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Definition of "Can" missing

"Free Cultural Works are works which anyone can use, study, copy, change and improve..." -> Tribes in a lot of countries don't have computers - and therefore can't use the MIT/GPL/... licensed software I wrote. So my work is not a Free Cultural Work? (I guess such a conclusion is not intended)

Maybe a definition for certain words, like "can", "may", ... should be added. Similiarly as keywords were specified for IETF's Internet Standards / RFCs ( --T X 13:37, 1 November 2011 (EDT)

In a similar vein, "should" is used a lot where some might argue for "must" (see ) (idea from). - K 17:48, 12 December 2011 (EST)

Merging 4 freedoms to 3, explicitly adding 'Distribution'

Free Cultural Works are works which anyone can

  • Use
  • Study
  • Copy
  • Change and Improve

I'm having two points I do not quite like about these four freedoms:

  • 'Study' is a form of 'Use': It's just a more specific form of usage - which, agreed, a lot of EULAs and laws try to exclude.
  • 'Distribution' should be added: If you were only looking at these four freedoms, even some content which you get via an NDA might fit these points. You can use, study and even copy the work for your own needs, you may change and improve it - however you won't be allowed to share any of these things afterwards.

Therefore my suggestion, making more a whole trinity with each point of the trinity being a duality:

  • Use and Study
  • Copy and Distribute
  • Change and Improve

So that the second verb of each freedom is actually a more specific form of the first verb of each freedom. The purpose of the second verb is to better reflect the true, good intent of the more neutral, more generic action defined in the first verb of a freedom, and to place some emphasize on this good intent, the idea behind it.

(I'm not quite sure whether I'd prefer the word 'distribute' or 'share'. Maybe a native English speaker could give some insight on what (s)he thinks the differing connotations might be.) --T X 04:25, 4 November 2011 (EDT)

The libre knowledge definition puts it this way:

Users of libre knowledge are free to

(0) use the work for any purpose
(1) study its mechanisms, to be able to modify and adapt it to their own needs
(2) make and distribute copies, in whole or in part
(3) enhance and/or extend the work and share the result.
i.e. "study" is about being able to adapt/modify - use (0) and adapt (1) to help yourself, "copy" (2) is about sharing to help your neighbour, and the last freedom (3) is to clarify that you can also share your modified versions (to help the community).
Personally, I prefer to retain the link with the free software definition as does the libre knowledge definition. Knowledge and cultural resources cannot be regarded as free if they cannot be accessed and modified with libre software. Consistency is important. - K 18:12, 12 December 2011 (EST)


Please make it clear that this would also be the "libre cultural works" definition.

The libre knowledge definition is completely compatible as far as I can tell. It appears in some form on the following pages: Declaration on libre knowledge, Libre knowledge on Wikipedia and Say libre. i.e. at some key point state that free means "libre"/"free as in freedom" - perhaps as simply as writing free/libre at least once near the beginning. - K 18:37, 3 March 2012 (EST)
I have created a parallel "libre" version - Libre Cultural Works Definition - but would prefer this not to be necessary. Discuss this issue right here or on the libre version's discussion page - Thanks - K 18:39, 5 March 2012 (EST)
I find the gratis meaning of "free" to be very confusing to newcomers and am in favor of reworking the text to use "libre" or another unambigious adjective. Cov 19:18, 2 May 2013 (EDT)

Free-Libre-Open Hardware Definition

Hello, I'm starting a "friendly fork" of the OSHW Definition here because, currently engaged in writing a free/libre/open hardware project proposal to a set of potential clients who are not at all familiar with the whole genre of free/libre/open approaches, I feel the current OSHW Definition is not concise enough to just reproduce as an excerpt. I also feel the current OSHW Definition risks the same division between "open source" methods and "free" ethics that has complicated relations for years within the free/libre/open source software community.

Back in 2004 while preparing a presentation deck for my Director General in government, I needed to cram the OSI definition into a single screen: In the end I felt the short version I had adapted was more useful as a definition than the original, in the same sense that dictionaries also hold to very concise phrases. Over the years too, I came to see the importance of including both the methods and ethics elements into projects.

So what appears here as a "fork" to facilitate discussion is the current draft text that appears in my own free/libre/open hardware document.


I hope nobody is offended by this thorough change. Putting it up as a fork here just seemed to best way to discuss it without interfering with your main definition text.


Joseph Potvin

Updating and creating a stable version.

Hello, my name is Michelle Kosik, I'm new to this so please excuse my inexperience. I was hopping we can make the font bigger or bolder. How do I change the version to the stable vershion?

You don’t just change the stable version. See Authoring process for more information. --Mormegil (talk) 05:18, 26 March 2013 (EDT)


Definition should contain a link to Definition/1.1 to make it easier for people to refer to that version specifically. (People who write books, for example, might not intend to link to Definition which is a moving target, but to Definition/1.1 which their book refers to.)

I added the link into the grey introduction box. Do you think it is OK? --Mormegil (talk) 11:58, 17 February 2015 (EST)

Expire of licenses if break

Some licenses, that are declared as free, expire, if you break them. I can't see that this restriction is allowed. -- David23x (talk) 10:55, 1 October 2015 (EDT)

Source requirement on stable vs. optional source offer on unstable

I have noticed, thanks to some people on a IRC channel on, that the stable version requires source files to be redistributed and be on a format/standard/codec that is friendly to free/libre software, while the unstable version puts redistribution of source files as an option.

I, personally, see that, under the stable definition, almost no work would qualify as free/libre cultural work, not even those under free/libre licenses.

I'm not a free/libre culture activist (I'm only a free/libre software activist that thinks that non-functional data (like images, sound, and such) should be at least shareable), but I just want to know why the changes related to this difference weren't made to the stable version? What's the reasoning for holding it? I know there's no consensus, but can you describe the points where the opinions