Nina Paley: Four freedoms of free culture

Nina Paley:

"Free Software’s fundamental document is Richard Stallman’s Free Software Definitions (FSD) [3]. At its core, the FSD lists four freedoms:

  • 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;

Fortunately the Four Freedoms of Free Software easily apply to Culture:

    • the freedom to use the work and enjoy the benefits of using it
    • the freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it
    • the freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression
    • the freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works

Software IS culture. Many in the Free Software Movement draw a false distinction between "utility" and "aesthetics," claiming software is useful and culture is just pretty or entertaining. But you never know how a cultural work might prove useful to someone else down the line. If you treat it as non-useful, and restrict it to prevent other uses, then of course it won’t be useful – you’ve restricted its utility through an unFree license.