Free Culture

The free culture movement is a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works in the form of free content by using the Internet and other forms of media. The movement objects to overly restrictive copyright laws. Many members of the movement argue that such laws hinder creativity. They call this system «permission culture». Creative Commons is a well-known website that Lawrence Lessig started. It lists licenses that permit sharing under various conditions and offers an online search of various creative-commons-licensed productions. With its ethos of free exchange of ideas, the free culture movement is of a whole with the free software movement. Richard Stallman, the founder of the GNU project and free software activist, advocates the free sharing of information.[clarification needed] He famously stated that free software means free as in “free speech,” not “free beer.”

Today, the term stands for many other movements, including hacker computing, the access to knowledge movement, and the copyleft movement.


Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Mountain View, California, the United States, devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright licenses known as Creative Commons licenses free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators. An easy-to-understand one-page explanation of ownership, with associated visual symbols, explains the specifics of each Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright but are based upon it. They replace individual negotiations for specific rights between copyright owner (licensor) and licensee, which are necessary under an «all rights reserved» copyright management with a «some rights reserved» management employing standardized licenses for re-use cases where the copyright owner seeks no commercial compensation. The result is an agile, low overhead, and cost copyright management regime, profiting copyright owners and licensees. Wikipedia is using one of its licenses.
Creative Commons licenses consist of four major condition modules: Attribution (BY), requiring attribution to the original author; Share Alike (SA), allowing derivative works under the same or a similar license (later or jurisdiction version); Non-Commercial (NC), requiring the work is not used for commercial purposes; and No Derivative Works (ND), allowing only the original work, without derivatives. These modules are combined to form six major licenses of the Creative Commons currently:

Attribution (CC BY)
Attribution Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)
Attribution No Derivatives (CC BY-ND)
Attribution Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC)
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA)
Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)

As of the current versions, all Creative Commons licenses allow the «core right» to redistribute a work for non-commercial purposes without modification. The NC and ND options will make a work non-free according to the Definition of Free Cultural Works.