What is Open?

Creative Commons includes NC to denote 'no-commercial use'. Initatives in recent years have seeked to reclaim 'Open' as something which cannot include this exclusion. Indeed most open source licenses differ only in the question of share-alike or not (GPL vs MIT). In other words, 'unless commercial exploitation of a working is allowed, then a work isn't open'.

This definition was pushed forward by the Open Knowledge Foundation, in their Open Definition, in relation to "Open Data, Open Content and Open Knowledge".

It can be summed up in the statement that: “Open means anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any purpose (subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness).” Put most succinctly: “Open data and content can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose

[[Open GLAM]] use this same definition, as does much of the FOS world: 1 -
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There has also been a push by some to get CC-BY-NC changed to make clear that it is not Open (

Simultaneously there has been a movement within Open Source licenses to carve out exceptions, such as commercial use. While there is considerable pushback (see this thread of replies to a question on the subject, responses range from the many [[Copy Far Left]] licenses to Microsoft's [Shared Source](Shared Source) and Heather Meeker's Common Clause .

NB confusion shouldn't be made with the Open Source Initative approved Non-Profit Open Software License version 3.0 (NPOSL-3.0), which is for non-profits to release GPL code with fewer warranties than for-profits ([explainer](Non-Profit Open Software License 3.0 (NPOSL-3.0)).

What is Open?