Copyfree: resources > faq

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are questions related to copyfree licensing policy, Copyfree Standard Definition certification, and the Copyfree Initiative itself, that have been asked and are not answered elsewhere on this Website.

Q: Are you shills for closed source software vendors?
A: In a word, no. In fact, as of this writing, the efforts of the Copyfree Initiative cost money and generate zero revenue, but we believe in the efficacy and rightness of copyfree policy.

Q: Is "copyfree" the same as Free Software or open source software?
A: Not precisely. "Free Software" (as defined by the GNU Project and Free Software Foundation) can include many licenses, depending on how you interpret it. The way the GNU Project and FSF interpret their own definition, it basically includes everything that fits the Open Source Definition at the OSI website (the way the OSI interprets the OSD). Copyfree software, according to the Copyfree Standard Definition, is a subset of both, because it is stricter in what restrictions are disallowed than either the FSF's interpretation of Free Software or the OSI's interpretation of the OSD. In addition, "copyfree" applies to more than just software, unlike "Free Software" or "open source software".

Q: Is "copyfree" just a fancy word for the public domain?
A: No. It is a term for licensing policy that includes public domain dedications, but also very unrestrictive, free licenses. The Copyfree Initiative regards public domain dedications with copyfree compliant license fallbacks for jurisdictions that do not recognize public domain dedications to be equivalent to other copyfree licenses that skip the step of attempting a public domain dedication. In general, the Copyfree Initiative considers public domain dedications without copyfree compliant license fallbacks to be copyfree compliant, but also considers both copyfree licenses and public domain dedications with copyfree compliant license fallbacks superior to them. See the public domain page for more information.

Q: Is the imlib2 license a copyfree license?
A: The license used by imlib2 appears to be a work-alike of the 4-clause "Original BSD License", which is not compliant with the Copyfree Standard Definition, though further analysis may determine that its vague phrasing renders its advertising clause ineffective. For now, it is considered non-copyfree.

Q: What are the goals of the Copyfree Initiative?
A: The purpose of the Copyfree Initiative is simply to inform people about copyfree policy, to foster the broader use of copyfree policy, to encourage the use of business models that work with copyfree policy rather than other copyright policies, and to support the development and maintenance of copyfree works of all kinds. Many copyfree policy advocates have different -- sometimes contradictory -- reasons for preferring copyfree policy over alternatives, such as copyright abolition, encouraging open works development that can more easily be used with other copyrighted works, improving the ability to reuse works in pursuit of greater cultural or technological advancement, adopting and advocating for business models that are resilient in an environment of increasing online filesharing, and many other reasons, including simply wanting to avoid the bureaucracy of complex licensing. Your ultimate goals are your own, but if you want to get there by way of copyfree policy, the Copyfree Initiative is here to help.

Q: How can I help?
A: You are encouraged to have a look at a list of specific requests on the Support page, and to get in touch via the methods listed on the Community page. If you have skills, time, or other resources to devote to the cause, regardless of whether they are applicable to any specific item on the Support page or not, we would be glad to discuss the matter with you. Unfortunately, not all offers may be acceptable for various reasons, including possibly legal reasons.


Q: Does the Copyfree Initiative have an IRC channel?
A: There are two, each for a different purpose. Please see the Community page on this site for details.

Q: Can I share interesting links?
A: We encourage friendly community chatter, even off-topic, in the community channel ##copyfree. Please feel free to share interesting links, but refrain from sharing anything overtly offensive. When sharing a link, please include a short description of the link and why anyone might want to see it -- no more than a few words should be necessary in most cases -- and, if it is a long address, use a URL shortener service that offers an "address preview" feature.

Q: Can I submit works in IRC to be added to the Works List?
A: Yes. Please address works submissions to apotheon. Include URIs for both the main webpage for the project or work (or the closest available thing to such an address) and an "official" source for the work's licensing information (e.g. a LICENSE file in an online software repository).

New Questions

If you have questions you would like answered, please contact us via the methods described on the community page.