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There is no real or substantial Open Media movement yet. Our license is purposed to be for creative media (written, drawn, recorded, etc.) what the Open Souce movement is for software and code. As such, we should seek to translate the "four freedoms" of software by Richard Stallman [1] for use by the Open Media movement. The four freedoms of software are as follows:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose;
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs;
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor;
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits;

To adapt this model to Open Media, this could be translated to:

  • The freedom to use the work, for any purpose
  • The freedom to study the work, and adapt it to your needs
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
  • The freedom to alter the work, and release your changes to the public, so that the whole community benefits

Problems with existing "media" licenses[edit]

Existing licenses, such as the Creative Commons and GNU Free Documentation License have problems. These sections will outline them.

Problems with the GFDL[edit]

  • The GFDL was designed for "documentation". It would not be suitable for artwork or recorded video or sound.
  • Publishing is a nightmare under the terms of the GFDL. You are required to include the entire legal document if you distribute 100 or more copies, and this is a substantial burden.
  • There are many, many more "problems". To duplate them here would be redundant, as you can read them here.

Problems with the Creative Commons[edit]

  • Creative Commons has a wide range of messy "pick and choose" options. Many of these options are not free at all. Many Creative Commons licenses are not even compatible with each another.
  • The "removal clause" effectively allows any contributor to a wiki to have their contributions removed. (I still have to remove this from the SWPL, if we are to use that!)
  • Creative Commons is a non-motivated license that doesn't explicitly state that it is intended to promote an "Open Media" movement. Instead, each sub-license has different requirements which, as mentioned amove, results in an amalgamated mess wherein the Creative Commons movement as a whole can not be said to stand for anything at all.

More excellent points are made in the following articles:


What will we name the license?[edit]

I want to name our license the Open Media License and tailor it for general use (with specific attention paid to emerging creative forms, like the wiki). This license could have universal use.

The license would be designed to supply the four freedoms to any type of media, such as:

  • Books, articles, and other written material
  • Music and audio
  • Film and video
  • Art, drawings, comics, etc
  • Collaborative forms, such as Wikis
  • Etc.


Unlike licenses such as the GFDL, which are designed to be incompatible with other licenses, I would like the OML to be very "license friendly". The OML should allow similarly-licensed content to be cited or included in any OML work. Of course this doesn't mean such sections are themselves OML-licensed, but merely that they can be included in OML works with the proper boilerplate text; likewise, this allows OML material to be used in non-OML works (again, with the proper boilerplate), but does not make the OML material used subject to that license.

A special case of this: I would like for the license to also be compatible with other open software licenses. My specific reason for this is that the GPL and GFDL are not compatible; I would like it to be possible for programmers--I am one!--to be able to include open source lines of code in documentation that is licensed under the Open Media License. And vice-versa! This would be very helpful to the programming community.

The Requirements of our License[edit]

As previously implied, our license should be "as free as possible" in order to promove Open Media. We are motivated by a certain ethical standard to promote open freedoms, first set by the Open Souce/Free Software movement.

We will not be a confusing "pick and choose" model for our license. Therefore we need to solidify the core freedoms and restrictions of the license and make certain that they satisfy the four requirements of Open Media listed above.

Draft of freedoms and restrictions[edit]

  1. General Use
    1. Freedoms
      1. The license allows the work to be used for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, so long as the terms of the license are obeyed in full.
    2. Restrictions
      1. Any use, display, broadcast, or redistribution of the licensed work must be accompanied by the full text of the license and/or a permanent link to the license may be obtained.

      2. The license mandates that the original author(s) or source(s) be cited and/or linked to. (In wiki terms, if providing a full revision history is not possible, a link to the source of origin is sufficient.)
  2. Derivative Works
    1. Freedoms
      1. The license places no limitations on the creation of derivative works in any type of media whatsoever, so long as the terms of the license are obeyed in full.
    2. Restrictions
      1. Any derivative works of the original licensed material must be licensed under the same license. The derivative must also be accompanied by the license or a link to the license.

      2. The original author(s) or source(s) of the original work must be cited and/or linked to in the derivative work, unless the original author(s) or source(s) do not make such a requirement.
  3. Monetary Issues
    1. Freedoms
      1. It is permissible to charge a fee for redistributing the work.
    2. Restrictions
      1. You may not imply that you are selling the rights to the work itself unless you do, in fact, own all of the associated copyrights.

      2. The license does not grant or imply the rights to any trademarks. The issue of trademark use must be handled with the author(s) or originator(s).
  4. Other Aspects of the License
    1. The license will be designed to be as compact and human-readable as possible. One of the key disadvantage of licenses today is that they are difficult to read by non-lawyers. Simplicity should enable a more liberating use.

    2. The license will be designed to be non-ideological in tone (as opposed to the GFDL, which is very ideological [2]). This is to promote universal use of the license.