Free culture is a current of thought that promotes freedom in the distribution and modification of creative works based on the principle of free content to distribute or modify creative works and works, using the Internet as well as other media. It is a movement that counters copyright restrictive measures, which several members of the movement claim also hinder creativity.
Free culture is made up of four streams of thought: the public domain, Copyleft, Creative Commons Licenses, and free software. Works in the public domain can also use free formats.
Free Culture is also the title of Lawrence Lessig’s book, published in 2004. Today, the expression is synonymous with many other movements, including the hacker, the copyleft movement, among many others.
In ancient times there were no copyright, all documents existed in the public domain and all people could copy and quote texts without any impediment. This practice allowed many documents to be preserved from the burning of books by emperors and authoritarian governments. It was not until the end of 1710 that copyright laws were created, thus giving rise to the development of the history of copyright that began with rights and monopolies over the printing of books.
After the creation of copyright, most countries had a duration of these rights of 50 years. In 1998, the United States Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton. The legislation extends copyright protection for a further twenty years, resulting in a guaranteed global copyright term of seventy years after the creator’s death. The bill was heavily pressured by companies like Disney, and dubbed the Mickey Mouse Protection Act. Lawrence Lessig asserts that copyright is an obstacle to producing culture, sharing knowledge and innovating technologically, and that these private interests are opposed to the common good. Lessig traveled throughout the country in 1998, giving hundreds of speeches on college campuses and spreading the word about the movement. This experience led to the founding of the first Students for Free Culture chapter of Swarthmore College.
In 1999, Lessig challenged the Bono Act, taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite his firm conviction for victory, and citing simple constitutional language about the “limitations” of copyright terms, Lessig got only two votes in favor: that of Judges Stevens and Breyer.
In 2001, Lessig initiates Creative Commons, a “some rights reserved” alternative to the existing “all rights reserved” method of copyright.
Definition of freedom
In free culture we find various levels of freedom. We have works in the public domain, which have unlimited freedoms, works under Creative Commons licenses, which reserve some freedoms, and we also have free software, which is explained below.
The public domain has always existed throughout the more than 100 millennia that humanity has, until three centuries ago when copyright appeared.
Even though copyrights exist, they have a limited validity depending on the country of publication, which varies between 5 and 7 decades. So most works published before 1940 today are in the public domain. Many authors of works from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have decided to publish their works in the public domain instead of publishing them with copyright.
Creative Commons is an English-language website created by Lawrence Lessig, where you can find a list of licenses that allow us to share under various conditions, and also offers an online search of various Creative Commons projects.
Within the free culture movement, Creative Commons has been criticized for its lack of standards of freedom. Therefore, some within the movement only take into account some Creative Commons licenses to be truly free based on the definition of free cultural works. Creative Commons licenses may or may not have some copyright.
Creative Commons, a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Stanford University and a prominent figure in the free software movement. He wrote a book called Free Culture, which provides arguments in favor of the free culture movement and crystallizes the genesis of Creative Commons, whose mission would be to create a series of standardized licenses for artistic and cultural works, which allow the author to reserve only some rights over his work, as opposed to “all rights reserved” copyright.
These manifestations of Free Culture have allowed a greater control of the creators on their works and a better access for all the people to these intellectual goods under non-restrictive standards and for it, initiatives directed to the promotion of this philosophy have advanced specific projects directed to the development and knowledge of activities under these free permissions.
It can be differentiated from the original philosophy of free software because some Creative Commons licenses prevent the right to make derivative works or commercial uses there is no free culture. Others use the term free more laxly, even when they include limitations on transforming works or trading in them. Even so, the Creative Commons attribution license allows commercial copies as long as the original license is maintained, which allows the work to continue to exist always free and open for later use by other artists.