Debate: Free Documentation versus Copyright and Intellectual Property! Because not everything is Free Software.

Welcome to this new publication (post), my dear readers!

This time I want to share with you an unusual topic, but closely related to the Philosophy of Free Software. Since we are all computer scientists or computer lovers, but for this we also need an industry or a good documentary or literary support to provide us with the official information, relative or inherent to the topics (hardware / software) that interest us, without prejudice to who creates them and who disseminates them. Besides, the Philosophy of Free Software it must be massified and applied to every possible facet of human activity, and literature is a good field for it!

lpi Anyway, today we will talk about Free Documentation and / or Free Literature!

  • What is Free Documentation?

This concept can be interpreted as the documentation that guarantees the free use of it, that is, the copying and modification of its contents, with the only restriction of not modifying its license.

I personally conceive this concept as the same but in a broader sense, that is, it encompasses all that written manifestation, mainly non-technical literary works, such as stories, educational books, novels, among others.

But delving into the case of Free technical documentation, we can mention:

Among the most popular licenses for technical documentation or free texts is the GNU Free Documentation License. And although in the past there were others very like:

Currently there is a large number of free licenses for this purpose, and one of the famous is Creative Commons. However, below I leave a small list of what could be one of the most used alternatives so that anyone can consult them and see the one that best suits them to use for their documentary or literary creations.

creative commons

Creative Commons has two free licenses, Creative commons Attribution and Creative Commons Attribution - Share alike. These two licenses allow the work to be distributed, copied and exhibited by third parties if the name of the original author is shown in the credits. The second license adds a clause to do to the license Copyleft, which adds a clause to the licenses so that the resulting works are also free culture. Creative Commons on its website it has a very simple interface that allows you to apply some of its licenses to your literary work so that it can be freely copied and allows you to grant it other freedoms that you consider important.


Coloriuris provides two types of free licenses, the green and the blue, which allow the reproduction, distribution, public communication and the realization of derivative works for profit or not. The green license also adds a clause to make the license Copyleft, which adds a clause to the licenses so that the resulting works are also free culture. Actually, Coluriuris is a Trust Service Provider. Trust Service Provider: "It is the natural or legal person that provides one or more trust services" according to EU Regulation 910/2014, dated July 23.

Free Art License

Born of the Copyleft Attitude meeting in Paris in 2000, this license originates from the idea that knowledge and knowledge should be free. The Free Art License (LAL) It authorizes you to freely copy, disseminate and transform the work that it protects, while respecting the rights of its author. The Free Art License does not ignore the rights of the author, but rather recognizes and protects them. Rephrasing these principles allows users to creatively use artwork.

GNU Free Documentation License

The GNU Free Documentation License better known as GFDL It is a license designed primarily for software documentation but it can also be used by any other book. The most famous example of the use of this license is the Wikipedia. The purpose of this License is to allow a functional and useful manual, textbook, or other document to be "free" in the sense of freedom that assures everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifications, commercially or not, and in such a way that the author and publisher obtain recognition for their work, without the latter being held responsible for the modifications made by others.


The translation of the name of this license would be something similar to "Public license use it however you want". Basically the license says do what you want with the work. Simpler impossible.

Open Publication License

Yet another free culture license. If some of the options in section 6 are used, the license is not free.

There are possibly many more free licenses, especially for software documentation, but they may not be widely known and / or used.

  • Copyright - Intellectual Property versus Free Licensing

What is intellectual property?

Many laws define the Intellectual Property and Copyright of many ways:

In Spain, the Law Intellectual Property, Approved by Royal Legislative Decree 1/1996, of April 12, quotes verbatim: "Intellectual property is made up of a series of personal and / or patrimonial rights that attribute to the author and other owners the provision and exploitation of their works and services"

This law also details in its Chapter II, Article 10  which creations fall within this concept.

While in Venezuela, the Copyright Law, promulgated in Venezuela, on September 16, 1.993, establishes in its article 1 and 2, the spirit of the same on this concept and its limits of action: See Law.

At the international level in general, countries tend to subscribe to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works to guarantee and respect its citizens and foreigners their Copyright and Intellectual Property.

  • What are the benefits of knowing all this information on Copyright, Intellectual Property and the multiple options of Free Licensing for the knowledge disseminated by each one of us?

For example, whether we have a web page (website) of the Type Blog, Magazine, Entertainmentetc, or just post well-structured information material (designed) in some social network or print media or not, You must surely know all that material that you contribute (you disseminate, create, design) is protected by law, and that therefore your publications (post, articles, books, magazines, cartoons, among other documentary or bibliographic materials, technical or not, can be protected from the moment of their publication, by some law of your country, with the only requirement that they be original works.

And for you to fulfill this purpose, there are many tools on the Internet to avoid committing plagiarism or confusing our publications with plagiarism due to their low level of authenticity. Among those many tools I recommend:

plagiarism Checker

Remember that in a quasi-universal way: Within intellectual property there are two different categories: Copyright, for individuals, and Industrial property, referring to companies and large companies. And that in almost all countries there is also a stipulated period of time for the exercise of the exploitation rights of a work, which can be (encompass) "The entire life of the author and many more years after his death".

Finally, and as a small gift, I leave you one of my free literary creations, for your reading and enjoyment:

Science Fiction Trilogy: Hope

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  1.   Gonzalo Martinez said

    Personally I am not a religious evangelizer of the open, and it seems a bit absurd to extend the open to every component of the universe.

    At any time we eat the choripan open.

  2.   Jose Albert said

    The Philosophy of Free Software should be massified and applied to every "POSSIBLE" facet of human activity, and literature is a good field for it!

    That is why I included the word possible, we must not be extreme or exaggerated!

    However, literary creativity (Novels. Tales, Histories, Educational Books, among others) is one of the fields where free philosophy must be included in a very orderly way to introduce collective benefits!

  3.   Mangle said

    I would like to contribute from my place, both as a user of free software and as a freelance writer. Here in Argentina we hold trade fairs called FLIA (Independent and Self-Managed Book Fair) where all kinds of artists and mainly publishers gather. What circulates is many people who self-publish (from publishing to handicraft binding or printing), and they get used to putting creative commons licenses and especially "without a license." This means that there is a whole movement known as Devolutionism or the Movement for Return, which consists of not licensing the works in order to return the information to the Public Domain. It seems important to me to name this here: the public domain is where works pass once the economic rights of their authors are extinguished (in some countries 70 years after death). This does not extinguish the moral rights to which they maintain their authorship. The difference with Copyleft (including Creative Commons) is that the latter maintain restrictions such as, for example, they do not allow profit from the work. This is fine to protect the books and software of the monopolies, for this the FSF created these licenses. But there are other types of licenses called CopyFarLeft that go one step further: a clause allows derivative works to be sold as long as they are by a cooperative or company managed by its workers, thus avoiding the income generated for the employers. The Guerrillatranslation blog and use this license, and I encourage you to browse CopyFarLeft and Devolutionism to expand. The idea behind these philosophies, as well as that of Open Source, is to broaden the commonality that belongs to everyone and allow the improvement of ideas in their respective modification. In the long run the best thing would be, as the Telecommunists say, to achieve free hardware by increasing the commons ...

  4.   Jose Albert said

    Your contribution about: CopyFarLeft and Devolutionism is very interesting. I've never heard of those 2 concepts!