Free Culture update

Vincent Van Gogh: Landscape with Couple Walking and Crescent Moon-1890(1)
Landscape with Couple Walking and Crescent Moon” by Vincent van Gogh via Wikipaintings

It is gratifying to see more and more wonderful digital Free Culture resources being made available. In the sidebar you’ll find my list of Free Culture resources I’ve been compiling as I come across them online.

Free culture is culture we can share without having to fear copyright law.

The free-est of the free are those creative works in the public domain. As copyright law has expanded the terms to ridiculous lengths, fewer works are entering the public domain.

The excellent OpenGLAM helps educate Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums about  the importance of digital access, which has led to many institutions digitizing public domain works in their holdings and sharing them online.   From my point of view, this will go a long way to discourage the nefarious practice of digital copyfraud.

My newest listings of public domain repositories include Wikipaintings and Public Domain Review

my Canadian copyright symbol
These days, our newly made creative works are “protected” by copyright whether or not we want them to be. Creators who have come to realize the importance of sharing can work around this by releasing our works with a license to share. My favorite are Creative Commons licenses.  All of my blogs are published with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License except for the one with a CC0 public domain dedication.  Athough two CC the licenses are not considered to be free:

  • No Derivatives” prevents us from making any changes… even color correction, cropping etc., and
  • Non Commercial” which prevents commercial use,

all of the other licenses are. Because they are standardized,  they are easy to use because I don’t have to learn the terms of a new license every time.

The Freesound ProjectThere are a growing number of web platforms where people can find material with free culture licenses. If you want to make a video, or if you need illustrations for that presentation, or a cover for your novel, All the material on these sites are licensed, so people can decide which license will suit their needs. I’ve known about Flickr (for photos) and Jamendo (for music) for a long time, and these days even YouTube has given users the option of a free culture license. But by far the coolest addition to my list of free culture licensed material is the amazing Freesound project, an online sound effects library, where I found some all the terrific sound effects I needed for a small film I made last month.

There is a wealth of great material in my free culture list, and I will continue to add links as I find new resources.  If you’ve got any I’ve missed, please let me know.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Free Culture, read Larry Lessigs terrific book Free Culture; you can buy a copy from your local book store, or legally download the PDF, or do both (like I did).


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