Last modified on 16 June 2013, at 16:53

Introduction to free licenses (Bookshelf)

This is the workspace for the Bookshelf Project leaflet about free licenses.

StructureEdit

This is a very short deliverable, perhaps one page, offering information at a glance.

Target groupEdit

New contributors.

Talking pointsEdit

  • reasons to use free licenses:
    • making it easier to spread the material
    • you don't have to steal the material - legalising what you do anyway (using images), by making it more clear what you need to do to use the image/content
    • insuring that the material will not be taken off the web, creating link rot, as many other sites have
  • part of a growing movement (Mozilla, Creative Commons,
  • differences between the three biggest licenses: Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (CC-by-sa), GNU Free Document License (GFDL) and public domain
  • which license we recommend (CC-by-sa 3.0)
  • how to attribute freely licensed works - example
  • free as in speech, not as in beer
  • common misconceptions [another word]:
    • you lose revenue by letting everyone use your images - you don't have to upload high resolution images, and some will even pay you just for not having to use the free license version
    • you lose control - you never had control, people have copied things without your knowledge before
    • museums, professional photographers and governments do not always use free licenses - many do, and increasingly so (mention some of the content partnerships, US Government policy)
  • the biggest collection of only freely licensed material (images, films, and documents) is Wikimedia Commons (adress)

SourcesEdit


DraftsEdit

Content Ziko's versionEdit

[Title:] Copyright, free licenses, public domain

[Left side:]

When a creator creates a work, it is usually protected by copyright. You are not allowd to copy the work, unless you have the permession of the creator or the publisher the creator sold the rights to.

Copyright in general is a good thing. But copyright, licenses, patents and other restrictions can hinder progress and they have been extended more and more the last decades. If you want to use copyrighted works, it might be difficult to find the creator, or you have to pay much money – often even not to the creator, but to a publisher.

Luc Tuymans (*1958), Belgian painter: 'Foundations'. For obvious reasons, this painting cannot be shown here.

[Right side:]

Works unprotected by copyright belong to the 'public domain'. You are absolutely free to use such works. Even if you would plagiatarize them, you could not be taken responsable for copyright violations.

The US Government, for example, publishes works in the public domain, because the tax player has already payed for them. But to many creators, public domain is too radical. Totally unprotected works can be abusively taken by wrong doers and frauds.

Marianne von Werefkin (1860-1938): 'Plattfabrik'. The artist died more than seventy years ago, the painting is in the public domain.

[Center:]

You want to publish a work in a way that others can use it under reasonable conditions? A license is a legal text that explains what is allowed to do with a work. Creative Commons is a non profit organisation that provides 'free licenses'. Many works published under a free license you can find on Wikimedia Commons, the media archive of Wikipedia.

For example, this is a photograph taken by Robin Müller. He published it referring to the free license CC-BY-SA. It is a Creative Commons license. You are allowed to use and copy and alter this picture, but you have to name the creator and the license. New works based on this (for example a collage of freely licensed pictures) must get the same license.

See for more information: http://commons.wikimedia.org

Content Lennart's versionEdit

IntroductionEdit

[Title]: Introduction to free licenses

All original works, such as texts, images, films, sound recordings, and computer software, are governed by copyright laws. A license is needed for anyone other than the creator to copy, distribute, or change the work. The license is a legal text that explains in detail what that other person is allowed to do with the original work. These licenses are often designed to limit the possibilities of spreading the work.

Wikipedia uses an alternative to traditional copyright: free licenses, also known as "copyleft". This license system grants everyone the right to use original material without asking permission or obtaining a license.

This fact sheet explains the differences between the two systems.

Free licensesEdit

As a creator of an image or a text, you can choose to make it easier for others to reuse the material by putting a free license on it. Doing so encourages people to spread the material, and it is a good way to make sure that the material will stay available for a long time.

Free licenses mean that anyone can use material directly, without asking for permission. The license specifies in what manner anyone who re-uses the work should give credit to the creator. New works based on free license materials (for example, a collage of freely licensed pictures) must also be released with a free license.

You can find many works published under a free license on Wikimedia Commons, the media archive of Wikipedia. There are more than 7 million photos, sound recordings, and films on Wikimedia Commons (as of September 2010). All are free to reuse. Go to http://commons.wikimedia.org and start browsing. Many pictures on the website Flickr (but not all) are also freely licensed.

Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons is a part of a growing "copyleft" movement to support free licenses. Others in the same movement are Creative Commons (which provides free licenses with various conditions), Mozilla, GNU/Linux, and OpenOffice.org.

You can still earn money from your work released under free licenses. For example, you could upload mid-resolution images to Wikimedia Commons and keep high-resolution images for your commercial purposes and licensing.

Image 1Edit

[Title]: Mona Lisa, by Leonardo Da Vinci.

[Caption]: This image is freely licensed, so you can reuse it. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mona_Lisa.jpg


Copyright protected materialEdit

Many images you find on the Internet, in books, and in magazines are protected by copyright laws. In essence, you cannot copy or spread them without the copyright holder's consent.

A work does not need the © logo to be copyrighted. It needs only to be original work. Copyright is not the same as trademark, which are registered symbols or signs.

Copyright in general is a good thing. The creator should be able to decide what to do with the work, including getting paid for producing the work. But copyright, licenses, patents, and other restrictions can hinder progress. If other people are not permitted to build on the previous work, innovation may slow down. In addition copyrights have been extended more and more in the last decades. Copyright for most works now extend 70 years after the creator's death.

And there are other problems: If you want to use copyrighted works, it may be difficult to find the creator, or you may have to pay a large sum of money for a license – often is money is not even paid to the creator, but to a publisher.

A common interpretation of copyright is that it ensures that the creator gets credit or gets paid, and that free license does not ensure credit or payment. Considering how often material is copied from the Internet without being credited, this interpretation is false.

Image 2Edit

[Title]: Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup Can.

[Caption]: We wish that we could have shown this image, but it's copyrighted until the year 2057, 70 years after Andy Warhol died.

Arrow textEdit

Copyrighted images can become free.


Public domainEdit

Some images have previously been copyrighted, but some time after the artist's or photographer's death, they are considered to be in the public domain.

All of Shakespeare's texts are in the public domain, for instance, as are Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings. You are absolutely free to use such works. Even if you were to plagiarize them, you could not be held responsible for copyright violations. But not only very old works are in the public domain. You can also publish works directly into public domain. In the United States, material produced by the federal government are placed in public domain, because the country's taxpaying citizens have already paid for it. For instance, most material that is produced by NASA is released as public domain. Other countries have different rules for the works produced by their respective governments. The European Space Agency, for instance, does not release their images in public domain, or any free license. This means that images from space almost always come from NASA, giving the viewers a sense that NASA is producing more in space than any other space agency.


[Wikimedia office address]

[Wikimedia logo]

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization that runs Wikipedia and other freely licensed websites.

Content LiAnna's versionEdit

IntroductionEdit

[Title]: Introduction to free licenses

Copyright applies to all original works as soon as they are created. Only the creator of the text, image, sound recording, computer software, or other original work has the right to copy, distribute, or change it — unless they release these rights using a legal text called a license.

Traditionally, licenses are designed to limit the potential of the work being spread. But Wikipedia is part of a growing movement to use an alternative to traditional copyright: free licenses.

What is a free license?Edit

All original works are under copyright. A free license simply means the creator wants to allow others to use his or her work without asking prior permission. Doing so makes it easier to share work with others.

There are many different free licenses. Most licenses say that when a creator has released a work under a free license, that means you can:

  • copy it (use a photo on your blog), as long as you give them attribution
  • modify it (make a collage of photos, for example), as long as the new work is also released under the free license

Popular examples of free licenses are Creative Commons and the GNU Free Document License.

[Tip box:] Look for these license logos, which designate free licensed material. [Production note: add CC-BY-SA an GNU logos]

What are the problems with traditional copyright?Edit

Most images you find are protected by copyright laws, and it is illegal to use them on a Wikipedia article or your blog without the copyright holder's consent. But tracking down the copyright holder can be challenging and expensive. And often, money paid to use an image under copyright goes to the publisher, not the creator.

Copyrights have been extended so much that most works are covered for 70 years after the creator's death. So, for example, Andy Warhol's iconic Campbell's Soup Can is under copyright until 2057.


Production note: Add blank shadow box with caption: "We wish we could show you the image of Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Can, but it's under copyright until 2057, 70 years after his death."


How can you find a freely licensed work?Edit

You can find works published under a free license on Wikimedia Commons, the media archive of Wikipedia. There are millions of photos, sound recordings, and films on Wikimedia Commons. All are free to reuse. Go to http://commons.wikimedia.org and start browsing. Many pictures on the website Flickr (but not all) are also freely licensed.

Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons are part of a growing movement to support free licenses. Others in the same movement are Creative Commons (which provides free licenses with various conditions), Mozilla, GNU/Linux, and OpenOffice.org.

What about works in the public domain?Edit

Some images have previously been copyrighted, but some time after the artist's or photographer's death, they are considered to be in the public domain. All of Shakespeare's texts are in the public domain, for instance, as are Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings.


Production note: Show the Mona Lisa with caption: "The Mona Lisa, by Leonardo Da Vinci, is in the public domain, so you can use the image freely: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mona_Lisa.jpg


Some countries also publish new works directly into the public domain. In the United States, material produced by the federal government are in the public domain, because the country's taxpaying citizens have already paid for it. For instance, most material that is produced by NASA is released as public domain.

Other countries have different rules for the works produced by their respective governments. The European Space Agency, for instance, does not release their images in public domain, or any free license. This means that images from space almost always come from NASA, giving the viewers a sense that NASA is producing more in space than any other space agency.


[Wikimedia office address]

[Wikimedia logo]

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization that runs Wikipedia and other freely licensed websites.

Content: Pete's versionEdit

Wikipedia is one of a growing number of projects in which the fundamental approach is, "how can we best share information?" instead of "how can we effectively control information?" This collaborative method requires that we set clear expectations about how our content may be reused. Wikipedia thus requires a radically different approach than that taken by more traditional projects.

The concept of a free license is central to establishing a shared understanding, among the millions of people who write and read our material, of how to work together and how to treat one another's work.

This pamphlet will help you understand how free licences help a project like Wikipedia, and introduce some core concepts relating to their use.

Questions and answersEdit

What is a free license?Edit

The person who creates the work is the owner of that copyright -- which literally means "the right to copy" -- unless he or she produced it on behalf of an organization, or legally transferred the right to somebody else.

The owner of the copyright may choose to give, or sell, the right to distribute copies under specific conditions; this is accomplished through a legal document known as a license, which is a contract specifying the nature of the agreement.

Licenses were originally conceived to limit the way a work can be shared; they are granted to specific people or organizations, under specific conditions. But Wikipedia is part of a growing movement to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing. In this movement, which has roots in the free and open source software movement that heavily influenced the evolution of the Internet and modern computing, a new kind of license is employed. These licenses, known as free licenses, are standard legal documents available to any copyright owner; they provide a straightforward method for copyright owners to encourage the free distribution of their works.

A copyright owner who wants to encourage the reuse of his or her work (for instance, for use on Wikipedia) will publicly offer anyone the opportunity to share it under the terms of one of these standard, public licenses.

Are there different types of free licenses?Edit

Many different free licenses exist. Some are designed for software code, others for written works; they also differ in the kind of provisions attached. The non-profit organization Creative Commons maintains several licenses. Creative Commons has provided a clear framework to describe the different kinds of conditions available:

  • Attribution (BY): Attribution to the original author, often in the form of an Internet link, is required when the work is republished (whether or not it is modified).
  • Share-alike (SA): Derivative works must use the same license as the original work. (This concept is also known as "copyleft.")
  • Non-commercial (NC): The work may not be used for commercial purposes. (Note: This condition is not acceptable on Wikipedia or related projects.)
  • No derivative works (ND): The work may not be changed. (Note: This condition is not acceptable on Wikipedia or related projects.)

Wikimedia contributors generally agree to release their work under the CC-BY-SA license, meaning that they attach the following conditions to reusing their work: attribution (in the form of a link to their user page), and any derivative works are released under the same license.

What can I upload?Edit

When uploading your own photographs, drawings, sound files, etc. to Wikimedia sites, you should choose the "CC-BY-SA" license. (see sidebar)

If you have found materials elsewhere — for instance, from a blog or an old book — you must ensure that they are in the public domain, or else released under certain specific licenses. Notably, you may not upload material that prohibits commercial use or the publication of derivative works. (see sidebar)

Can I reuse the content I find on Wikimedia projects?Edit

Yes! Wikimedia is dedicated to providing educational material that may be freely reproduced. Almost every article, picture, sound, or video you find on Wikimedia's sites may be reused for any purpose; you simply have to credit the original authors (typically accomplished by providing a web link to the original source), and release any derivative works you may produce under the same license (CC-BY-SA). If in doubt, look for information on a specific media file's page about its copyright status or license.

But isn't copyright important?Edit

Copyright and free licenses are legal tools that permit the authors of creative works to express how they want their works to be used. Using free licenses on a project like Wikipedia does not imply disrespect for the concept of copyright as a whole; on the contrary, many Wikipedians are happy to work on free content on this site, even as they make use of copyright protections in other areas of their lives. Some among us are strong advocates for broadly loosening copyright protection, while others pursue careers in which their ownership of their creative works is of central importance. You are welcome as a Wikipedian regardless of your political views about copyright!


Concepts sidebarEdit

The way Wikipedia and similar collaborative project employ free licenses involves several interrelated concepts. Below is a glossary of some important terms, and notes about how they relate to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.

U.S. lawEdit

The Wikimedia Foundation, and the web sites it operates, are in the U.S.; so U.S. law applies even to non-English Wikipedias. This leaflet reflects U.S. law. Your country's laws may impose additional restrictions.

Wikimedia policiesEdit

Our policies actually go further than the law, because of our charitable mission. Wikipedia, and all Wikimedia projects, are collaborations among tens of thousands of individuals; our desire to provide free content to everyone is expressed in a number of policies. Wikimedia policies often prohibit the inclusion of certain materials, even when the law would allow their inclusion.

Creative CommonsEdit

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. They do so by maintaining a variety clearly-documented licenses, which any author may apply when releasing their own work.

Public domainEdit

Some material is not protected by copyright at all. For instance, material that is:

  • Old (in the U.S., works first published before 1923, or whose author died more than 70 years ago)
  • Produced by certain government entities, like the U.S. Federal Government (under the common law principle that everyone's tax dollars produced it, rather than a specific organization)

The "Creative Commons Zero" (CC-0) license, is effectively the same as the public domain; the author chooses to allow anybody to do anything at all with the the work.

Derivative worksEdit

If you publish something that incorporates public domain or freely-licensed material, it's known as a derivative work. (If you publish something based on copyright-protected work, that's known as illegal.)

Because it is fundamentally a collaborative and ongoing project, all contributions to Wikipedia must permit the publication of derivative works.

If your version adds original creative work, you can license the resulting work however you like (including full copyright protection), unless the original free license carried a "share alike" provision, or prohibits derivative works explicitly.

Fair useEdit

Wikimedia policies prohibit the republication of many things, even in cases where the law is more permissive. You have likely seen many materials published elsewhere — on blogs or on YouTube, for instance — under the doctrine of fair use; but this sort of use is not generally permissible on Wikimedia projects.

Even if a work is under full copyright protection, republishing it for certain purposes is permissible under U.S. law, and in many other jurisdictions. For instance, a music review on a blog might include a short sample of a song; or a book review in a magazine might include an image of the book's cover.

Under the policies of Wikipedia and related projects, though, including works under a "fair use" provision is generally not acceptable. (The English language Wikipedia, unlike most other language versions, has adopted policies that do permit fair use in some specific cases.) Ideally, project contributors will find or produce free content rather than resorting to the fair use principle; this keeps the legal status of our content simpler, and permits readers to reproduce it more freely.

Back cover: further readingEdit

I'm ready to start uploading!Edit

  • Guillaume's comic for image uploading
  • Creative Commons web site
  • OTRS email address
  • Wikipedia articles and/or policy pages

I'm inspired. I want more background!Edit

  • Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig
  • The Cathedral and the Bazaar
  • The Wikipedia Revolution by Andrew Lih

[Wikimedia office address]

[Wikimedia logo]

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization that runs Wikipedia and other freely licensed websites.