Version 1.1 of the definition has been released. Please help updating it, contribute translations, and help us with the design of logos and buttons to identify free cultural works and licenses!


From Definition of Free Cultural Works
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What about logos? Why do all open source / free content-supportive organisations currently have copyrighted logos?

Many organisations like Creative Commons, the Open Source Initiative, or Wikimedia like to protect their identity using trademarks and copyrights. It should be noted that relatively few people in these organisations are opposed to copyright per se; in fact, the copyleft principle makes use of copyright to protect the freedom of works. The argument of these organisations is not one against copyright, but one for additional freedoms.

Nevertheless, a case can be made that logos and symbols should be freely shared, and that trademarks should be avoided -- taking the "right to fork" to an extreme. Under this model, the identity of the project is not protected by law, and anyone can try to assume the same identity by adopting it for a different project. The marketplace of ideas is the final arbiter of success. This is true for the free content logo we're trying to create, which will be in the public domain.

What about other kinds of commons, like grains, electromagnetic spectrum, genetic information? They need a "freedom" definition, too.

The Free Content Definition is about works of the human mind (and craft). This category is legally but also philosophically justified: creation of works - art works, free software works, free hardware design, machine design, whatever - is a well-defined philosophical concept. Various other kinds of commons (like material commons) do not belong to this category.

Since we are not proposing a Manifesto (which can be vague, broad, and very encompassing) but a Definition (which must be based on firm conceptual ground), trying to find a "one-size-fits-all" ethical message would destroy the meaning of the message and transform it into a meaningless slogan. But staying inside the boundaries of a clearly defined category of things helps us remain meaningful, and powerful.

We encourage other people to try and give a definition for "freedom of genetic information", "freedom of water resources", "freedom of electromagnetic spectrum", etc. But we cannot do it in the framework of this Definition, because the issues are very different and it would be sterile to try to explain them in the same terms as free contents.

Who wrote this? Who administers the site?


Why isn't a Non-Commercial restriction considered free?

See discussion on this wiki


Why isn't a NoDerivatives restriction considered free?

A NoDerivatives restriction in a license does not allow you the user to freely modify, remix, adapt, or build upon a work, thus restricting your fundamental freedom to that cultural expression. Truly free licenses will lack NoDerivatives clauses, which will allow you to crop photographs, remix audio, changes the names and settings in fictional text, or modify software for your specific needs as an end user.