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Free content

The meaning of «free content»

Free content, libre content, or free information is any kind of functional work, work of art, or other creative content that meets the definition of a free cultural work.[1]

A free cultural work is, according to the definition of Free Cultural Works, one that has no significant legal restriction on people's freedom to:

Free content encompasses all works in the public domain and also those copyrighted works whose licenses honor and uphold the freedoms mentioned above. Because the Berne Convention in most countries by default grants copyright holders monopolistic control over their creations, copyright content must be explicitly declared free, usually by the referencing or inclusion of licensing statements from within the work.

Although there are a great many different definitions in regular everyday use, free content is legally very similar, if not like an identical twin, to open content. An analogy is a use of the rival terms free software and open-source, which describe ideological differences rather than legal ones.[3][4][5] For instance, the Open Knowledge Foundation's Open Definition describes "open" as synonymous to the definition of free in the "Definition of Free Cultural Works" (as also in the Open Source Definition and Free Software Definition).[6] For such free/open content both movements recommend the same three Creative Commons licenses, the CC BY, CC BY-SA, and CC0.[7][8][9][10]

Copyright is a legal concept, which gives the author or creator of a work legal control over the duplication and public performance of their work. In many jurisdictions, this is limited by a time period after which the works then enter the public domain. Copyright laws are a balance between the rights of creators of intellectual and artistic works and the rights of others to build upon those works. During the time period of copyright the author's work may only be copied, modified, or publicly performed with the consent of the author, unless the use is a fair use. Traditional copyright control limits the use of the work of the author to those who either pay royalties to the author for usage of the author's content or limit their use to fair use. Secondly, it limits the use of content whose author cannot be found.[11] Finally it creates a perceived barrier between authors by limiting derivative works, such as mashups and collaborative content.[12]

The public domain is a range of creative works whose copyright has expired or was never established, as well as ideas and facts[nb 1] which are ineligible for copyright. A public domain work is a work whose author has either relinquished to the public or no longer can claim control over, the distribution and usage of the work. As such, any person may manipulate, distribute, or otherwise use the work, without legal ramifications. A work in the public domain or released under a permissive license may be referred to as "copycenter".[13]

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