15 OKFN, “Open Definition”

Read the article at http://opendefinition.org/od/


The open definition was created to offer a precise and clear definition of open and how it works and is used. “Knowledge is open if anyone is free to access, use, modify, and share it — subject, at most, to measures that preserve provenance and openness.” 

Key Points

Open licenses – must satisfy the following requirements

  • Open Works
    • Open Licenses – work must be available under an open license
    • Access – the work must be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable one-time reproduction costs
    • Open Format – work must be provided in a convenient and modifiable form
  • Open Licenses – Required permissions
    • Use – must allow free use of licensed work
    • Redistribution – license must allow redistribution of the licensed work
    • Modification (and distribution under the same terms as the original) – must allow derivatives of the license work
    • Separation – the parts have the same rights as the whole – this is a new one
    • Compilation – not restrict works it is distributed with
    • Non-discrimination – the license must not discriminate
    • Propagation – the rights must apply to all to whom it is redistributed
    • Application to any purpose – license must allow use, redistribution, modification, and compilation
    • No charge – the license can’t impose a fee.
  • Acceptable Conditions
    • Attribution – distributions of the work must include attributions
    • Integrity – may require modified versions of a licensed work carry a different name or version number
    • Share-alike – copies must remain under the same license
    • Notice – the license may require notification of copyright notices
    • Source – modified worked needs to be available in a form that will allow for more modification
    • Technical restriction prohibition – this may prohibit distribution of the work
    • Non-aggression – license may require modifiers to grant the public additional permissions

Discussion Questions

  1. How did the Debian Free Software Guidelines influence the Open Definition?
  2. Why do some proponents of open argue that placing the Share Alike restriction in licenses makes content more open? Do you agree?

Additional Resources

Debian Social Contract. (1997). Debian Social Contract, Version 1.0. Retrieved from https://www.debian.org/social_contract.1.0#guidelines


An Open Education Reader Copyright © 2014 by David Wiley is licensed under a Ontario Commons License – No Derivatives, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book