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From Definition of Free Cultural Works
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First Thoughts

I had some issues with the definition of free content here. Firstly, the document attempts to define "free content" as so many have done in the past, yet there is no clear definition of what is and isn't free content in the "free content movement" you discuss. It concerns me that a definition is being created in isolation from the wider community without proper discussion.

I see the definition here models itself on the free software definition, but misses several important and fundamental aspects:

How does the definition handle digital works (such as images, documents, etc) versus non-digitual works (such as hard-copy books, paintings, sculptures, etc)?

How should digital works be treated? A digital work, such as a wordprocessor document, can be viewed in two ways: firstly, as a work in and of itself, i.e. content, but also as a piece of software itself that can display a final work. Should you only have the freedom to study a work (content), or should you also have the freedom to study how a work was created (software)?

The definition talks about the freedom to make and release (distribute?) modifications but it doesn't say anything about source copies of work. I can think of several examples where the freedom to make modifications can be provided, but without a source copy of a work (i.e. in the format preferred for making modifications) making modifications could be prohibitive:

  • Protected PDF - sure, decrypting such a PDF is possible but its a) tricky to export a PDF to a format that can be modified with all the information intact (images, tables, etc), and b) it may be illegal to decrypt protected PDFs in certain juristictions (DMCA?)
  • Text content as image files - a user could allow users the freedom to modify his written works but only distribute them in image format. It is difficult for downstream users to then extract the text content

You also talk about "free content licenses" where you should really be talking about free content works: a license enables a free content work, but

Free experession is not the same as free content: you can have the right to free expresssion without having free content, and free content does not guarantee free expression.

I hope this is helpful. --Rgladwell 20:25, 1 May 2006 (CEST)