Free Knowledge

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"Free Knowledge can be adquired freely, without requiring permission from anybody; it can be shared with others, it can be modified according to necessity, and it allows modifications to be distributed again for the community's benefit." (


Wouter Tebbens:

'Let us define Free Knowledge. The first definition was made for Free Software – a concrete and highly complex form of knowledge, by Richard Stallman in the early 1980′s. Based on that, similar definitions have been developed to cover a much wider area of knowledge. A very reputed one is the Free Cultural Works definition:

  • The freedom to use and perform the work: The licensee must allow to make any use, private or public, of the work. For kinds of works where it is relevant, this freedom should include all derived uses (“related rights”) such as performing or interpreting the work. There must be no exception regarding, for example, political or religious considerations.

  • The freedom to study the work and apply the information: The licensee must be allowed to examine the work and to use the knowledge gained from the work in any way. The license may not, for example, restrict “reverse engineering”.

  • The freedom to redistribute copies: Copies may be sold, swapped or given away for free, as part of a larger work, a collection, or independently. There must be no limit on the amount of information that can be copied. There must also not be any limit on who can copy the information or on where the information can be copied.

  • The freedom to distribute derivative works: In order to give everyone the ability to improve upon a work, the license must not limit the freedom to distribute a modified version (or, for physical works, a work somehow derived from the original), regardless of the intent and purpose of such modifications. However, some restrictions may be applied to protect these essential freedoms or the attribution of authors."


More Information

  1. Free Knowledge Foundation
  2. Also: Free Standards ; Free Software