Free license

Free license

A free license is a license agreement which contains conditions permitted to the user from the holder on a specific list of uses for his work, which gives him four major freedoms.

Without a special license, these uses are prohibited by the laws of copyright.

Most free licenses are worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, and perpetual (see Copyright durations).

Free licenses are often the basis of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding projects.

The invention of the term "free license" and the focus on the rights of users were connected to the traditions of the hacker culture of the 1970s and the social and political free software movement (since 1980). Since then, ideas of free licenses spread into different spheres of society. Open source, free culture, anticopyright, Wikimedia Foundation projects, and pirate parties are connected with free licenses.


  • Philosophy 1
  • Classification and licenses 2
    • By freedom 2.1
    • By type of content 2.2
    • By authors 2.3
  • Problems 3
  • By countries 4
    • USA 4.1
    • European Union 4.2
      • Germany 4.2.1
  • External links 5


Classification and licenses

Network of licenses (and years of license creation).

By freedom

By type of content

By authors


By countries

Creative Commons has affiliates in more than 100 jurisdictions all over the world.


European Union

EUPL was created in the European Union.


External links

  • Various Licenses and Comments about Them - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation
  • License information - Debian
  • Open Source Licenses
  • Licenses - Definition of Free Cultural Works
  • proposed Open Source Hardware (OSHW) Statement of Principles and Definition v1.0