Spread the Word
This page is a repository of information related to copyfree advocacy, including suggestions for how you can help out.
First and foremost, we in no way condone spamming or any similar unsolicited (and unwelcome) mass-marketing behavior.
Clear identification of the licenses used for shared works is important to raise awareness of licensing. Toward that end, there are some actions that require very little effort and can be taken to raise such awareness, as well as making it easier for others to know how you intend your work to be used.
The Copyfree Initiative takes the position that a license certified by the Copyfree Initiative should be used for shared works whenever it is at all reasonable and legal to do so.
newly shared works
When releasing works for public consumption -- whether choosing a default license for everything posted to a weblog, posting a novel in progress to the web, sharing a software project on a code hosting site such as GitHub, or some other means of sharing your work -- place license notices in a prominent location so recipients can find it easily. While many types of works have not developed specific "community best practices" for license notices, software projects have: full license text in a LICENSE and/or COPYING file in the root/base directory of the project. Failing that, for short licenses especially, license text can be included in a README file in the same place.
When encountering a work shared by someone else that, in context, appears to be intended to be freely usable by others, you can check that work for license terms. If you do not find them, or if they are non-obvious, you may suggest an improvement in license notification. A common case is that of software projects on code hosting sites (e.g. Bitbucket, GitHub, et cetera) that contain no obvious license terms for the project. Such sites offer two obvious ways to rectify that problem, each of which should be used in different circumstances.
When a project contains some licensing information but it is not prominently indicated, making it difficult to determine license terms at a glance, it may make sense to fork the repository, commit a LICENSE file containing the relevant license text to the fork, then send a pull request to the main repository from which you forked it. If you are not comfortable doing so for some reason, or if the code hosting site does not offer pull request functionality, submitting a patch or using the issue tracker (see the next point) to suggest a change to the project is an alternative approach.
When a project does not display any license information at all, it is generally best to use the project maintainer's preferred means of contact to bring up the matter of absent licensing terms. When doing so, it may be appropriate to suggest a license, and in some cases the most appropriate license to suggest is obvious or implicit. For instance, many Ruby projects are distributed under the same license terms as Ruby itself, which is currently a dual-licensing scheme involving the custom Ruby License and the Simplified BSD License (identified as "the 2-clause BSDL" in the Ruby license notice); this provides for copyfree licensing and is an inoffensive, obvious choice to suggest to Ruby project maintainers. In cases where there is not a specific, obvious, copyfree choice, other license suggestions may be made, but doing so politely and tactfully is important.
It is common for people to refer to a general class of licenses with the term "BSD-like". One of the earliest open source licenses was the original BSD license, so licenses that are substantially similar to the BSD license can accurately be called "BSD-like" within a reasonable range of specificity.
We believe it is better to refer to licenses as "copyfree" when any license that meets the requirements of the Copyfree Standard serves the desired purpose. While most of the so-called BSD licenses are copyfree licenses (excluding the original BSD License), it is not the sole or even highest standard of copyfree policy in a license.
Copyfree licenses should also qualify as both Free Software according to the FSF's Free Software Definition and Open Source Software according to the OSI's Open Source Definition, but they are distinct from either in that both the Free Software Definition and the Open Source Definition admit copyleft licenses and some other non-copyfree licenses as well. As such, when copyleft and other non-copyfree "open source" or "free software" licenses are not a part of what you mean, you should refer to "copyfree" licenses for the sake of specificity and clarity. By the same token, you should refer to "copyleft" when you do not mean to include non-copyleft licenses.
Making a conscious decision to use the term "copyfree" in these ways -- perhaps making the word copyfree a link to this site, when appropriate -- you can effectively help to advocate for copyfree policy, or at least raise awareness of it.
The simplest way to help advocate copyfree licensing policy for many people is to link to it. Permanent front-page links -- or links on very high-traffic pages -- on your Website would especially help. This can both bring people to the copyfree Website directly and help people find it more indirectly by improving search engine rankings.
You may link using one of the images provided at this site, but if you do so, please copy the image to your own Webserver so that displaying it on your Website will not consume our bandwidth. Examples of image links, with XHTML source, include:
sidebar button 1
<a href="http://copyfree.org" title="Copyfree: Unfetter your ideas."> <img src="http://www.example.com/img/cf_80x15.png" alt="Copyfree: Unfetter your ideas." title="Copyfree: Unfetter your ideas." /> </a>
sidebar button 2
<a href="http://copyfree.org" title="Copyfree: Unfetter your ideas."> <img src="http://www.example.com/img/cf_grey_80x15.png" alt="Copyfree: Unfetter your ideas." title="Copyfree: Unfetter your ideas." /> </a>
the copyfree logo
<a href="http://copyfree.org" title="Copyfree: Unfetter your ideas."> <img src="http://www.example.com/img/copyfree_64.png" alt="Copyfree: Unfetter your ideas." title="Copyfree: Unfetter your ideas." /> </a>
In each case, replace
http://www.example.com/img/ with the path to the image on your own Webserver.
There is also an SVG copyfree logo image that may be used to refer to copyfree policy and licensing.
As we slowly work on some ideas for logos particular to the Copyfree Initiative, as opposed to being more generally applicable to copyfree licensing, we will collect some of them here.
If you have ideas for how to improve this page, please use the resources on our community page to let us know.