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Free culture

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Free Culture is a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works, using the Internet as well as other media.

The movement objects to overly restrictive copyright laws, or completely reject the concepts of copyright and intellectual property, which many members of the movement also argue hinder creativity. They call this system "permission culture". Common free-culture practices are online collaboration, collaborative editing and collaborative learning. Free-culture idealists also want quality education to be accessible to all.

See also: copyleft, infosocialism, infoanarchism.


The organization commonly associated with free culture is Creative Commons (CC), founded by Lawrence Lessig. Lessig is a law professor at Stanford University and a prominent figure in the free software movement. He wrote a book called Free Culture, which provides many arguments in favor of the free culture movement.

The student organization is sometimes confusingly called "the Free Culture Movement," but that is not its official name. The organization is a subset of the greater movement.

Free Software Foundation[edit]

The free culture movement takes the ideals of free software movement and extends them from the field of software to all cultural and creative works. At the beginning, Richard Stallman (founder of the Free Software Foundation and the free software movement) supported the Creative Commons, but at some point he rejected it.[1]


Wikimedia's projects, such as the popular Wikipedia, which are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and different Creative Commons licences, arguably constitute the largest single free culture project.

Based on ideas of the free culture movement, Wikimedia founder Jimmy Wales also has announced ten challenges for the movement in general with A Free Culture Manifesto at the Wikimania 2005.

According to Jimmy Wales, those 10 things that should be free within the next decade are:

  1. Encyclopedia — in all languages; Wikipedia
  2. Dictionary — in and for all languages; Wiktionary
  3. Curriculum — in every language and for every grade; Wikibooks, Wikiversity
  4. Music — Wikimedia Commons
  5. Art — Wikimedia Commons
  6. Free file formats
  7. Maps — Wikimedia Commons
  8. Product identifiers
  9. TV listings
  10. Communities

Former board member and trustee Tim Shell, however, asserted that the Wikimedia Foundation's use of free content was not meant to be an ideological position;[2]

Anarchopedia uses completely free by default. However, material from Wikipedia used on AP is of course still subject to its licencing. A short list can be seen on Anarchopedia's own licencing agreement, "For those who care about capitalist values"

See also[edit]


  1. interview for LinuxP2P.and Also"I no longer endorse Creative Commons. I cannot endorse Creative Commons as a whole, because some of its licenses are unacceptable. It would be self-delusion to try to endorse just some of the Creative Commons licenses, because people lump them together; they will misconstrue any endorsement of some as a blanket endorsement of all. I therefore find myself constrained to reject Creative Commons entirely" See, "In order to save the village, we had to destroy it", and "Throwing the baby out with the bathwater as a moral stand"
  2. Tim Shell. Should we be value-neutral outside the scope of our essential mission?. Wikimedia Meta-wiki. URL accessed on 2007-09-19. Whether or not this is so, Shell has not shown it. Furthermore, "It was assumed..." and onwards is no longer an assertion, but speaking in the past tense as though relating historical fact. Add to this the rhetoric used, and Shell's position stops being an appeal to continuity and begins to be an appeal for change, with attempts to support it with an invented version of history, to boot. "For example, should we have an official position on the free culture movement? Wikimedia is part of that movement, but I would say this is so because of practical considerations, rather than ideological ones. It was assumed that people would be more willing to contribute to Wikipedia if they knew their work could not be seized and owned by someone else, and it was decided that all contributions would be licensed accordingly." However, there are no licenses that impart ownership. 'Seized' also seems an inadequate description of the use of free content. The entire purpose of licences, in fact, is to allow lesser amounts of control than ownership, and there are several degrees more restrictive licenses on the way to ownership than WP's, just as there are several degrees more free on the way to completely free.

External links[edit]

  • is a project of building and promoting a free culture community online.
This article contains content from Wikipedia. Current versions of the GNU FDL article Free_Culture_movement on WP may contain information useful to the improvement of this article WP