additional to the rights users have under copyright therefore users  are not required to accept the license unless they want to exercise those additional rights.
+
== Recommendations ==
  
== Identifying Free Cultural Works ==
+
Authors of licenses ''should'' make an effort to gradually make licenses which share the same philosophical roots and legal principles compatible with each other to ensure that works under these licenses can be combined and aggregated freely. This may be accomplished by altering the terms of the license (e.g. by removing a restriction which the other license does not have), or by adding migration clauses which allow the use of the licensed work under the now compatible license.
This is the ''Definition of Free Cultural Works'', and when describing your work, we encourage you to make reference to this definition, as in, "This is a freely licensed work, as explained in the ''[http://freedomdefined.org Definition of Free Cultural Works]''."  If you do not like the term "Free Cultural Work," you can use the generic term "Free Content," or refer instead to one of the [[Existing Movements|existing movements]] that express similar freedoms in more specific contexts. We also encourage you to use the [[logos and buttons|Free Cultural Works logos and buttons]], which are in the public domain.
 
 
Please be advised that such identification does ''not'' actually confer the rights described in this definition; for your work to be actually free, it must use one of the Free Culture [[Licenses]] or be in the public domain, or equivalent of.
 
Please don't use other terms to identify Cultural Works; terms which do not convey a clear definition of freedom; terms such as "Open Content" and "Open Access." These terms are often used to refer to content which is available under "less restrictive" terms than All Rights Reserved, or for works that are just "available on the Web", but they don't necessarily carry with them the freedoms referred to in this document.
 
  
== Availability of legal instruments ==
+
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.
''Can'' in ''anyone can use, study, copy, change and improve'' ([[Definition/Unstable#Summary|summary]]) means anyone can realistically make his case in court that such freedom was granted. It implies that where a work is made free by way of a free cultural license, the legal instrument, by which the copyright or other right owner grants the license, must also be available to anyone in the legal form that is legally binding in the relevant legal context. The legal instrument should not be jealously and secretly kept by the first licensee.
 
  
 
== Further reading ==
 
== Further reading ==
Line 102: Line 71:
 
* See [[History]] for acknowledgments and background on this definition.
 
* See [[History]] for acknowledgments and background on this definition.
 
* See the [[FAQ]] for some questions and answers.
 
* See the [[FAQ]] for some questions and answers.
* See [[Portal:Index]] for topic-specific pages about free cultural works.
+
* See [[Portal:Index]] for topic-specific pages about free content and free expressions.
* See [http://communities.libre.org/ Libre Communities] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libre_knowledge Wikipedia on Free/Libre Knowledge]
 
* See [http://ictlogy.net/?p=12#fourkinds The Four Kinds of Freedom of Free Knowledge]
 
  
== Versioning ==
+
== Notes ==
 +
 
 +
# Under some jurisdictions, notably some European countries, authors have inalienable [[w:moral rights|moral rights]] and cannot completely release their works into the [[w:public domain|public domain]]. If you believe that you have a right to put your own works in the public domain, regardless of what the law says, you can make a declaration of public domain status which contains a safeguard clause, such as: "I, the author of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible: I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law."
  
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.
 
  
 
__NOTOC__
 
__NOTOC__

Revision as of 18:29, 20 August 2016

Unstable version
This is the openly editable version of the definition. Please try to find a consensus for any significant changes you make on the discussion page. If you want to work on a substantially different derivative, you can try creating a fork. See authoring process for more information.

Summary

This document defines the terms "Free Content" and "Free Expression" as any work or expression which can be freely studied, applied, copied and/or modified, by anyone, for any purpose. It also describes certain permissible restrictions that respect or protect these essential freedoms. Additionally, the document provides a list of licenses which meet the terms of freedom laid out in this definition.

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.

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
  • 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

These freedoms should be universally available to absolutely anyone, anywhere. To the extent possible, they should not be restricted by the context in which the work is used.

Any original work of authorship is copyrighted. Under copyright law, authors are considered God-like "creators" and are given legal powers they can use against those who duplicate "their" content in altered or unaltered form. Only very limited freedoms are granted to others unless authors choose to explicitly relinquish some or all of these powers. To do so, authors can explicitly release their work into the public domain (no copyright)1, or can choose among a vast array of legal documents known as licenses to grant, retain or qualify their exclusive rights.

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."

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.

Naming and versioning

You may refer to this definition as the "Free Content and Expression Definition" (its full name), the "Free Content Definition", or the "Free Expression Definition". Consequently, you may call a work covered by this definition "free content" or (a) "free expression" (the terms may or may not be capitalized). Which name should you use? summarizes some arguments for and against the two names and possible alternatives.

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

In order to be recognized as "free" under this definition, a license must grant the following freedoms without limitation:

  • The freedom to study and apply the information: The licensee must not be restricted by clauses which limit their right to examine, alter or apply the information. The license may not, for example, restrict "reverse engineering", and it may not limit the application of knowledge gained from the work in any way.
  • 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).

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 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 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

Authors of licenses should make an effort to gradually make licenses which share the same philosophical roots and legal principles compatible with each other to ensure that works under these licenses can be combined and aggregated freely. This may be accomplished by altering the terms of the license (e.g. by removing a restriction which the other license does not have), or by adding migration clauses which allow the use of the licensed work under the now compatible license.

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

  1. Under some jurisdictions, notably some European countries, authors have inalienable moral rights and cannot completely release their works into the public domain. If you believe that you have a right to put your own works in the public domain, regardless of what the law says, you can make a declaration of public domain status which contains a safeguard clause, such as: "I, the author of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible: I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law."