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Free content, libre content, or free information is any kind of functional work,
work of art A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creation of aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the ph ...

work of art
, or other creative
content Content or contents may refer to: Media * Content (media), information or experience provided to audience or end-users by publishers or media producers ** Content industry, an umbrella term that encompasses companies owning and providing mass m ...
that meets the definition of a
free cultural work
free cultural work
.


Definition

A ''free cultural work'' is, according to the
definition of Free Cultural Works The Definition of Free Cultural Works is a definition of free content Free content, libre content, or free information is any kind of functional work, work of art A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art obje ...

definition of Free Cultural Works
, one that has no significant legal restriction on people's freedom to: *use the content and benefit from using it, *study the content and apply what is learned, *make and distribute copies of the content, *change and improve the content and distribute these derivative works. Free content encompasses all works in the public domain and also those
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
ed works whose
license A license (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. Cur ...

license
s honor and uphold the freedoms mentioned above. Because the
Berne Convention The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, usually known as the Berne Convention, is an international agreement A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law Inte ...

Berne Convention
in most countries by default grants copyright holders 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 Free content, libre content, or free information is any kind of functional work, work of art, or other creative Content (media and publishing), content that meets the definition of a Definition of Free Cultural Works, free cultural work. De ...

open content
. An analogy is a use of the rival terms free software and open-source, which describe ideological differences rather than legal ones. For instance, the
Open Knowledge Foundation Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) is a global, non-profit network that promotes and shares information at no charge, including both content and data. It was founded by Rufus Pollock Rufus Pollock (born 1980) is a researcher, activist and social e ...
'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 ''The Open Source Definition'' is a document published by the Open Source Initiative, to determine whether a software license can be labeled with the Open-source software, open-source certification mark. The definition was taken from the exact te ...
and
Free Software Definition The Free Software Definition written by Richard Stallman Richard Matthew Stallman (; born March 16, 1953), also known by his initials, rms, is an American free software movement The free software movement is a social movement A social move ...
). For such free/open content both movements recommend the same three
Creative Commons license A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright license A public license or public copyright licenses is a license by which a copyright holder as licensor can grant additional copyright permissions to any and all person ...
s, the CC BY, CC BY-SA, and CC0.


Legal matters


Copyright

Copyright is a legal concept, which gives the author or creator of a work legal control over the
duplication Duplication, duplicate, and duplicator may refer to: Biology and genetics * Gene duplication, a process which can result in free mutation * Chromosomal duplication, which can cause Bloom and Rett syndrome * Polyploidy, a phenomenon also known a ...
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 The public domain consists of all the creative work A creative work is a manifestation of creativity, creative effort including Work of art, fine artwork (sculpture, paintings, drawing, Sketch (drawing), sketching, performance art), dance, wr ...

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 Fair use is a doctrine Doctrine (from la, Wikt:doctrina, doctrina, meaning "teaching, instruction") is a codification (law), codification of beliefs or a body of teacher, teachings or instructions, taught Value (personal and cultural), prin ...
. 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. Finally it creates a perceived barrier between authors by limiting derivative works, such as mashups and collaborative content.


Public domain

The public domain is a range of creative works whose
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
has expired or was never established, as well as ideas and factsThe copyright status of uncreative aggregates of basic data may differ by region, for the USA see '' Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service'', for
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
, see ''
Telstra v Desktop Marketing Systems ''Telstra Corporation Limited v Desktop Marketing Systems Pty Ltd'' is a 2001 decision of the Federal Court of Australia The Federal Court of Australia is an Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovere ...
''
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 A permissive software license, sometimes also called BSD-like or BSD-style license, is a free-software Free software (or libre software) is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and ...
may be referred to as "copycenter".


Copyleft

Copyleft is a play on the word copyright and describes the practice of using copyright law to remove restrictions on distributing copies and modified versions of a work. The aim of copyleft is to use the legal framework of copyright to enable non-author parties to be able to reuse and, in many licensing schemes, modify content that is created by an author. Unlike works in the public domain, the author still maintains copyright over the material, however, the author has granted a non-exclusive license to any person to distribute, and often modify, the work. Copyleft licenses require that any
derivative work In copyright law Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to copy and distribute a creative work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, educational, o ...
s be distributed under the same terms and that the original copyright notices be maintained. A symbol commonly associated with copyleft is a reversal of the
copyright symbol The copyright symbol, or copyright sign, (a circled capital letter C for copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives peopl ...

copyright symbol
, facing the other way; the opening of the C points left rather than right. Unlike the copyright symbol, the copyleft symbol does not have a codified meaning.


Usage

Projects that provide free content exist in several areas of interest, such as software, academic literature, general literature, music, images, video, and
engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more speciali ...

engineering
. Technology has reduced the cost of publication and reduced the entry barrier sufficiently to allow for the production of widely disseminated materials by individuals or small groups. Projects to provide free literature and multimedia content have become increasingly prominent owing to the ease of dissemination of materials that are associated with the development of computer technology. Such dissemination may have been too costly prior to these technological developments.


Media

In media, which includes textual, audio, and visual content, free licensing schemes such as some of the licenses made by
Creative Commons Creative Commons (CC) is an American non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a colle ...

Creative Commons
have allowed for the dissemination of works under a clear set of legal permissions. Not all Creative Commons licenses are entirely free; their permissions may range from very liberal general redistribution and modification of the work to a more restrictive redistribution-only licensing. Since February 2008, Creative Commons licenses which are entirely free carry a badge indicating that they are "approved for free cultural works".
Repositories Repository may refer to: * ''The Repository'', a newspaper in Ohio * ''Ackermann's Repository'', a British periodical published 1809–1829 * Repository (version control), a data structure which stores metadata for a set of files or directory stru ...
exist which exclusively feature free material and provide content such as photographs,
clip art Clip art (also clipart, clip-art), in the graphic arts, is pre-made images used to illustrate any medium. Today, clip art is used extensively. Clip art comes in many forms, both electronic and printed. However, most clip art today is created, di ...
, music, and literature. While extensive reuse of free content from one website in another website is legal, it is usually not sensible because of the
duplicate content Duplicate content is a term used in the field of search engine optimization Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website A website (also written as web site) is a co ...
problem.
Wikipedia Wikipedia ( or ) is a free content Free content, libre content, or free information is any kind of functional work, work of art A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creati ...

Wikipedia
is amongst the most well-known databases of user-uploaded free content on the web. While the vast majority of content on Wikipedia is free content, some copyrighted material is hosted under fair-use criteria.


Software

Free and open-source software Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, hardware, from which the system is built ...
, which is also often referred to as
open source software Open-source software (OSS) is computer software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Co ...
and
free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty ...

free software
, is a maturing technology with major companies using free software to provide both services and technology to both end-users and technical consumers. The ease of dissemination has allowed for increased modularity, which allows for smaller groups to contribute to projects as well as simplifying collaboration. Open source development models have been classified as having a similar peer-recognition and collaborative benefit incentives that are typified by more classical fields such as scientific research, with the social structures that result from this incentive model decreasing production cost. Given sufficient interest in a software component, by using
peer-to-peer Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing or networking is a distributed application Distributed computing is a field of computer science that studies distributed systems. A ''distributed system'' is a system whose components are located on different co ...

peer-to-peer
distribution methods, distribution costs of software may be reduced, removing the burden of infrastructure maintenance from developers. As distribution resources are simultaneously provided by consumers, these software distribution models are scalable, that is the method is feasible regardless of the number of consumers. In some cases, free software vendors may use peer-to-peer technology as a method of dissemination. In general, project hosting and code distribution is not a problem for the most of free projects as a number of providers offer them these services free.


Engineering and technology

Free content principles have been translated into fields such as engineering, where designs and engineering knowledge can be readily shared and duplicated, in order to reduce overheads associated with project development.
Open design The open-design movement involves the development of physical products, machines and systems through use of publicly shared design information. This includes the making of both free and open-source software (FOSS) as well as open-source hardwar ...
principles can be applied in engineering and technological applications, with projects in
mobile telephony Mobile telephony is the provision of telephone services A telephone is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical ...
, small-scale manufacture, the automotive industry, and even agricultural areas. Technologies such as distributed manufacturing can allow
computer-aided manufacturing Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) also known as Computer-aided Modeling or Computer-aided Machining is the use of software to control machine tools and related ones in the manufacturing of work pieces. This is not the only definition for CAM, b ...
and
computer-aided design Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computers (or ) to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. This software is used to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve com ...
techniques to be able to develop small-scale production of components for the development of new, or repair of existing, devices. Rapid fabrication technologies underpin these developments, which allow end-users of technology to be able to construct devices from pre-existing blueprints, using software and manufacturing hardware to convert information into physical objects.


Academia

In academic work, the majority of works are not free, although the percentage of works that are open access is growing rapidly.
Open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis o ...

Open access
refers to online
research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue. A research project may be an expa ...

research
outputs that are free of all restrictions on access (e.g. access tolls) and free of many restrictions on use (e.g. certain copyright and license restrictions).Suber, Peter
"Open Access Overview"
Earlham.edu. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
Authors may see open access publishing as a method of expanding the audience that is able to access their work to allow for greater impact of the publication, or may support it for ideological reasons. Open access publishers such as
PLOS PLOS (for Public Library of Science; PLoS until 2012 ) is a nonprofit open-access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken ...
and
BioMed Central BioMed Central (BMC) is a United Kingdom-based, for-profit scientific open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. ...
provide capacity for review and publishing of free works; though such publications are currently more common in science than humanities. Various funding institutions and governing research bodies have mandated that academics must produce their works to be open-access, in order to qualify for funding, such as the US
National Institutes of Health The National Institutes of Health (NIH ) is the primary agency of the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government of the United States ...
,
Research Councils UK Research Councils UK, sometimes known as RCUK, was a non-departmental public body which coordinated science policy in the United Kingdom from 2002 to 2018. It was an umbrella organisation that coordinated the seven separate research councils that ...
(effective 2016) and the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
(effective 2020). At an institutional level some universities, such as the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, aft ...
, have adopted open access publishing by default by introducing their own mandates. Some mandates may permit delayed publication and may charge researchers for open access publishing.
Open content Free content, libre content, or free information is any kind of functional work, work of art, or other creative Content (media and publishing), content that meets the definition of a Definition of Free Cultural Works, free cultural work. De ...

Open content
publication has been seen as a method of reducing costs associated with information retrieval in research, as universities typically pay to subscribe for access to content that is published through traditional means whilst improving journal quality by discouraging the submission of research articles of reduced quality. Subscriptions for non-free content journals may be expensive for universities to purchase, though the article are written and peer-reviewed by academics themselves at no cost to the publisher. This has led to disputes between publishers and some universities over subscription costs, such as the one which occurred between the University of California and the Nature Publishing Group. For teaching purposes, some universities, including , provide freely available course content, such as lecture notes, video resources and tutorials. This content is distributed via Internet resources to the general public. Publication of such resources may be either by a formal institution-wide program, or alternately via informal content provided by individual academics or departments.


Legislation

Any country has its own law and legal system, sustained by its legislation, a set of law-documents — documents containing statutory obligation rules, usually
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
and created by
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
s. In a , each law-document is published as open media content, is in principle free content; but in general, there are no explicit licenses attributed for each law-document, so the license must be interpreted, an ''
implied license An implied license is an unwritten license which permits a party (the licensee) to do something that would normally require the express permission of another party (the licensor). Implied licenses may arise by operation of law from actions by the ...
''. Only a few countries have explicit licenses in their law-documents, as the UK's
Open Government Licence The Open Government Licence is a copyright licence for Crown Copyright works published by the UK government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United ...
(a compatible license). In the other countries, the ''implied license'' comes from its proper rules (general laws and rules about copyright in government works). The automatic protection provided by
Berne Convention The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, usually known as the Berne Convention, is an international agreement A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law Inte ...

Berne Convention
not apply to law-documents: Article 2.4 excludes the official texts from the automatic protection. It is also possible to "inherit" the license from context. The set of country's law-documents is made available through national repositories. Examples of law-document open repositories: LexML Brazil, Legislation.gov.uk,
N-Lex Eur-Lex (stylized EUR-Lex) is an official website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web pages and related content that is identified by a common domain name and published on at least one web server. Notable examples are ...
. In general, a law-document is offered in more than one (open) official version, but the main one is that published by a
government gazette A government gazette (also known as an official gazette, official journal, official newspaper, official monitor or official bulletin) is a periodical publication that has been authorised to publish public or legal notices. It is usually establis ...
. So, law-documents can eventually inherit license expressed by the repository or by the gazette that contains it.


Open content

Open content describes any
work Work may refer to: * Work (human activity) Work or labor is intentional activity people perform to support themselves, others, or the needs and wants of a wider community. Alternatively, work can be viewed as the human activity that cont ...

work
that others can copy or modify freely by attributing to the original creator, but without needing to ask for permission. This has been applied to a range of formats, including
textbooks A textbook is a book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical s ...
,
academic journals An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of w ...
,
films A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images. These imag ...
and
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...
. The term was an expansion of the related concept of
open-source software Open-source software (OSS) is computer software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Co ...
. Such
content Content or contents may refer to: Media * Content (media), information or experience provided to audience or end-users by publishers or media producers ** Content industry, an umbrella term that encompasses companies owning and providing mass m ...
is said to be under an
open license A free license or open license is a license agreement A license (American English) or licence (British English) is an official permission or permit to do, use, or own something (as well as the document of that permission or permit). A lice ...
.


History

The
concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas A mental representation (or cognitive representation), in philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relationship with the bo ...

concept
of applying free software licenses to content was introduced by Michael Stutz, who in 1997 wrote the paper
Applying Copyleft to Non-Software Information
for the
GNU Project The GNU Project () is a free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versi ...
. The term "open content" was coined by David A. Wiley in 1998 and evangelized via the
Open Content Project The Open Content Project was a project dedicated to free culture movement, free culture and Creative Commons. One goal was to Evangelization, evangelize the concept of open content. The project's Open Publication License, primarily designed and of ...
, describing works licensed under the
Open Content License The Open Content License is a share-alike The copyleft.html"_;"title="Creative_Commons_icon_for_Share-Alike,_a_variant_of_the_copyleft">Creative_Commons_icon_for_Share-Alike,_a_variant_of_the_copyleft_symbol Share-alike_is_a_Copyright.html" ;"ti ...
(a non-free share-alike license, see 'Free content' below) and other works licensed under similar terms. It has since come to describe a broader class of content without conventional copyright restrictions. The
openness Openness is an overarching concept or philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mi ...

openness
of content can be assessed under the '5Rs Framework' based on the extent to which it can be reused, revised, remixed and redistributed by members of the public without violating copyright law. Unlike free content and content under
open-source license An open-source license is a type of license A license (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the Eng ...
s, there is no clear threshold that a work must reach to qualify as 'open content'. Although open content has been described as a counterbalance to
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
, open content licenses rely on a copyright holder's power to license their work, as
copyleft Copyleft is the practice of granting the right to freely distribute and modify intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things ...

copyleft
which also utilizes copyright for such a purpose. In 2003 Wiley announced that the Open Content Project has been succeeded by Creative Commons and their licenses, where he joined as "Director of Educational Licenses". In 2005, the
Open IcecatOpen Icecat is an Open Content project under the Open Content License in which a worldwide open catalogue is created for multilingual Product information management. Editors are participating manufacturers. The users of the product content are ...
project was launched, in which product information for e-commerce applications was created and published under the Open Content License. It was embraced by the tech sector, which was already quite
open source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product. The open-source model is a decentralized softwa ...
minded. In 2006 the Creative Commons' successor project was the ''Definition of Free Cultural Works'' for free content, put forth by ,
Richard Stallman Richard Matthew Stallman (; born March 16, 1953), also known by his initials, rms, is an American free software movement The free software movement is a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of peo ...

Richard Stallman
,
Lawrence Lessig Lester Lawrence Lessig III (born June 3, 1961) is an American academic, attorney, and political activist. He is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the former director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard ...

Lawrence Lessig
,
Benjamin Mako Hill Benjamin Mako Hill is a free software activist, hacker A computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of o ...

Benjamin Mako Hill
, Angela Beesley, and others. The ''Definition of Free Cultural Works'' is used by the
Wikimedia Foundation Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (WMF, or simply Wikimedia) is an American foundation headquartered in San Francisco, California San Francisco (; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and ...
. In 2008, the Attribution and Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons licenses were marked as "Approved for Free Cultural Works" among other licenses. Another successor project is the
Open Knowledge Foundation Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) is a global, non-profit network that promotes and shares information at no charge, including both content and data. It was founded by Rufus Pollock Rufus Pollock (born 1980) is a researcher, activist and social e ...
, founded by
Rufus Pollock Rufus Pollock (born 1980) is a researcher, activist and social entrepreneur. He has been a leading figure in the global open knowledge and open data movements, starting with his founding in 2004 of the non-profit Open Knowledge Foundation Open ...

Rufus Pollock
in
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a university city and the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' ...

Cambridge
, in 2004 as a global non-profit network to promote and share open content and data. In 2007 the gave an ''Open Knowledge Definition'' for "content such as music, films, books; data be it scientific, historical, geographic or otherwise; government and other administrative information". In October 2014 with version 2.0 ''Open Works'' and ''Open Licenses'' were defined and "open" is described as synonymous to the definitions of open/free in the Open Source Definition, the Free Software Definition and the Definition of Free Cultural Works. A distinct difference is the focus given to the public domain and that it focuses also on the accessibility (
open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis o ...

open access
) and the readability (
open format An open format is a file format A file format is a way that information is encoded for storage in a . It specifies how s are used to encode information in a digital storage medium. File formats may be either or and may be either unpublis ...
s). Among several conformant licenses, six are recommended, three own (Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and Licence, Open Data Commons Attribution License, Open Data Commons
Open Database License The Open Database License (ODbL) is a copyleft Copyleft is the practice of granting the right to freely distribute and modify with the requirement that the same rights be preserved in derivative works created from that property. Copyleft in ...
) and the , , and Creative Commons licenses.


"Open content" definition

The website of the Open Content Project once defined open content as 'freely available for modification, use and redistribution under a license similar to those used by the open-source / free software community'. However, such a definition would exclude the Open Content License because that license forbids charging for content; a right required by free and open-source software licenses. The term since shifted in meaning. Open content is "licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities." The 5Rs are put forward on the Open Content Project website as a framework for assessing the extent to which content is open:
#Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage) #Reuse – the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video) #Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language) #Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup) #Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)
This broader definition distinguishes open content from open-source software, since the latter must be available for commercial use by the public. However, it is similar to several definitions for open educational resources, which include resources under noncommercial and verbatim licenses. The later '' Open Definition'' by the Open Knowledge Foundation define
open knowledge Open knowledge (or free knowledge) is knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that i ...
with open content and
open data Open Data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. The goals of the open-source data movement are similar ...

open data
as sub-elements and draws heavily on the Open Source Definition; it preserves the limited sense of open content as free content, unifying both.


Open access

"
Open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis o ...

Open access
" refers to toll-free or
gratis Gratis may refer to: * Gratis, Ohio, a village in Preble County, US * Gratis Township, Preble County, Ohio, US * Gratis Internet, a US referral marketing company * Free, meaning without charge. See Gratis versus libre See also

* Free (disambi ...
access to content, mainly published originally
peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field Field may r ...
scholarly journals. Some open access works are also licensed for reuse and redistribution (libre open access), which would qualify them as open content.


Open content and education

Over the past decade, open content has been used to develop alternative routes towards higher education. Traditional universities are expensive, and their tuition rates are increasing. Open content allows a free way of obtaining higher education that is "focused on collective knowledge and the sharing and reuse of learning and scholarly content." There are multiple projects and organizations that promote learning through open content, including OpenCourseWare,
Khan Academy Khan Academy is an American non-profit education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods ...
and the Saylor Academy. Some universities, like
MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private land-grant research university A research university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, hi ...

MIT
,
Yale Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
, and
Tufts Tufts University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two de ...
are making their courses freely available on the internet.


Textbooks

The textbook industry is one of the educational industries in which open content can make the biggest impact. Traditional textbooks, aside from being expensive, can also be inconvenient and out of date, because of publishers' tendency to constantly print new editions. Open textbooks help to eliminate this problem, because they are online and thus easily updatable. Being openly licensed and online can be helpful to teachers, because it allows the textbook to be modified according to the teacher's unique curriculum. There are multiple organizations promoting the creation of openly licensed textbooks. Some of these organizations and projects include the University of Minnesota's Open Textbook Library, Connexions, OpenStax College, the Saylor Academy, Open Textbook Challenge and
Wikibooks Wikibooks (previously called ''Wikimedia Free Textbook Project'' and ''Wikimedia-Textbooks'') is a wiki A wiki ( ) is a hypertext publication Collaborative editing, collaboratively edited and managed by its own audience directly using a w ...

Wikibooks
.


Licenses

According to the current definition of open content on the OpenContent website, any general, royalty-free copyright license would qualify as an open license because it 'provides users with the right to make more kinds of uses than those normally permitted under the law. These permissions are granted to users free of charge.' However, the narrower definition used in the Open Definition effectively limits open content to libre content, any free content license, defined by the Definition of Free Cultural Works, would qualify as an open content license. According to this narrower criteria, the following still-maintained licenses qualify: * Creative Commons licenses (only Creative Commons Attribution, Attribution-Share Alike and Zero) * Open Publication License (the original license of the Open Content Project, the Open Content License, did not permit for-profit copying of the licensed work and therefore does not qualify) * Against DRM license * GNU Free Documentation License (without invariant sections) * Open Game License (designed for role-playing games by Wizards of the Coast) * Free Art License


See also

*Free software movement *Freedom of information *Free education *Open publishing *Open-source hardware *Project Gutenberg * Digital rights * Open catalogue * Open-source model


Further reading

* * OECD – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development:
Giving Knowledge for free – The Emergence of Open Educational Resources
'. 2007, .


Notes


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Free Content Digital art Free content, Free culture movement Free software, Content Open content,