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Copyfree is a type of permissive license. The term is a play on the word copyleft as well as the word copyright, describing a practice that contrasts both of them of using copyright law to remove restrictions on distributed copies and modified versions of a work imposed by both copyleft licensing and copyright itself. Where copyleft licensing generally requires that all derivative works be distributed under the terms of the same license, copyfree licensing generally requires only that the original work and direct modifications of it continue to be distributed under the terms of the same license.[1] The Copyfree Initiative maintains the Copyfree Standard Definition,[2] which establishes a specification to qualify a license for Copyfree Initiative certification of a copyfree license.

Copyfree licenses include Simplified BSD license, Open Works license, etc, but not the GPL or copyleft licenses. Apache License is one of the CopyCenter licenses that are not included in copyfree group of licenses. It is also notable that CC-BY 3.0 is rejected. The Copyfree Initiative follows a strict policy of its definition. All copyfree licenses are copycenter and permissive licenses. However, not all permissive licenses are copyfree under stricter definition.

WikiData uses CC0 which is considered to be copyfree.[3][4]


  1. ^ Camden, Sterling. "Legal considerations when using free software in IT consulting projects". TechRepublic Article: Legal considerations when using free software in IT consulting projects. TechRepublic. Retrieved 27 September 2011. "[...]These licenses are called copyfree, because you are free to copy the material and use it as you see fit. The author retains copyright and expects to receive credit for the original work, but not much else. Unlike with copyleft licenses, derivative works are not required to be licensed under the same or compatible terms, though the original material retains its original license. [...]" 
  2. ^ "Copyfree Standard Definition". Copyfree Initiative. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Denny et al.. Wikidata:Introduction. Wikidata. . URL: Accessed: 2013-04-29. (Archived by WebCite® at
  4. ^ Anonymous. Copyfree Licenses. Copyfree. . URL: Accessed: 2013-04-29. (Archived by WebCite® at

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