Week 24: Free Art License

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Antoine Moreau about “Free Art License”.


Free Art Licence (or FAL) is a contract that applies the “copyleft” concept to artistic creation of all kinds, without formal or aesthetic discrimination of any kind. If you or your artworld call it art, you can protect it under FAL by making it free. The License authorizes a third party (a person or legal entity) to proceed to copy, disseminate, transform and use work on the express condition that it always be possible for others to copy, disseminate and transform it in turn. That is, what is free must remain free, copyleft cannot be copyrighted.

Far from running roughshod over authors’ rights, the Free Art License acknowledges and protects them. It allows anyone to make creative use of ideas and forms, regardless of genre, medium, form or content. Strict respect for authors’ rights has often tended to restrict access to works of the mind; FAL, however, fosters access, the being point to authorize use of a work’s resources; to create new conditions of creation so as to extend and amplify the possibilities of creation.

The License was drafted in Paris in July 2000, following a series of meetings of the group Copyleft Attitude by lawyers Mélanie Clément-Fontaine and David Geraud, and artists Isabelle Vodjdani and Antoine Moreau. The Licence is legally binding without modification in all countries having signed the Bern Convention, which established the international legal norms regarding intellectual and artistic “property”. Copyleft Attitude, which devised the license, has always sought to extend the whole notion of copyleft to the realm of the arts and beyond. To draw inspiration from the free and open software movement and to adapt the model — and indeed whole way of life — to creation beyond software, leading to establishing the Free Art License.

The License is suitable for all types of non-software creation. It is recommended by the Free Software Foundation in the following terms: “We don’t take the position that artistic or entertainment works must be free, but if you want to make one free, we recommend the Free Art License.”