The Libre Wikipedia entry lives on

Posted on 7 January 2015


A couple of years ago, I wrote my first and only Wikipedia article – on libre (surprise, surprise). After a while it was taken down for not being encyclopaedic in style or substance, which I can see. But I still think it’s a useful piece of work, and so I’m glad that KTucker is continuing to work on it here: It is much changed from what I wrote, but has plenty of good stuff (I particularly think that the Related Concepts section is useful).

I also wanted to preserve it here, just in case. I’m not sure that all the HTML code will work, but here it is:

Libre /ˈlbrə/ is a loan word in English, borrowed from French and Spanish, used to describe something as being “free”, in the sense of “having freedom” or “liberty”. It is used in English is to distinguish the two meanings of free: free as in freedom (libre) from free as in free of charge (gratis).

Historically the word has been borrowed from Romance languages, usually to refer to free will or freedom of expression in some aspect of the lending culture (e.g. vers libre in French poetry).

In the 1990s, libre was proposed as an alternative term for free software which avoided the ambiguity in the word “free” in English[1]. The word gained some acceptance in the software community, though the terms “free software” and “open source software” remain dominant. “Free” and “open” have both been rigorously defined in the free software and the open source definitions which have formed the basis of similar definitions in the realms of education, knowledge and culture.

The word “libre” is now used in discourses requiring an unambiguous adjective meaning “free as in freedom”, often concerning one or more of the following: open source or open source software, free software, the free software movement or the free culture movement, open and libre knowledge.

In these contexts, “libre” encompasses the four essential freedoms defined in the free software definition, and is used to describe works which may be used, modified, copied and shared without permission from the copyright holder.

Public copyright licenses that grant these freedoms (libre licences) typically require attribution for contributors and may include copyleft terms that ensure these essential freedoms remain in future derivative works. Works that are in the public domain are also considered libre[2][3].

The word “libre” has also been recommended as an alternative for “open” when the core freedoms apply[4].

Examples of terms that use “libre” in this way include libre software, FLOSS (free/libre and open source software), libre knowledge, libre resources and libre works.

The antonym “non-libre” (or proprietary) is used to describe works released under licences which deny users at least one of the essential freedoms. For example, licences that forbid commercial use or derivative works are non-libre, as are works restricted by patents or trademarks.


Libre comes from the Latin word līber, via the French and Spanish libre; it shares that root with liberty. It denotes “the state of being free”, in the sense of “having freedom” or “liberty”. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) describes libre as obsolete[5], but the word has come back into limited use[6]. Its primary function in English is to serve as an adjective describing something as being free as in freedom (libre), irrespective of whether or not it is free of charge (gratis).

In other languages[edit]

Many Romance languages have separate words for libre and gratis avoiding the ambiguity of the word “free” in English. In these languages, libre (Spanish and French) and equivalents such as libero (Italian) and Livre (Portuguese), descend from the Latin līber (“free” in the liberty sense). The latin word gratis is the root of its equivalent in those languages: gratis (Spanish), gratuit (French), gratuito (Italian) and grátis (Portuguese).

Libre, gratis, free and open in some Romance languages [7]
Language Libre, libre software, etc. Gratis (from the Latin grātīs) Free (of charge), freeware Open, open source software, etc.
Root līber (Latin) grātīs (Latin) From Middle English fre, from Old English frēo, Proto-Germanic *frijaz, from Proto-Indo-European *prei-. aperto (Latin)
French libre, logiciel libre, FLOSS gratis gratuit, logiciel gratuit, freeware ou gratuiciel open source ou code source ouvert or FLOSS
Spanish libre, software libre gratis gratuito, feminine gratuita, freeware (software gratis) Código abierto
Italian libero, software libero, contenuto libero gratis, gratuito freeware aperto, contenuto aperto (open content)
Portuguese livre, software livre grátis, gratuito Software gratuito ou freeware Código aberto
Esperanto libera, Libera programaro donace, senkosta or senpaga aperta, Malfermkoda programaro (not closed)

The ambiguity is not unique to English however. In Filipino, the word “libre” (borrowed from Spanish) has the same cost/freedom ambiguity as the English word “free”. Instead, the term “Malayang sopwer” is recommended[8][9].

Some members of the Indian free software community use the term “swatantra software”[10] (स्वतंत्र सॉफ्टवेयर), borrowing a word from Sanskrit, rather than “muphta sŏphṭavēyara” (मुफ्त सॉफ्टवेयर, free software) which can also imply software gratis. However, the Sanskrit word has more specific connotations of independence rather than the general notion of freedom, and for this reason the Free Software Foundation recommends[8] the terms “mukta sŏphṭavēyara” (मुक्त सॉफ्टवेयर) for libre software and “mufta sŏphṭavēyara” (मुफ़्त सॉफ्टवेयर) for gratis software. In Hindi there is also a transliteration of the term freeware into phrīvēyara (फ्रीवेयर).


Although use of libre in English to distinguish free/libre from free/gratis is relatively recent, the concept of works that are free of permission restrictions is as old as print itself. The Diamond Sutra, the world’s oldest dated printed book, includes the sentence:

Reverently [caused to be] made for universal free distribution by Wang Jie on behalf of his two parents on the 13th of the 4th moon of the 9th year of Xiantong [i.e. 11th May, AD 868][11]

Similarly, the concept of non-libre works is not new. Examples include esoteric and secret works restricted to initiates such those associated with mystery religions and martial arts. The reasons and means of restriction have varied over time according to political and technical circumstances.

Alexander Hume, Hymnes, or sacred songs, sig. C1v, 1st edition, 1599 (1 vol.).

Historically, the word libre has been borrowed from Romance languages, usually to refer to free will[12][13] or freedom of expression in some aspect of the lending culture (e.g. vers libre in French poetry).

“Such thinges as are within the vse of free will and Lybre arbitrement” (Lewes Lewkenor, 1600)[13]

Contemporary use of the word libre is mostly associated with liberation from restrictions on usage and sharing of works which are subject to copyright and other legal and technical limitations. Works include knowledge and cultural resources such as works of art, writing, education, music, software and other resources, typically in digital forms which are easily copied and distributed.

Vers libre[edit]

Main article: vers libre

Vers libre[14], a term borrowed from French which circulated in English in the early 1900s, refers to poetic forms created in 19th century France which liberated themselves from the rules (i.e. meter patterns, rhyme, etc.) of contemporary traditional forms[15].

Vers libre, had hardly been heard of outside of France[16] until T. E. Hulme and F. S. Flint shared their knowledge thereof in 1909 with the Poets Club in London[17] which later became the heart of the Imagist movement[18].

Through Flint’s advocacy of the genre[19], vers libre influenced Imagism in the discovery of new forms and ryhthms[20]. Imagism, in the wake of French Symbolism (i.e. vers libre of French Symbolist poets[21]), was the wellspring out of which the main current of Modernism in English flowed[22], which T. S. Eliot later identified as ‘the point de repere usually taken as the starting point of modern poetry’[23], as hundreds of poets were led to adopt vers libre as their medium[24].

Libre software[edit]

Since its inception in 1983, the free software community has been concerned with the rise of proprietary software and the threat it poses to the free software culture of cooperation and sharing. At the same time, community members need to engage in professional software development and provision of related services without compromising these values.

An alternative to “free” in the “free software” label is required to avoid associations which surface on account of its ambiguity (free/gratis suggests devoid of value to some), and thereby gain greater acceptance in the commercial world.

In the early to mid 1990s, alternatives were discussed within the free software community[1], and the word “libre” emerged as a popular choice. Terms such as “libre software“, “software libre” and FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) subsequently gained some acceptance and have persisted. The terms software libre and FLOSS have been used by the European Commission[25][26] and “Libre” has become popular in the naming of libre software projects (e.g. LibreOffice, ProjectLibre, LibreSSL, …).

In these contexts, the meaning of the word libre, and the concept of libre licensing, were clearly defined and understood well before the word was adopted.

Libre definition[edit]

The adopted meaning of “libre”, as it is currently used, was first formalised in the free software definition published by the Free Software Foundation in 1986.

Although limited to software, the four core freedoms defined therein formed the basis for various definitions emanating from the free culture movement. These include definitions of libre knowledge [27] and free cultural works[28].

Free/libre software definition generalised to libre knowledge and cultural works.
Freedom # Free Software definition Libre Knowledge definition Free Cultural Works definition
0 The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose. The freedom to use the work for any purpose. The freedom to use the work and enjoy the benefits of using it.
1 The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish. Access to the source code is a precondition for this. The freedom to study its mechanisms, to be able to modify and adapt it to their own needs. The freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it.
2 The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor. The freedom to make and distribute copies, in whole or in part. The freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression.
3 The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others. By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

A program is free software if users have all of these freedoms.

The freedom to enhance and/or extend the work and share the result.

Freedoms 1 and 3 require free file formats and free software as defined by the Free Software Foundation.

A knowledge or learning resource is free if users have all of these freedoms.

The freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works.

In order to be recognized as “free” under this definition, a license must grant [these] freedoms without limitation.


The free music symbol, signifying a lack of copyright restrictions on music.

In 1994[29], Ram Samudrala published the Free Music Philosophy. Mirroring the free software movement, it called for artists to allow their songs and compositions to be distributed with fewer copyright restrictions.

The term “libre music“, or “free music” when ‘free as in freedom’ is clear from the context, refers to music or representations thereof released under libre licences which grant listeners and musicians the freedom to listen to, mix (or otherwise use) the music, to copy, modify and share it in accordance with the applicable licence(s).

“Libre” has found its way into the naming of tools and projects concerned with enabling musicians (and listeners) to exercise these freedoms, and into the terminology used by some members of these communities., for example, is a music community web site which enables and encourages artists to share their music under libre licences; the site runs on libre software (GNU FM). Libre Music Production (LMP) is a community-driven online resource whose goal is to “aid making music with libre software”; community knowledge about how to do this is shared under a libre licence (Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International).

Open source and open content[edit]

Main articles: Open source and Open content

In 1998, the term open source software was suggested as a substitute for free software because it avoided the ambiguity of ‘free’ in English, was not as value-laden as the term free software, and was therefore more acceptable to the commercial software industry[30]. In that year, David A. Wiley coined the term OpenContent to describe both a particular licence and the broader concept of non-software “open” works. Ironically, the OpenContent License is non-libre on account of restrictions on commercial use[31].

You may not charge a fee for the OC itself. You may not charge a fee for the sole service of providing access to and/or use of the OC via a network (e.g. the Internet), whether it be via the world wide web, FTP, or any other method.

“Open content” has since come to describe a broader class of content without conventional copyright restrictions. The openness of content can be assessed under the ‘5Rs Framework’ based on the extent to which it can be retained, reused, revised, remixed and redistributed by members of the public without violating copyright law[32]. Unlike open source and free/libre content, there is no clear threshold that a work must reach to qualify as ‘open content’.

The open source movement and its off-shoots (e.g. open education and open knowledge) emphasise pragmatics such as the benefits of peer production, whereas the free software movement and aligned branches (e.g. elements of the free culture movement such as Students for Free Culture and proponents of libre knowledge) place greater value on ethics, freedom and social solidarity[33][34][35].

The free culture movement[edit]

Main article: Free culture movement

In reaction to the United States Congress passing the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998, academic and political activist Lawrence Lessig travelled the country giving hundreds of speeches at college campuses expounding the view that copyright is an obstacle to cultural production, knowledge sharing and technological innovation. In addition, Lessig published several books [36], presented at various conferences and international events[37][38], and founded the Creative Commons in 2001. These activities sparked the free culture movement and, with the release of the first set of Creative Commons copyright licences in December 2002, provided a foundation for its sustainability and impact[39].

One of the more active manifestations of this movement, Students for Free Culture, advocate use of libre licences (i.e. licences which are compatible with the definition of free cultural works), and are active in discussions discouraging the use of non-libre licences such as Creative Commons licenses with restrictions on commercial use or on composing derived works[40].

Libre resources[edit]

The term “libre resources” refers to resources represented on a device or medium such as files in an open/free format containing text, an image, sound, multimedia, etc. or combinations of these, accessible with free software, and released under a license which grants users the freedom to access, read, listen to, watch, or otherwise experience the resource; to learn with, copy, perform, adapt and use it for any purpose; and to contribute and share enhancements or derived works[41].

Libre knowledge[edit]

Main article: Libre knowledge

Libre knowledge is knowledge released in such a way that

users are free to read, listen to, watch, or otherwise experience it; to learn from or with it; to copy, adapt and use it for any purpose; and to share the work (unchanged or modified).

Whilst shared tacit knowledge is regarded as implicitly libre, (explicit) libre knowledge is defined[42] as a generalisation of the libre software definition (see above).

Knowledge is taken to include data, information, software and other resources used to represent and communicate knowledge.

The vision of the Wikimedia Foundation,

“Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment”

and the success of Wikipedia, along with that of free/libre and open source software as a whole, are often cited as shining examples of libre knowledge and commons-based peer production[43].

Libre content[edit]

Main articles: Free content and Open knowledge

Free content, libre content, or free information, is any kind of non-software and non-data work, such as artwork, or other creative content that meets the free cultural works definition[44]. Free documentation[45] is a term used by the Free Software Foundation to describe libre content that supports software such as user manuals. Open content has also been used to describe these works, but it has come to be used to describe works with any added permissions over the copyright status quo.

Libre content[46] avoids this ambiguity. The four freedoms that must be guaranteed by free content are adapted from the four freedoms Richard Stallman called for in software.

Open data[edit]

Main article: Open data

Open data describes data which is freely available to everyone to use and republish without violating copyright law or sui generis database rights. Libre data per se has not been formally defined. Its meaning is implied in the libre knowledge definition as data which may be copied, modifed and shared in the same way as free software or other libre resources.

Free, libre and open-source software[edit]

The concept of libre works arose with Richard Stallman’s description of free software in 1985 and was codified in the 1986 free software definition. Libre software remain some of the most well known and successful examples of libre works, and are widely used in the community.

Open source hardware and design[edit]

RepRap general-purpose 3D printer that not only could be used to make structures and functional components for open-design projects but is itself a libre[47] project.

Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design[48].

In terms of licensing, some open-source hardware projects simply use existing, free and open-source software licenses[49], or one of several new licenses designed to address issues specific to hardware designs[50].

Despite superficial similarities to software licenses, most hardware licenses are fundamentally different: by nature, they typically rely more heavily on exceptions to patent law than on copyright law. Whereas a copyright license may control the distribution of the source code or design documents, a patent license may control the use and manufacturing of the physical device built from the design documents. This distinction is explicitly mentioned in the preamble of the TAPR Open Hardware License:

“… those who benefit from an OHL design may not bring lawsuits claiming that design infringes their patents or other intellectual property.”

TAPR Open Hardware License[51]

The Defensive Patent License (DPL), released in November 2014 in Berkeley, California[52] is aimed at protecting “innovators by networking patents into powerful, mutually-beneficial legal shields that are 100% committed to defending innovation”[53].

The term or label “libre hardware” is used with the implication of applying the same freedoms associated with libre software to hardware[54].

Free file formats[edit]

Main article: Free format

A free or libre file format is a published specification for storing digital data not encumbered by any copyright, trademark, patent or other restriction.[55][56][57].

Free/libre protocols and open standards[edit]

Main articles: Free protocol and Open standard

Libre protocols are communications protocols without legal or technical restrictions. Open standards are less strictly defined, but by some definitions the term describes technical standards without legal restrictions[57].

Free/libre network services[edit]

Although there is no formal universally agreed upon definition, free/libre network services are generally understood to refer to web services available with the same freedoms of libre software extended to this type of resource. For a web or network service to qualify as libre, the underlying data, formats, protocols, software and information resources generated and shared would all have to be libre. In addition, certain other criteria would need to be met beyond the core freedoms such as user privacy and net neutrality[58].

Libre licences[edit]

Libre licences are licences pertaining to copyright in which the copyright owner has granted the freedoms specified in the definitions of libre software, libre knowledge and libre cultural works. A libre resource (one so-licensed or in the public domain) is free of any restrictions which might prevent users from being able to exercise these freedoms (such as DRM or patent-encumbrance). For example, of the still active Creative Commons licences, Creative Commons Attribution, Attribution-ShareAlike and Zero are libre licences.

Share-alike or copyleft[edit]

The copyleft symbol

Main article: Copyleft
Further information: Share-alike

Copyleft describes a requirement on some libre licences that copies and modifications of the original work must be available under the same or similar licence. In this way, copyleft licences guarantee that all modifications and extensions of a libre work will be free as well.[59] The GNU General Public License was the first copyleft licence and remains the most commonly used. When a libre licence has a share-alike term, it is a copyleft licence. For example, the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence is a copyleft licence.

Copyleft licences are also described as reciprocal or (pejoratively) as viral licences. One reason given for their use is that they are capable of ‘growing the commons’, by encouraging future works to be libre to take advantage of existing libre resources.[4]

Permissive or copyfree[edit]

The copyfree symbol

Main article: Copyfree

Permissive libre, copyfree, copycenter or academic licences are those libre licences which do not require derivative works to be licensed under the same licence as the original work. They also typically do not have other requirements that are common in copyleft licences, like restrictions on formats that the work can be available in or whether Digital Rights Management may be used on the product. The Copyfree Standard Definition, used by the Copyfree Initiative to certify copyfree licenses, disallows licenses that come with such copyleft requirements from certification.

Public domain[edit]

A public domain symbol

Main article: Public domain

Public domain works are the least restricted libre works, although their status typically comes from the expiration of copyright rather than a libre licence. However, there are declarations that purport to place a work in the public domain or, in the case of the CC Zero licence, give it the same freedoms as works in the public domain.

Public domain libre software licences are sometimes described as beerware.

Statements and symbols[edit]

As well as the libre licences described above, which require copyright law to function, members of the libre movement have also created symbols and statements that purport to operate without a legal mechanism. Kopimi is described as ‘symbol showing that you want to be copied.’[60] Question Copyright artist-in-residence Nina Paley advocates Copyheart, a sentence intended to replace the usual copyright declaration on a work: ‘♡2010 by Author/Artist. Copying is an act of love. Please copy.’[61] Regarding the lack of legal certainty provided by the statement, Paley writes:

We really don’t think laws and “imaginary property” have any place in peoples’ love or cultural relations. Creating more legally binding licenses and contracts just perpetuates the problem of law—a.k.a. state force—intruding where it doesn’t belong. That ♡copyheart isn’t a legally binding license is not a bug—it’s a feature![61]

Likewise, the Libre Society drafted two libre ‘licences’, but celebrated their lack of legal power.[62] They are the Res Divini Juris Licence and the Res Communes Licence,[62] but neither is in common use. A “Libre Puro” licence and emblem were drafted and discussed in collaboration with the Free Knowledge Foundation. Neither the licence nor the emblem were officially launched or are in common use.

Cultural significance[edit]

The loanword libre has usually entered the English language as part of a technical term in connection with exposure to foreign cultures. The specific reference points have typically been fields of activity where the foreign culture has a dominant role. Examples include cante libre (free song, Spanish), vers libre (free verse, French, see the History section above), and Lucha libre (free wrestling, Spanish). In the relevant communities exposed to these terms, libre is understood to mean free as in freedom, and the terms are frequently used in those communities without translation.

Lucha libre[edit]

The term Lucha libre (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈlutʃa ˈlibɾe]) was originally used in the same way as the English term “freestyle wrestling[63], an amateur wrestling style without the restrictions of Greco-Roman wrestling. Nowadays it refers exclusively to the professional form. The style developed in Spanish speaking countries and rose to prominence most notably in Mexico[64][65][66].

Outside of Mexico Lucha Libre has transcended the language barrier and crossed over into popular culture, especially in movies (e.g. Nacho Libre) and television (e.g. Los Luchadores, ¡Mucha Lucha!).

Lucha libre, its wrestlers (luchadors) and masks have inspired or are featured in other areas of pop culture such as mainstream advertising (e.g. in Canada, Telus‘s Koodo Mobile Post Paid cell service uses a cartoon lucha libre wrestler as its spokesperson/mascot) and comics (e.g. Sonambulo, El Campeon and challengers in The Amazing Joy Buzzards, Lucha Master in the anime Air Master).

Many fighting video games have featured characters based on luchadors, featuring both the masked aspects and the different wrestling style of Lucha Libre compared to traditional professional wrestling[67].

Lucha libre has served as inspiration for products, advertising and activism. Examples include Nike‘s line of lucha libre inspired athletic shoes[68], Coca-Cola‘s Blue Demon Full Throttle energy drink named after the luchador Blue Demon, Jr.[69], and the wearing of lucha libre inspired masks by members of the Russian feminist punk-rock collective Pussy Riot and supporters[67].

Depictions of luchadores are often used as symbols of Mexico and Mexican culture in non-Spanish speaking cultures.

Libre in popular music[edit]

Popular music is another channel by which words and phrases may cross language and cultural divides. Several albums with title tracks containing the word libre have achieved international acclaim and some have been nominated for Grammy Awards[70].

Some of these albums or songs are clearly about freedom[71], while the association is less obvious in others[72].

Libre manifestos and declarations[edit]

With the tendency to emphasise ethics and social solidarity, rather than the pragmatics highlighted by open source, libre communities have from time to time released manifestos declaring their views, motives and intentions. Examples include The Libre Society Manifesto, Hipatia’s First and 2nd Manifestos, the Libre Communities Manifesto[41] and Declaration[73].

Underpinning these declarations is a rejection of the dominant model encoded in the legal system which treats digital works as if they were ownable physical objects. All express concern about the power of organisations and authorities to restrict access to and control the use of non-rivalrous digital cultural and knowledge resources through the prevailing legal system. They expound the value of universal access, freedom and sharing in bringing about a better world by empowering people to participate. Where intentions and actions are stated, these are around educating society on the value of this type of freedom and developing libre resources and tools for editing and sharing them.

Related concepts[edit]

Liberated resources[edit]

Liberated software is software formerly published under a proprietary license but later released with the source code and a more liberal license. While such software typically becomes libre software, open source software or public domain, this is not always the case and some restrictions may apply. In some cases, the company continues to publish proprietary releases alongside the non-proprietary version.

Similarly, “liberated knowledge” or “liberated cultural resources”, etc. refer to proprietary resources previously not universally available, or restricted in use via price or legal barriers, which have since been re-released without those restrictions. The restrictions are usually lifted via copyright. For example, the copyright expires, or the copyright holder re-releases the resource under a Creative Commons licence. However, for some resources, lifting of patent restrictions may also be required. Mechanisms for protection against patent restrictions include promises from patent holders (which are often received with some skepticism), patent pools and use of licences which address patents such as the Defensive Patent License.

For software, IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony founded the Open Invention Network (OIN) in 2005. OIN is a company that acquires patents and offers them royalty free “to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux operating system or certain Linux-related applications”[74].

It should be noted that while acknowledging that patents may be appropriate in some industries, many of the libre persuasion question their validity in fields such as software, their utility in encouraging innovation, and actively oppose the patent system where appropriate[75].

Open educational resources[edit]

There are competing definitions of open educational resources, but they describe at least resources that are accessible for no charge to students and educators, and typically under a public copyright licence that permits the resource to be shared and adapted.

As with open access, narrower definitions of open educational resources do exist. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation definition describes open educational resources as either “resid[ing] in the public domain or […] released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others.”[76] Under this definition, all open educational resources would qualify as libre.

In practice, however, many open educational resources—even those under public copyright licences—are non-libre. MIT OpenCourseWare and most of the learning resources on Coursera and other MOOCs, for example, are under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence.

Open access[edit]

Main article: Open access

In 2008, Peter Suber and Stevan Harnad, members of the open access community, proposed the use of the terms ‘gratis open access’ and ‘libre open access’ to resolve confusion within the open access community between resources that were open because they were free of price restrictions and those that were open because they were free of price and some permission restrictions.[77]

Significantly, this definition of libre open access covered works for which any amount of permissions restrictions had been lifted. This definition breaks from the established use of the term libre to refer to free content and free software, where a specific threshold of permission must be reached.

The definition of open access reached in the Budapest, Bethesda and Berlin statements (referred to collectively as the ‘BBB Definition’)[78] specifies the permission barriers that must be lowered for a work to be considered open access:

By “open access” to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited. (Budapest Open Access Initiative statement)[78]

[A work is open access where the copyright holder has given general permission to] copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship. (Bethesda and Berlin statements)[78]

All open access works that meet the BBB definition would qualify as libre. However, in the years following the BBB statements, some writers used the term “open access” in the BBB sense while others used it for works that were merely gratis or free of price restrictions. When Harnad wanted to write about all-rights-reserved gratis articles, he was faced with the option of referring to them as “open access” (in contravention of the BBB definitions) or redefining “open access” to include non-libre works.

The compromise arrived at by Suber and Harnad was to identify two classes of open access: gratis open access, which is merely free of charge, and libre open access, which is free of charge as well as free from one or more permission restrictions. However, the standard definition of libre requires that a work be free from a particular set of permission restrictions; some works that qualify as libre open access would not qualify as libre (for example, those with a Creative Commons NonCommercial or NoDerivatives licence term).

Suber continues to support the use of the Creative Commons Attribution licence for articles, a libre licence in every sense of the word.[79]

Creative Commons[edit]

Main article: Creative Commons

Lawrence Lessig, founder of the Creative Commons, maintains that freedom means different things to different people and through the Creative Commons developed a range of licences enabling creators (e.g. academics, artists, authors, readers, educators, learners, musicians, etc.) to indicate the uses and freedoms they would like to allow[80].

Two of the active Creative Commons licences, Attribution and Attribution-ShareAlike, are libre licences marked as ‘approved for free cultural works’. The retired ShareAlike 1.0 Generic and the Creative Commons Zero deed are also libre. The four remaining main licences are non-libre on account of restrictions on commercial use or on making derived works.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Quo vadis, libre software?, Jesús M. González-Barahona, v0.8.1, work in progress, September 2004. Archived on 25 December 2012.
  2. ^ “Public domain – Definition of Free Cultural Works”. Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  3. ^ Free Software Foundation, Inc. “Various Licenses and Comments about Them – GNU Project”. Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  4. ^ a b Kim Tucker. “Say ‘Libre. Free Knowledge Foundation. Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  5. ^, OED definition of libre: “Obs. Of the will: Free”.
  6. ^ Libre appears in few English dictionaries. The Onelook dictionary website finds about 5 monoglot English dictionaries including “libre”; about 30 include “gratis”.
  7. ^ Sources include: Translations of the term “free software”, Libre Emblem Translations and various web translation tools.
  8. ^ a b Recommended by the Free Software Foundation in Translations of the term “free software”.
  9. ^ “Re: Free Software, some thoughts”. My suspicion is that if RMS were Filipino, he would have used Malayang Software to avoid the confusion regarding economics v. liberty. 
  10. ^ “FSF-India’s welcome page”. Think of it as swatantra software 
  11. ^ Fotopoulou Sophia. “The Diamond Sutra: The World’s Earliest Dated Printed Book”. Newsfinder. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  12. ^ Alexander Hume, Hymnes, or sacred songs, sig. C1v, 1st edition, 1599 (1 vol.).
  13. ^ a b Lewes Lewkenor‘s 1600 translation of A. de Torquemada‘s Spanish Mandeuile or The garden of curious flowers (Salamanca, 1570).
  14. ^ Pondrom, Cryrena The Road from Paris, French Influence on English Poetry 1900-1920 Cambridge University Press 1974 ISBN 978-0-521-13119-3
  15. ^ Scott, Clive, Vers libre : the emergence of free verse in France, 1886-1914 Clarendon Press, Oxford ISBN 978-0-19-815159-3
  16. ^ Aldington, Richard, A Young American Poet The Little Review, March 1915.
  17. ^ Pondrom, Cryrena The Road from Paris, French Influence on English Poetry 1900-1920 Cambridge University Press 1974 ISBN 978-0-521-13119-3
  18. ^ F. S. Flint, The History of Imagism Essay in The Egoist May 1915.
  19. ^ Jones Peter (editor) Introduction to Imagist Poetry Penguin Books ISBN 0-14-042147-5.
  20. ^ Review of Imagist Anthology 1930 Times Literary Supplement June 1931.
  21. ^ Pratt William Introduction to The Imagist Poem, modern poetry in miniature Uno Press 1963 edition ISBN 978-0-9728143-8-6.
  22. ^ Pratt William Preface to The Imagist Poem, modern poetry in miniatureUno Press 1963 edition ISBN 978-0-9728143-8-6.
  23. ^ Eliot T. S. Address To Criticize the Critic to Washington University June 1953, Faber & Faber 1965.
  24. ^ Untermeyer, Louis, Preface to Modern American Poetry Harcourt Brace& Co New York 1950
  25. ^ “European Working Group on Software Libre”. 
  26. ^ In projects such as the FLOSS project, FLOSSPols, FLOSSWorld, etc.
  27. ^ “Libre Communities”. Free Knowledge Foundation. Archived from the original on 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  28. ^ Also known as free content. Libre cultural works definition.
  29. ^ Samudrala, Ram (1994). “The Free Music Philosophy”. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  30. ^ “History of the OSI”. 
  31. ^ OpenContent License (OPL) Version 1.0, July 14, 1998. Archived on 6 December 1998.
  32. ^ Wiley, David. “Open Content”. Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  33. ^ Why Open Source misses the point of Free Software by Richard Stallman.
  34. ^ Elliott, M. S.; Scacchi, Walt (2008). “Mobilization of software developers: The free software movement”. Information Technology & People 21 (1): 4. doi:10.1108/09593840810860315. 
  35. ^ Tucker, K. 2007. Say Libre, WikiEducator and (archived on 17/5/2009).
  36. ^ Most notably Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (2000) ISBN 978-0-465-03913-5, The Future of Ideas (2001) ISBN 978-0-375-50578-2, Free Culture (2004) ISBN 978-1-59420-006-9 and Code: Version 2.0 (2006) ISBN 978-0-465-03914-2.
  37. ^ Most notably 2002-07-24 “Free Culture” keynote from OSCON 2002, Wikimania and iCommons Summits.
  38. ^ For a list see Lessig Links which includes links to repositories of Lawrence Lessig’s work and appearances.
  39. ^ History of the Creative Commons.
  40. ^ See for example Stop the inclusion of proprietary licenses in Creative Commons 4.0., Students for Free Culture, 2012, and response by Timothy Vollmer, 2012. Stop the inclusion of proprietary licenses in Creative Commons 4.0., Students for Free Culture, August 2012.
  41. ^ a b Tucker, K. 2005. “Free Knowledge Communities” brochure, Meraka Institute, CSIR, South Africa.
  42. ^ The definition was first formulated in 2005 in preparation for Free Knowledge Workshops convened by the Meraka Institute managed by the CSIR in South Africa and periodically refined to stabilise on this version. The definition also appears in the associated Libre Knowledge pages on WikiEducator.
  43. ^ See for example Libre Knowledge Communities and Vision in the Say Libre essay, and several works by Yochai Benkler such as The Wealth of Networks.
  44. ^
  45. ^ See for example, the GNU Free Documentation License.
  46. ^ Libre communities tend to avoid the word “content” and are more likely to refer to libre manuals, or libre resources, etc.
  47. ^ All of the designs produced by the project are released under a libre software licence, the GNU General Public License: RepRap licence page.
  48. ^ See the proposed Open Source Hardware (OSHW) Definition.
  49. ^ From OpenCollector’s “License Zone”: GPL used by Free Model Foundry and ESA Sparc; other licenses used by Free-IP Project, LART (defunct), GNUBook (defunct).
  50. ^ For a nearly comprehensive list of licenses, see OpenCollector’s “license zone”
  51. ^ TAPR Open Hardware License
  52. ^ Defensive Patent License Launch.
  53. ^ The Defensive Patent License (DPL).
  54. ^ See for example Libre Hardware and Libre Hardware Network
  55. ^ “Free File Format Definition”. Retrieved 2007-02-11. 
  56. ^ Libre file format (or free file format) (WikiEducator).
  57. ^ a b On account of restrictions certain standards bodies impose on the use of standards, some libre communities, most notably the free software community, avoid the term “standard” and refer instead specifically to free or libre file formats and protocols. In cases where a libre format or protocol has become a de facto “standard”, extensions and variations should be clearly indicated so that the resulting format is clearly distinct from that standard.
  58. ^ See for example the wiki, ….
  59. ^ “What is Copyleft?”. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  60. ^ “kopimi”. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  61. ^ a b “Copyheart”. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  62. ^ a b Berry and Moss. “The politics of the libre commons”. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  63. ^ Dave Meltzer (October 1, 2008). Wrestling Observer Newsletter. 
  64. ^ Reseñas Deportivas (breve historia) (Spanish)
  65. ^ By El hijo del Santo (February 9, 2012). “Los personajes en la historia de la lucha libre mexicana (Spanish)”. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  66. ^ “The History of Lucha Libre”. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  67. ^ a b The main article Lucha libre expands and outlines further examples.
  68. ^ Halfhill, Matt (April 29, 2008). “Lucha Libre Air Force Ones”. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  69. ^ “Coca-Cola Introduces New Full Throttle Blue Demon Energy Drink”. November 9, 2006. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  70. ^ Examples include Libre (Marc Anthony album) and Libre (Jennifer Peña album).
  71. ^ See for example the translated lyrics of the title track “Libre” from the album “Libre” by Sébastien Izambard, and those of the title track of the album “Libre” by Nino Bravo.
  72. ^ For example, the Libre (Marc Anthony album) does not include a track “Libre”.
  73. ^ The Declaration on Libre Knowledge was first published in 2007 on on the web site of the Free Knowledge Foundation and on WikiEducator.
  74. ^ “Open Invention Network formed to promote Linux and spur innovation globally through access to key patents”. Open Invention Network. November 10, 2005. Retrieved April 17, 2006. 
  75. ^ See for example Fighting Software Patents – Singly and Together by Richard Stallman
  76. ^ Atkins, Daniel E.; John Seely Brown; Allen L. Hammond (February 2007). “A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement: Achievements, Challenges, and New Opportunities”. Menlo Park, CA: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. p. 4. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  77. ^ Gratis and libre open access
  78. ^ a b c Peter Suber. “Praising progress, preserving precision”. SPARC Open Access Newsletter issue 77 (24 September 2004). Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  79. ^ Peter Suber. “Peter Suber on the future of open access (transcript)”. Joho the Blog (26 February 2009). Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  80. ^ Interview with Lawrence Lessig, WIPO Magazine, February 2011.

External links[edit]

Category:Copyright law Category:Intellectual property activism Category:Public copyright licenses

Posted in: About Libre