Free Music License?

Andrea Glorioso andrea at
Mon Aug 15 09:10:52 UTC 2005

On Mon, Aug 15, 2005 at 10:31:45AM +0200, Alexandre Dulaunoy wrote:
> On Sun, 14 Aug 2005, Ben Finney wrote:
> > On 14-Aug-2005, Roland H├Ąder wrote:
> > > I mean, we already a license for software (GNU GPL) and also for
> > > documentation (FDL) but no license for music (FML = Free Music
> > > License?). But you cannot compare music with software nor
> > > documentation. Music is different to them.
> >
> > It's not different under copyright law though. If you want to grant
> > the same freedoms, you can use the same license for *all* your
> > software: programs, documentation, music, images, data, ...
> >
> > The GPL talks about "program" and "source code"; so long as you make
> > it clear what you consider those terms to apply to, the GPL should not
> > be problematic to apply to any copyrighted work if you want.
> The definition of "Program" in 0.  is also broader as they use work as
> definition :
> "The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work,..."
> So as  you said, if  you are able  to make a clear  separation between
> "work" and "the preferred form of the work for making modifications to
> it." the GPL can be used for any copyrighted work.
> Keeping a single free license in  the free community is better for the
> dynamic  of  the  community.

Notwithstanding the possibility to bend the text of the GNU GPL to cover
musical works, it should be noticed that the latter are subject to a
variety of rights (so-called "neihbouring rights") which are hardly
applicable to computer programs, and which the GNU GPL does not consider
as far as I can understand - which is completely right, given that such
license was meant primarily for software.

Among such rights, we can consider the rights of performers, of phonogram
producers, of broadcasters, etc.

The Convention of Rome and the WPPT are a good reference on this topic,
as well as the relevant national/regional legislation.

So, even assuming you would want to apply the GNU GPL to musical works,
you would need to manage such neighbouring rights in some way or another.
The GNU GPL alone will not suffice (nor will CC licenses, for that).

I will not dwelve into considerations of whether the business and social
dynamics that are possible and beneficial for software can be applied
to music production and consumption (I believe not, but it is a large
topic and I am not really equipped to discuss it with the necessary



More information about the Discussion mailing list