Free content

Free content, or free information, is any kind of functional work, artwork, or other creative content that meets the definition of a free cultural work.[1] A free cultural work is one which has no significant legal restriction on people's freedom: to use the content and benefit from using it, to study the content and apply what is learned, to make and distribute copies of the content, to change and improve the content and distribute these derivative works.[2][3] Although different definitions are used, free content is legally similar if not identical to open content. An analogy is the use of the rival terms free software and open source which describe ideological differences rather than legal ones.[4] Free content encompasses all works in the public domain and also those copyrighted works whose licenses honor and uphold the freedoms mentioned above. Because copyright law 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. Though a work which is in the public domain because its copyright has expired is considered free, it can become non-free again if the copyright law changes.Traditional copyright Main article: Copyright copyright symbol Copyright is a legal concept, which grants the author or creator of a work legal rights to control the duplication and public performance of his or her work. In many jurisdictions, this is limited by a time period after which the works then enter the public domain. 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 sage of the authors content, or limit their use to fair use. Secondly it limits the use of content whose author cannot be found.[6] Finally it creates a perceived barrier between authors by limiting derivative works, such as mashups and collaborative content[7] [edit]Public domain Main article: Public domain public domain symbol 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 utilize the work, without legal ramifications. A work in the public domain or released under a permissive licence may be referred to as "copycenter".[8] [edit]Copyleft Main articles: Copyleft and Share-alike copyleft symbol 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.[9] 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 works 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, 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.