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Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge

Citizens’ and artists’ Human Rights in the digital age

Immediate and urgent solutions

(Complete Version)

We, a broad coalition from over 20 countries, of hundreds of thousands of citizens, users, consumers, organizations, artists, hackers, members of the free culture movement, economists, lawyers, teachers, students, researchers, scientists, activists, workers, unemployed, entrepreneurs, creators…

We invite all citizens to make this Charter theirs, share it and put it into practice.

We invite all  governments, multinationals and institutions urgently to listen to it, understand it and enforce it.

Below you will found the Complete Version of the Charter.



1. Introduction

We are in the midst of a revolution in the way that knowledge and culture are created, accessed and transformed. Citizens, artists and consumers are no longer powerless and isolated in the face of the content production and distribution industries: now individuals across many different spheres collaborate, participate and decide. Digital technology has bridged the gap, allowing ideas and knowledge to flow. It has done away with many of the geographic and technological barriers to sharing. It has provided new educational tools and stimulated new possibilities for forms of social, economic and political organisation. This revolution is comparable to the far reaching changes brought about as a result of the printing press.


In spite of these transformations, the entertainment industry, most communications service providers, governments and international bodies still base their sources of profits and power on controling contents,tools and distribution channels, and on managing scarcity. This leads to restrictions on citizens’ rights to education, access to information, culture, science and technology; freedom of expression; inviolability of communications and privacy. The protection of private interests should not be allowed to hold back the development of society in general, above the public interest.

Today’s institutions, industries, structures or conventions will not survive into the future unless they adapt to these changes. Some, however, will alter and refine their methods in response to the new realities. And we need to take account of this.

Political and economic implications of free culture

Free culture (as in “freedom”, not as “for free”) dramatically enlarges the spaces for civic engagement. It expands the range of individuals and groups able to contribute to public debates. It is therefore  strengthening democracy at a time of crisis, just when stronger forms of democracy are urgently needed. Free culture is a precondition for freedom of expression, itself an essential pre-requisite of democracy. It helps to reduce the digital divide, thus enabling the democratic potential of the new technologies to be realised.

Free culture opens up the possibility of new models for citizen engagement in the provision of public goods and services. These are based on a ‘commons’ approach. ‘Governing of the commons’ refers to negotiated rules and boundaries for managing the collective production and stewardship of and access to, shared resources. Governing of the commons honours participation, inclusion, transparency, equal access, and long-term sustainability. We recognise the commons as a distinctive and desirable form of governing. It is not necessarily linked to the state or other conventional political institutions and demonstrates that civil society today is a potent force.

We recognize that this social economy, in addition to the private market, is an important source of value. The new commons revitalised through the digital technology (amongst other factors) enlarges what constitutes “the economy”. At present governments give considerable support to the private market economy; we urge them to give the same extensive support that they give to the private market to the commons. All that the commons needs to prosper is a level playing field.

The current financial crisis has shown the severe limits of some previous models. On the other hand, the philosophy of Free Culture, a legacy of the Free/libre and Open Source Software movement, is the  empirical proof that a new kind of ethics and a new way of doing business are possible. It has already created a new and workable form of production, based on crafts or trades, where the author-producer doesn’t lose control of the production process and can freed from production and distribution ntermediaries. This form of production is based on autonomous initiative in solidarity with others, on exchange according to each person’s abilities and opportunities, on the democratisation of knowledge, education and the means of production and on a fair distribution of earnings according to the work carried out.

We declare our concern for the well-being of artists, researchers, authors or other creative producers. In this Charter we propose a number of possibilities for collectively rewarding creation and innovation. Free/libre and Open Source Software, Wikipedia, free licensed Net Labels and book publishers, and many other examples show that the model of Free culture can sustain innovation and that knowledge monopolies are not necessary to produce knowledge goods. In cultural production, what is sustainable depends to a significant extent on the type of ‘ product’ (the costs of a film for example, are different from those of an online collaborative encyclopedia). Projects and initiatives based on free culture principles use a variety of ways of achieving sustainability. Some of these forms are consolidated. Some are still experimental. A widespread principle is that of combining several sources of finance. This has the added benefit of guaranteeing independence.

The economy models for sustaining cultural production include in between others: non-monetary donations and exchange (I.e. gift, time banking and barter); Direct financing (I.e.: Subscriptions and donations); Shared capital (I.e.: Matching Funds, Cooperatives of producers, interfinancing / social economy, P2P Banking, Coining virtual Money, Crowd funding, Open Capital, Community based investment cooperatives and Consumer Coops); Foundations guaranteeing infrastructure for the projects; Public funding  (I.e.: basic incomes, mutualized fundings, grants, awards, subsidies, public contracts and commissions); Private funding (I.e.: venture investment, shares, private patronage, business investment infrastructure pools); commercial activities (including goods and services) and combination of P2P distribution and low cost streaming. The combination of these options is increasingly viable both for independent creators and industry. There must be clear rules that promote public knowledge, protecting it from any forms of exclusive appropriation by anyone and thus preventing any restrictive monopolies or oligopolies that may merge from this appropriation.

The digital era holds the historic promise of increasing justice and of being rewarding for all.

This is the objective of the following proposals:


2. Legal demands

We have identified gaps in national regulations and international treaties regarding the dissemination of culture and knowledge, both in private, contractual relations and in international public policy. We suggest reforms necessary to overcome these problems. The conservative and defensive behaviour of the contents production and distribution industries has led to a situation where creators and their audiences are pitted against each other. This conflict benefits largely the media conglomerates and government organisations by giving them control over global flows of information at the expense of creators and consumers. This is detrimental to the public interest.


In this context the public interest is best served by supporting and ensuring continued creation of intellectual works of significant societal value, and to ensure all citizens have unfettered access to such works for a wide variety of uses.

A. Reverse Three-Step Test (Paradox on the Three Steps Test)

Innovation, creativity, and access to knowledge may only be limited or constrained when and if the three conditions below are met simultaneously:

  1. exceptional circumstances of public interest;
  2. when methods are used that do not undermine or discriminate against the use, transformation and dissemination of knowledge, creative works and technology infrastructures, services and software;
  3. when such restrictions do not violate human and civil rights in the information society and are not otherwise inconsistent with democratic culture.

B. Knowledge Commons and Public Domain

Non-copyrightable Works:

  1. There should be no copyright on laws, government reports, political documents and speeches, or regulatory compliance information.
  2. Sui generis database rights should not be introduced, and should be repealed in jurisdictions where they exist.

Public domain Works:

  1. There has to be a guarantee that all public domain works are accessible.
  2. Every jurisdiction should allow a work to be released directly in the public domain prior to the expiry of the general copyright term.
  3. The results of developments funded by public money should always be licensed under a free access, use and distribution license and all developed patents should be released under royalty free terms and free of any other restriction.
  4. Research funded through educational institutions should be published on an open access model. Policy makers should implement the recommendations of the Paris Accord on scholarly publishing.

Openly licensed Works:

Every legal system should facilitate and promote open licensing to the same extent as proprietary licensing.

Orphaned Works:

There should be freedom to use a copyrighted work if the copyright owner cannot be located after a due diligence search.

Freely available Works:

There should be no restriction of the freedom to access, link to and index any work that, although not openly licensed, is already freely accessible to the public online.

Proprietary Works:

Copyright term should not exceed the minimum Berne term. In the longer term, we support the reduction of existing copyright terms. Too long terms do not benefit consumers or authors.

C. Defending access to Technological Infrastructures and Net Neutrality

  1. Internet access is essential for learning and for the practical and meaningful exercise of freedom of expression and communication.
  2. Citizens and consumers are entitled to an Internet connection that enables them to send and receive content of their choice, use services and run applications of their choice, connect hardware and use software of their choice that do not harm the network.
  3. Citizens and consumers are entitled to an Internet connection that is free of any form of discrimination - whether blocking, limiting or prioritizing - with regard to type of application, service or content or based on sender or receiver address.
  4. IP addresses of citizens and consumers are potentially identifiable data and the data subject has a right of access to correct, delete, or prevent the transfer of their personal information.
  5. Filtering of Internet content is a threat to fundamental rights, and is an invalid, ineffective and disproportionate solution for enforcement. No limitation or filtering should be carried out without a prior judicial ruling.
  6. Citizens are entitled to access to a free, unlicensed band of the spectrum for digital communications, such as the analog TV range and, in general, at least a 25% of any new range of the spectrum that is released in its current use.

D. Rights in digital context:

Author rights, patents, royalties and similar creativity incentives (sometimes called “Intellectual Property”) should not be considered an end in itself, but rather a medium to promote public interest, innovation, access to science, technology and the arts.

Right to quote:

Quotation, defined as the extraction of a part of, but not the entirety, of a work must be defended in all cases as a vehicle for the democratic development of the information society. This must apply in all cases in which the material quoted has already been made public in advance, whether it is quoted for educational or scientific reasons, or for purely informational, creative purposes or any other purpose.

Private copying:

  1. The rights of the individual in the private sphere and for personal use should not be undermined by the exclusive rights of the author.
  2. There is no need for a copyright holder to authorise or be compensated for any reproduction, in any form, when dealing with works that have already been made public, when the reproduction is done for private use or sharing and when no direct or indirect economic profit is obtained from it.

Fair use:

  1. There should be no requirement to seek an author’s permission for the reproduction or dissemination of artistic, scientific or technical works that have already been presented publicly, when the purpose is educational, scientific research, information, satirical or incidental to the principal creative objective, as long there is attribution and all moral rights are respected.
  2. The defence of the right to private copying and fair use of works should be firm and absolute, given that copying is the very basis for learning and culture. Authors/creators are indebted to shared culture and for this reason their contributions to culture should not be subject to any form of compensation beyond commercial use of their work (sales, fees and royalties related to said sales or performances.).
  3. There should be a strong emphasis on defending the right to information.
  4. There should be a strong emphasis on preserving the right to parody.
  5. In addition, we subscribe to the delineated list of fair uses compiled in “Article 3-1 - General Limitations and Exceptions to Copyrights” of draft document Access to Knowledge 2005.
  6. Remedies should be limited to proven monetary damages for actual counterfeiting. Lost sales and statutory damages cannot be applied to private copying and personal use. Injunctions shall not be issued if they constitute a prior restraint.
  7. Non-Original or Creative Works: Facts and Works lacking in creativity (“a de minimus quantum of creativity”) should not be subject to copyright or copyright-like protections.

Freedom to innovate:

Freedom and innovation are not opposites of each other, but rather concepts that are strongly related. Repressive legal regimes that reduce freedom also tend to harm innovation. People need the freedom to change, modify, improve and test inventions, devices, and systems, and to freely engage in critical speech regarding such innovations.


Refer to A2K draft, Part4.

E. Stimulating Creativity and Innovation

We declare our concern for the well-being of artists and authors. We therefore propose various methods for collectively rewarding artistic creation and innovation with the following criteria:
  • There should be diverse sources of support for creative communities including commercial use, direct fiscal support by consumers and public investment
  • In order to promote the fare remuneration of artists, the role of intermediaries should all be limited. The role of currently existing intermediaries should be reduced to critical functions such as collecting usage data and the just distribution of renumerations to authors.

Author rights and royalties distribution:

  1. Creators should receive a fare reward for their work. In labors where Royalties cannot be garanteed in a reasonable quantity and time, fees should be garanteed. The objective should be the creation of a stable employment environment in the cultural industry that would not necessarily be totally dependent on the ups and downs of royalties.
  2. Differences in bargaining power produce unfair outcomes between creative individuals and the commercial entities that invest in, market and/or sell culture and knowledge goods and lead to many creative works being withheld from the public. Authors/creators should be paid equitably for the activity they are involved in, whether or not they are members of a collecting society. Unfair contracts between authors and publishers should not be enforced by courts. Within 30 years of signing a contract with a publisher or employer, the author or her heirs should have an opportunity to regain the rights to the work under copyright. This shall not affect the validity of any existing licenses to use works, or open licenses to use works granted to the public, including those which have conditions that protect the commons.
  3. When there is commercial exploitation of a work, rules regarding economic rights should protect the economic interests of creative communities, and insure that third parties such as distributors do not prevent creative communities from having a fair share of the rewards, including fair royalties for creative persons.
  4. All “digital levies” that indiscriminately sanction everybody in the name of “compensation for artists” and that attempt to penalize activities that are in no way criminal should be abolished.

Royalties management and collecting societies:

  1. Authors/creators shall be able always to revoke the mandate of the collecting societies.
  2. Collection societies are private entities that only and exclusively manage the “accounts” of their members which are never the entire creative community.
  3. Free competition should be permitted as with all private entities. Legal monopolies for collection societies should be abolished.
  4. Authors and editors should not be represented by the same entity, as in the days of vertical organisations.
  5. Above all, collection societies should only collect money and manage works that are registered with the collecting society, and should not collect money for uses of works that are explicitly licensed under free licences. No collection society should be allowed to prevent artists or authors from using free licenses.

F. Access to works for persons with reading disabilities

When accessible formats of works for persons who have reading disabilities are created under copyright limitations and exceptions, the global legal systems should enable cross border import and export of such works.

G. Transparency

In order to avoid the breach of any fundamental rights (e.g. invasion of privacy, freedom of expression, etc.) there is a need for transparency in enforcement. This must include information on the authorities in charge of the law’s application and on the nature of the obligatory procedures. The government should ensure, through a transparent and public process, the existence of systems of evaluation of how the norms are applied. The results published by the independent experts hired for the evaluation (see – database directive) should be taken into consideration in the norm-setting process. A meaningful way to ensure the transparency process is to have obligatory transparency audits.

We are promoting a three strikes systems for violators of the public right to be informed. There is a public interest in transparency of lobbying activities. A transparent process in national and international norm setting needs to include at least:

  1. Public access to documents related to this process, the possibility to attend meetings (including via the Internet) and to be to able to read the meeting minutes. These minutes will include the names of the attendees, advisers, and the casted votes.
  2. Details on the persons that are making the decisions
  3. Meaningful opportunities to submit comments to the norm-setting process. The comments from all the contributors shall be made public. A dialogue between all parties is necessary, especially in responding to comments in writing. Public voices should be part of the public record.
  4. Information on any evidence that is presented to promote or justify policies, including their sources and their reliability. Independent evaluation or peer review of data relevant to the intellectual property systems is needed.
  5. Democratic access to statistics that are needed to evaluate the way that copyright and patent systems work, including for example the impact of such measures on prices, the royalties that are paid to creators for access to works or the impact on fundamental rights and freedoms.

3. Guidelines for Education and Access to Knowledge


Learning is a process of social construction of meaning through sharing knowledge, experience and cultural nuances. Culture evolves as knowledge spreads throughout society. We understand education as a social process that involves a wide range of educational actors, technologies, entities and activities, not just the official and formal ones. Our vision of education is one which fosters a culture of knowledge sharing and educational innovation that is efficient and sustainable.


To achieve this, we urge actions and policy intervention in the following areas:

A. Empowerment of educators:

Education is a fundamental tool to improve our societies and achieve human progress. The task of educators must be recognised. They need to be empowered to facilitate learners in the values of a sharing culture, the use of Free/libre and Open Source Software and Free Knowledge in general. Thus we urge educational institutions and communities to:
  • Assure training and technical support for educators in the use of Free/libre and Open Source Software and Open Educational Resources.
  • Ensure educators are able to dedicate part of their time to learn, maintain, author and share educational resources.
  • Set up new communities of educators for the exchange of knowledge and experiences and link existing ones.

B. Support and awareness:

Imitation is the starting point for learning. Copying and sharing knowledge are thus founding principles of any educational process. The culture of sharing embraces these principles rather than discouraging them. Thus we urge educational institutions and communities to:
  • Support activities and provide resources to raise awareness and understanding of the sharing culture and to promote a free, distributed and open education. Show useful case studies in education as good practices and encourage the creation of new projects.
  • Create grants to incentivise the production of independently peer reviewed materials by educators, learners, libraries and publishers.

C. Educational materials:

Educational resources are a basic educational tool; their open publication in the public domain or under a free license facilitates access, stimulates improvement and participation and caters for cultural diversity, while maximising reuse and efficiency. Thus we urge educational institutions and communities to:
  • Elaborate Open Educational Resources and free educational materials.
  • Distribution should be made:
    • Through the Internet, using well structured, Open Standard compliant, easy to use repositories.
    • Printing physical copies (e.g. using the already existing university-based publishers) and bringing them to public libraries and financially disabled people
  • Make publicly funded materials available freely for reuse without legal and technical restrictions. This can be either as public domain or under a free license, preferably with Copyleft protection.
  • Translate and localise these materials into different languages to reach the largest possible range of world population.

D. Software and other tools:

Free/libre and Open Source Software allows people to study and learn concepts instead of black boxes, enables transparency of information processing, assures competition and innovation, provides independence from corporate interests and increases the autonomy of citizens.
The use of open standards and open formats is essential to ensure technical interoperability, provide a level playing field for competing vendors, enable seamless access to digital information and the availability of knowledge and social memory now and in the future. Thus we assert that:
  • Educational entities should use Free/libre and Open Source Software as a learning tool, as a subject in itself and as the base for their IT infrastructure.
  • All software developed in an educational environment and publicly funded must be released under a free license.
  • Promote the use of Free/libre and Open Source Software in textbooks as an alternative to proprietary software to perform learning-related tasks such as numerical calculus, image editing, document composition, etc. where applicable.
  • Develop, provide and promote free editing tools to elaborate and improve didactic materials.
  • Technologies like Digital Rights Management must be refused to assure the permanent access to educational resources and enable lifelong learning.

E. Recognition and certification:

As new forms of collective production spread throughout the educational system, skills and experience acquired in this way should be taken into account in official accreditation and certification. Thus we urge educational institutions and authorities to:
  • Create mechanisms of certification to recognise a sharing culture and open education within the educational system.
  • Integrate these new practices with official and already existing educational curricula.
  • Adapt scientific policies on research so that they recognise the benefits of open access journals and self-archiving, in order to strengthen the dynamics of scientific debate and the quality of feedback.

F. Peer to peer education and collaboration between educators and learners:

The barriers between learner and teacher are being lowered and new forms of education are taking shape. Open communities and participation in peer-to-peer production processes provide enormous value for learning. Thus we urge educational institutions and communities to:
  • Boost collaborative work between teachers and students in the production of knowledge.
  • Encourage students’ involvement in teaching with their peers.
  • Share credit between educators and students.
  • Promote collaborative and interdisciplinary work between educators on different fields.

G. Science and academic knowledge:

Open Access publications assure the access to the results of scientific research, for scientists as well as the general public; they boost the possibilities for learning and they enable diverse research disciplines to discover each other’s results. Thus we assert that:
  • Universities and research centres should embrace the Open Access model for the publication of research results.
  • The application for patents on the results of publicly funded research should be discouraged. Patents held by public institutions should be irrevocably released under royalty-free terms and free of any other restriction.

4. Structural requirements for a knowledge society




Citizens have the right to:

  • be allowed to browse the Internet and access contents anonymously.
  • decide at any time to move, modify or remove their user data from any online service.
  • protect their privacy and encrypt their communications.
  • not receive unsolicited messages.

Rights on networks: Freedom to USE, CREATE and CONNECT:

  • Civil society and public administrations must have the right to provide and implement network services, including those offered for free and without conditions to the citizens.
  • Citizens must have the right to connect to free networks without any restriction (free hardware, tethering, etc.)

Infrastructure and market regulation:

  • Neutrality: Net neutrality must be guaranteed (read Glossary of terms and legal demands section C for a precise definition).
  • Symmetry: Internet access providers must grant symmetrical connections or a reasonable download/upload ratio. There should be access to broadband (ITU-i113) as a universal service right for all citizens.
  • Diversity: monopolies in telecommunications infrastructures and service provision should be prevented. Citizens have the right to have access to more than one provider (public or private) and that the offer of this service is not subject to the acquisition of other products or services. In any case, all citizens have the right to have at their disposal the tecnology systems, products and infrastructures that allow free access to Internet (‘digital dividend’).
  • Network providers must fulfill agreed-upon access speeds; in pre-payment contracts, only the traffic explicitly transferred or demanded by the user must be charged.In addition, providers should always offer users a flat rate tariff system.

Public Administration:

  • Public sector, publicly funded projects and those that commit citizens by law or in a manner affecting their fundamental rights, should always use free software and open standards.
  • When a free solution or open standards does not exist, the government or the corresponding public institution should promote the development of the software needed. In the interim only solutions that are publicly auditable must be used in order to guarantee the democratic process as a whole.
  • The results of development funded by public money should always be licensed under a free  license and all developed patents should be released under royalty free terms and free or any other restriction.
  • Governments must guarantee a non-exclusive free Internet access to every citizen independently of its place of residence (at least to the level required to exercise its rights as a citizen and to take part in democracy and relate to its public institutions).

Regarding how software evaluation and purchase should proceed in public administration:

  • Public purchases of software must evaluate the total cost of using it, including the costs of stopping using it and migrating to an alternative software.
  • Public accounting must clearly separate between the costs of software licenses, maintenance, support and service, all apart of hardware.

5. Glossary of terms




The term broadband can have different meanings in different contexts. In this document, broadband generally refers to high capacity Internet access.
The term’s meaning has undergone substantial shifts as advances in technology permit higher and higher capacities.


We support the commons as a meta-term that describes a broad, diverse class of communities that govern themselves and their resources for collective benefit. A commons attempts to provide equal access to the resource and to assure a basic social equity for all commoners. A commons also strives to honor participation, inclusion, transparency and long-term sustainability. There are rules and boundaries for managing commons collectively, and negotiated rules for governing a shared resource. Furthermore, the commons is valuable for enlarging our understanding of what constitutes “the economy” and that as the market could be supported by the governments (One idea, which has greater appeal in European countries, is a basic income for all citizens). The goal would be to recognize social production as an important source of value by compensating it financially. Another intriguing idea is to develop alternative digital currencies. The goal would be to recognise value that the official monetary system ignores.

Commons-based Peer Production:

Commons-based peer production is a term coined by Harvard Law School professor Yochai Benkler to describe a new model of economic production in which the creative energy of large numbers of people is coordinated (usually with the aid of the Internet) into large, meaningful projects mostly without traditional hierarchical organization (and often, but not always, without or with decentralized financial compensation). Often used interchangeably with the term social production, Benkler compares commons-based peer production to firm production (where a centralized decision process decides what has to be done and by whom) and market-based production (when tagging different prices to different jobs serves as an attractor to anyone interested in doing the job).


A copyleft license is a free license that requires all further distribution with or without modifications to be made under the same conditions.


Education, in its broadest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another.


Firmware is software that internally controls various electronic devices.

FLOSS (Free / Libre and Open Source Software):

Free Software:
Free software is a matter of the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:
  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
Open Source:
Open source doesn’t just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:
  1. Free Redistribution: The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.
  2. Source Code: The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.
  3. Derived Works: The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.
  4. Integrity of The Author’s Source Code: The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of “patch files” with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.
  5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups: The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
  6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavour: The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavour. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.
  7. Distribution of License: The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.
  8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product: The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program’s being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program’s license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.
  9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software: The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.
  10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral: No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

Free Knowledge / Open Knowledge:

Free Knowledge or Libre Knowledge:
Free/Libre Knowledge can be acquired, interpreted and applied freely, it can be re-formulated according to one’s needs, and shared with others for community benefit. In today’s world, where knowledge may be captured and shared electronically, this freedom is not automatically preserved, and we elaborate this definition for explicit knowledge:
(explicit) Free/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 derived works similarly (as free knowledge) for the benefit of the community.
Representations of free knowledge must be conveniently accessible for modification and sharing. For example, using Free software and Free file formats.
“Explicit knowledge” is knowledge captured on some medium, usually in a form representable on a computer (e.g. text, sound, video, animation, executable program, etc.).
Users of libre knowledge are free to
  • (0) use the work for any purpose
  • (1) study its mechanisms, to be able to modify and adapt it to their own needs
  • (2) make and distribute copies, in whole or in part
  • (3) 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.
Open Knowledge:
The Open Knowledge Definition sets out principles to define the ‘open’ in open knowledge. The term knowledge is used broadly and it includes all forms of data, content such as music, films or books as well any other type of information.
In the simplest form the definition can be summed up in the statement that “A piece of knowledge is open if you are free to use, reuse, and redistribute it”. For details read the latest version of the full definition.
Free Cultural Works:
“Free Cultural Works” are defined as works or expressions which can be freely studied, applied, copied and/or modified, by anyone, for any purpose. It also describes certain permissible restrictions that respect or protect these essential freedoms. The definition distinguishes between free works, and free licenses which can be used to legally protect the status of a free work. The definition itself is not a license; it is a tool to determine whether a work or license should be considered “free.”

Free/Open Format:


Free Licenses or Libre Licenses:

A Free License or Libre License is a license which grants users the freedom to read, listen to, watch, or otherwise experience the particular work; to learn from or with it; to copy, adapt and use it for any purpose; and to share derived works for the benefit of the community.
Free licenses or Libre licenses include:
  • Creative Commons ShareAlike
  • Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
  • Creative Commons Attribution
  • GNU Free Documentation License.
More on free licenses at Freedom Defined.

Free/Libre Resources:

A libre resource is a (typically digital) resource (such as text, source code, an image, sound, multimedia, etc. or combinations of these) represented on a device or medium in a free/open file format, which is accessible and modifiable 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.


Interoperability is the capacity of the information systems, and the procedures to which they support, to share data, export functionality and to possibility to the exchange of information and knowledge between them and their users.

Level playing field:

A level playing field is a concept about fairness, not that each player has an equal chance to succeed, but that they all play by the same set of rules. A metaphorical playing field is said to be level if no external interference affects the ability of the players to compete fairly. Although some may view “government interference” to slant the field in reality the level playing field is created and guaranteed by the implementation of rules and regulations. Building codes, material specifications, Open Standards and zoning create a starting point, a minimum standard, — a “level playing field”.

Net Neutrality:

See “legal demands” . C.

Open access:

Three initiatives in particular have helped grow Open Access - the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, - and are recognised as historical, defining moments in the growth of this movement. There are several definitions of Open Access, see for an introduction and an extensive overview. However, the main requirements for a contribution to be Open Access are:
  1. it removes all price barriers for the users to access it (given the user has an Internet connection) and
  2. it removes enough permission barriers to support all the uses customary in legitimate scholarship. The only constraints an author can pose should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited. These requirements can be defined more precisely as follows.
Open Access contributions are those works that satisfy two conditions:
  1. The author(s) and right holder(s) of such contributions grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, right of access to, and a license 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 (community standards will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now), whether in print or online.
  2. A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in an appropriate standard electronic format is deposited (and thus published) in at least one online repository using suitable technical standards (such as the Open Archive definitions) that is supported and maintained by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving.

Open Educational Resources (OER):

OER are learning materials that can be freely used, modified and redistributed. They should be published under a free license, be available in an open standard format and be free of DRM or other restricting devices.

P2P (Peer To Peer):

P2P (Peer To Peer) refers to a network architecture in which each node in the network may communicate directly with any other without having to go through a central hub. The nodes may share resources such as disk storage space, processing power and bandwidth). One advantage of this architecture is the possibility of distributing the load when transferring many large files potentially to more than one destination in the network. Bottlenecks in the network are reduced as parts of files find their way to their destination(s) via different routes. The parts are reassembled on arrival.
“Peer-to-peer file sharing networks have inspired new structures and philosophies in other areas of human interaction. In such social contexts, peer-to-peer as a meme refers to the egalitarian social networking that is currently emerging throughout society, enabled by Internet technologies in general.”


Software Patent:
Software patent is a patent that covers with its claims any logic computer feature, idea or method in a way that partially or totally monopolizes it.
Computer Implemented Invention:
Computer implemented invention is any patent that has any relations to computers. There are several kinds of CII: computer aided inventions; software patents; computer implemented bussiness methods; computer implemented gaming rules; and, computer implemented mathematic algorithms.


In economics, a good is considered either rivalrous (rival) or nonrival. Rival goods are goods whose consumption by one consumer prevents simultaneous consumption by other consumers. In contrast, nonrival goods may be consumed by one consumer without preventing simultaneous consumption by others. Digital resources (or goods) are non-rivalrous.

Software auditing:

Auditing of software includes the revision of code, the modification of code, the compilation of code and the execution of the code. Auditing of software must include the auditing of the tools on which such software is based (compilers, libraries, operative systems on which it runs, etc.)


A non standard:
The specification is neither public nor ratified by any recognized national or international standardization body. It does not matter how widely used the format/protocol/methodology/process/etcetera is. If widely used, it is common to denominate it in slang language as “a de facto standard”, but it is not a standard.
Closed standard:
A specification normalized and licensed in any non free form indeed not public and not common for all the licensees (you have to negotiate with the owner of the IPRs). Specification itself could cost money but should be public (if not, it wouldn’t be a standard). ECMA should be included in that category, since during its specification process doesn’t warranty enough that Technical Committee members reveal its IPRs (patents mainly) covering the standard.
RAND standard:
A public specification normalized and licensed under terms that are public and common for all the licensees. Patent rights should be declared during the standardization process. Usually RAND terms is the minimum that standardization bodies ask for to grant a standard (ie. ISO and OASIS). Specification itself could cost money. ISO/IEC should be included in that category. Should be noticed that, contrary to what RAND stands for (”Reasonable and Non Discriminatory”), that RAND standards frequently discriminate to part of the industry or to some development models as FLOSS. Ie. FLOSS and other free distribution software are taken apart from the possibility to implement the standard just from the moment that the RAND license states a fee per copy, since it is impossible to account the number of copies distributed. Additionally, some RAND licenses include terms that explicitly discriminate to FLOSS and other development models that show the source code of the programs, by forcing to the implementers to close the code of the implementation of the standard.
Open standard:
There are various definitions of Open Standards, such as the definitions in the European Commission’s European Interoperability Framework (EIF), the motion B 103 of the Danish Parliament, the definition by Bruce Pehrens, the definition developed by the 4 SELF Consortium], the one by the Spanish Estandares Abiertos, the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure’s recommendations on the EIF 2.0 and the Free Knowledge Institute. Orienting itself along the lines set of the above initiatives, we understand Open Standards as follows.
The following are the minimal characteristics that a specification and its attendant documents must have in order to be considered an open standard:
  1. The standard is adopted and will be maintained by a not-for-profit organisation, and its ongoing development occurs on the basis of an open decision-making procedure available to all interested parties (consensus protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector or majority decision etc.).
  2. The standard has been published and the standard specification document is available either freely or at a nominal charge. It must be permissible to all to copy, distribute and use it for no fee or at a nominal fee.
  3. The intellectual property - i.e. patents possibly present - of (parts of) the standard is made irrevocably available on a royalty-free basis.
  4. There are no constraints on the re-use of the standard.
  5. However, the first condition does not have to be fulfilled in the case that a complete reference implementation of the specification exists in Free Software (a.k.a Open Source or Libre Software), i.e. under a license approved by either the FSF or OSI.
Free/libre standard:
An open standard of which there is a complete free software reference implementation of the standard, and whose complete specification can be obtained for free and without any conditions.


Able to persist/continue on account of due attention to social, environmental and economic concerns

Technological Neutrality:

Technological neutrality is the right of the citizens and the administrations to not be discriminated because its rightfull choosing of IT applications when these applications use open standards to interoperate.

6. References



Related to politics

Related to politics

  • Benkler The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (Yale Press 2006) [1]
  • Ostrom, E. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action Ostrom, Elinor, Cambridge University Press, 1990.
  • Jeremy Rifkin, The Third Industrial Revolution [2]
  • Fuster Morell, Mayo (2009) “Online creation communities for the building of digital commons: Participation as an eco-system?” Contribution to the panel on “Organizational principles and political implications” of the International forum on free culture – Barcelona October 30 2009 - Mayo Fuster Morell - Participation as an eco-system
  • David Bollier “A New Politics of the Commons” Published in Renewal magazine.
  • Felix Stalder. Between democracy and spectacle. Limitations of the web2.0 discourse
  • Hilary Wainwright: Brainstorming questions responding to the challenge to think about the political implications of free culture
  • De la Web 2.0 a la Web Libre y punto: Por una liberación del software y los servicios que dan soporte a la web social (es) From Web 2.0 to Free Web: For the release of software and services that support the social web (en)
  • Graeme Chesters and Ian Welsh Complexity and Social Movement: Process and Emergence in Planetary Action Systems
  • Lula and Free Software - Lula da Silva, Brazilian President, talks about the importance of Free Software and the Internet at the 10th Free Software Internacional Forum (FISL), in Porto Alegre, Brazil - June 26th, 2009
  • Brazilian Digital Culture Forum - public and open social network for the formulation and construction of democratic public policies for digital culture.
  • Berlinguer, Marco (2009) “Investigating organisational logics and mentalities present in contemporary social movements -  Parallels between Open Source and Free Software Movement and the Global Justice movement”. Contribution to the track “Organizational principles and political implications” of the International forum on free culture – Barcelona October 30 2009.
  • Grupo Blogx Populi, de Guifi.net. From Web 2.0 to Free Web - For the release of software and services that support the social web (en)

References and sources related to Legal

  • draft document A2K 2005 (http://keionline.org/content/view/235/1)
  • Necessary and Urgent Measures to Protect the Knowledge Society by eXgae (http://co-ment.freeknowledge.eu/text/6/)
  • La Quadrature du Net on Net Neutrality (http://www.laquadrature.net/en/Net_neutrality)
  • Consumer International. IP-watchlist09 (http://a2knetwork.org/sites/default/files/ip-watchlist09.pdf)
  • Proposal made to the ONU´s World Organisation for Intellectual Property made by Amigos del Desarrollo (Friends of Development) (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Kenya, Perou, Dominican Republic, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Venezuela) (http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/scp/en/scp_11/scp_11_5.pdf)
  • - Daniel J. Gervais. “Towards a New Core International Copyright Norm: The Reverse Three-Step Test” Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review 9 (2005): 1-37(http://works.bepress.com/daniel_gervais/1)
  • - Asking for an open internet in Europe (http://www.euopeninternet.eu/)
  • The Norwegian principles NRA.(http://www.npt.no/iKnowBase/Content/109604/Guidelines%20for%20network%20neutrality.pdf)
  • FCC 4 first principles (http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-260435A1.doc)
  • Julius Genachowski’s speech from 21 Sept adding principle 5 & 6(http://openinternet.gov/read-speech.html)
  • PiratPartiet Principles (http://www.piratpartiet.se/international/english)
  • Adelphi_Charter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adelphi_Charter)
  • BlackOutEurope (http://blackouteusp.wordpress.com/)
  • Koleman Strumpf, Felix Oberholzer-Gee - Harvard Business School Report on Filesharing and Copyright (http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/09-132.pdf)
  • Carta Europea de los Derechos Ciudadanos en la Era Digital (http://www.enriquedans.com/?x=0&y=0)

Past declarations related to education and A2K

  • The Budapest Open Access Initiative, 2002, http://www.soros.org/openaccess/read.shtml
  • The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, 2003, http://oa.mpg.de/openaccess-berlin/berlindeclaration.html
  • Capetown Open Education Declaration, 2007, http://www.capetowndeclaration.org
  • Open University Campaign, Wheeler Declaration, 2008, http://wiki.freeculture.org/Open_University_Campaign
  • Open Standards Definition, http://freeknowledge.eu/definitions/openstandards
  • Definition of Free Cultural Works: http://freedomdefined.org/Definition
  • Declaration on Libre Knowledge: http://wikieducator.org/Declaration_on_libre_knowledge
  • Free Software Definition: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
  • Why schools should exclusively use Free Software, http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/schools.html
  • The Trivandrum Declaration, Free Software, Free Society, 2005, http://fsfs.in/content/trivandrum-decleration
  • Indian Free & Open Source community Charter: http://fosscomm.in/Charter
  • Franklin Street Statement on Freedom and Network Services: http://autonomo.us/2008/07/franklin-street-statement/


7. Members of the FCForum

1 eXgae

2 Networked Politics

3 Mayo Fuster Morell

4 P2P Foundation

5 Michel Bauwens

6 Consumers International

7 Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

8 David Bollier

9 Knowledge Ecology International / James Love

10 Free Knowledge Institute (FKI)

11 La Quadrature du Net

12 ScambioEtico

13 Pirat Partiet/Amelia Andersdotter

14 European Digital Rights (EDRI)

15 Creative Commons España/ Ignasi Labastida

16 Transnational Institute/Hilary Wainwright

17 Students for Free Culture

18 Jose Murilo

19 Nagarjuna G.

20 John Howkins

21 Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII)/ Alberto Barrionuevo


23 Isaac Hacksimov

24 Dyne.org Foundation/Denis Jaromil Roio

25 The Open Standards Alliance/Stefan Marsiske

26 David Evan Harris

27 David Hammerstein

28 Joan Subirats

29 Fundación Karisma

30 Carlos Sanchez Almeida

31 Conservas

32 FLOSS Manuals

33 David Maeztu

34 Josep Jover

35 Patricia Vila

36 Javier Candeira

37 IT-Political Association

38 ScriptumLibre

39 Felix Stalder

40 Franziska Heine

41 Dmytri Kleiner

42 Anne Ostergaard

43 Jack J. Marxer

44 Alan Toner

45 Roberto Santos

46 Asociación de Internautas / Javier Cuchi

47 Epidemia / Pablo Ortellado

48 Kim Tucker

49 La Casa Invisible

50 Margarita Padilla

51 Guifi

52 Mario Pena

53 Traficantes de Sueños

54 Platoniq

55 Yproductions

56 Jamie King

57 Vittorio Bertola

58 Marco Berlinguer

59 Universidad Nómada

60 ASACC / Carmen Zapata


62 Toni Verger

63 Science, Education and Learning in Freedom (SELF)

64 Ignacio de Castro Arribas

65 Maria Claudia de Azevedo Borges

66 Exit


68 La impròpia

69 David Moreno

70 Josean Llorente


8. Public endorsements

1 On the Commons
2 Gnowledge lab
3 Free Software Foundation India
4 Gabriella Coleman

To be continued…


9. Dual license

This Charter is published under a dual license; you can republish under either one or both of these licenses:

  • Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
  • GNU Free Documentation License 1.3


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