Free as in Culture: a possible definition of Free Cultural Works

Benjamin Mako Hill, a known Debian GNU/Linux developer, and Erik Möller, formerly Chief Research Officer at Wikimedia Foundation and currently Wikipedia author, almost one year ago joined to write a Free Content and Expression Definition. Two days ago a diverse group of writers released the first version of the “Definition of Free Cultural Works.”

Benjamin, started thinking about the issue almost two years ago, explaining that unlike Free Software, Creative Commons in his opinion failed to set any standard of freedom. Then he argued that:

Creative Commons and the free culture movement were struggling to build a cohesive freedom movement in the way that free and open source software had succeeded in doing by never stopping to define the ground rules of the commons movement.

I argued that Free Software built a movement around calls for essential freedoms and against the actions of software producers who failed to live up to this standard. On the other hand, Creative Commons has argued for “some rights reserved” but never explained which rights were unreservable. In the process, they’ve done the invaluable service of creating a stable of powerful, internationalized licenses. But they failed to build the type social movement that some of us wanted. While this was never their goal, it left some people unsatisfied.

He later made it more clear with a second version:

Whether in unison or cooperating in separate groups, it is time for those those of us that feel strongly about freedom to discuss, decide, and move forward with our own free information movement built upon a standard of freedom. When we have defined free information in terms of essential freedoms, a subset of Creative Commons works and a subset of Creative Commons licenses will provide tools and texts through which a social movement can be built.

Then Larry Lessig introduced him to Erik Möller, who was planning on launching the same project, and from theit collaboration came up the Free Content and Expression Definition and, just few days ago along with other the release 1.0 of the Definition of Free Cultural Works.

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