Definition of Free Cultural Works

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Definition of Free Cultural Works logo, selected in a logo contest in 2006.[1]

The Definition of Free Cultural Works is a definition of free content from 2006. The project evaluates and recommends compatible free content licenses.


The Open Content Project by David A. Wiley in 1998 was a predecessor project which defined open content. In 2003 Wiley joined the Creative Commons as "Director of Educational Licenses" and announced the Creative Commons and their licenses as successor to his Open Content project.[2][3]

Therefore, Creative Commons' Erik Möller[4] in collaboration with Richard Stallman, Lawrence Lessig, Benjamin Mako Hill,[4] Angela Beesley,[4] and others started in 2006 the Free Cultural Works project for defining free content. The first draft of the Definition of Free Cultural Works was published 2 April 2006.[5] The 1.0 and 1.1 versions were published in English and translated into several languages.[6]

The Definition of Free Cultural Works is used by the Wikimedia Foundation.[7] In 2008, the Attribution and Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons licenses were marked as "Approved for Free Cultural Works".[8]

Following in June 2009, Wikipedia migrated to use two licenses: the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike as main license, additionally to the previously used GNU Free Documentation License (which was made compatible[9]).[10] An improved license compatibility with the greater free content ecosystem was given as reason for the license change.[11][12]

In October 2014 the Open Knowledge Foundation's Open Definition 2.0 for Open Works and Open Licenses described "open" as synonymous to the definition of free in the "Definition of Free Cultural Works" (and also the Open Source Definition and Free Software Definition).[13] A distinct difference is the focus given to the public domain and that it focuses also on the accessibility ("Open access") and the readability ("open formats"). The same three creative commons licenses are recommended for open content (CC BY, CC BY-SA, and CC0[14][15][16]) as additionally three for open data intended own licenses, the Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and Licence (PDDL), the Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-BY) and the Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL).

"Free cultural works" approved licenses

  • Against DRM
  • BSD-like non-copyleft licenses
  • CERN Open Hardware License
  • CC0
  • Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)
  • Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
  • Design Science License
  • Free Art License
  • FreeBSD Documentation License
  • GNU Free Documentation License (without invariant sections)[17]
  • GNU General Public License
  • MirOS Licence
  • MIT License
  • Open Publication License


  1. ^ TrueLogo contest on (2006)
  2. ^ OpenContent is officially closed. And that's just fine. on (30 June 2003, archived)
  3. ^ Creative Commons Welcomes David Wiley as Educational Use License Project Lead by matt (June 23rd, 2003)
  4. ^ a b c "History - Definition of Free Cultural Works". Retrieved 2012-11-14.
  5. ^ "Revision history of "Definition" - Definition of Free Cultural Works". Retrieved 2012-11-14.
  6. ^ "Definition of Free Cultural Works". 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
  7. ^ "Resolution:Licensing policy". Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
  8. ^ "Approved for Free Cultural Works". Creative Commons. 2009-07-24. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
  9. ^ "FDL 1.3 FAQ". Retrieved 2011-11-07.
  10. ^ "Resolution:Licensing update approval - Wikimedia Foundation".
  11. ^ Wikipedia + CC BY-SA = Free Culture Win! on by Mike Linksvayer, June 22nd, 2009
  12. ^ Licensing update rolled out in all Wikimedia wikis on by Erik Moeller on June 30th, 2009 "Perhaps the most significant reason to choose CC-BY-SA as our primary content license was to be compatible with many of the other admirable endeavors out there to share and develop free knowledge"
  13. ^ Open Definition 2.1 on
  14. ^ licenses on
  15. ^ Creative Commons 4.0 BY and BY-SA licenses approved conformant with the Open Definition by Timothy Vollmer on (December 27th, 2013)
  16. ^ Open Definition 2.0 released by Timothy Vollmer on (October 7th, 2014)
  17. ^ licenses on

External links

Edited: 2021-06-18 15:09:49