[okfn-discuss] Open Source Movie Def. request for comments

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Mon Mar 23 10:47:41 UTC 2009

2009/3/23 Tim Baumann <jayday at gmx.de>:
> Hello,

Good to hear from you!

> Jonathan suggested me to post this here. I've been writing a thesis
> paper on Open Source Film business models and since I couldn't find a
> suitable definition for the term Open Source Film I consulted Open
> Source Filmmakers (among them Ton Roosendaal / Blender Foundation) in
> order to discuss the issue. I already used the def. in my thesis paper
> but I would be very happy to get feedback from you in order to possibly
> improve it.
> An Open Source Movie is a movie where:
> 1) The license of the movie is approved for Free Cultural Works.
> Specifically this is true for the Creative Commons licenses by and by-sa.
> 2) The materials used in the movie (sources) are also available under a
> license which is approved for Free Cultural Works.
> 3) The movie and its sources are made publicly available via an online
> download or by other means that are either free or with a cost that
> covers reasonable reproduction expenses only.

These 3 are in essence the contents of the Open Knowledge Definition:


which in a nutshell says:

1. You should be able to get the work (in a modifiable source form)
2. You should get it under a license that allows for use, reuse and
redistribution without restriction (other than, possibly, share-alike
and attribution)

(The OKD and the FCW definition are very similar in essence -- the two
projects have been extensive contact with the OKD being developed
slightly before the FCW definition and being slightly broader in

> 4) The sources should be viewable and editable with free/open source
> software. If this is not the case, they must be convertible into such a
> format by using free/open source software. The same applies to the movie
> itself.

something very similar is also in the OKD as item 4: "Absence of
Technological Restriction":

The work must be provided in such a form that there are no
technological obstacles to the performance of the above activities.
This can be achieved by the provision of the work in an open data
format, i.e. one whose specification is publicly and freely available
and which places no restrictions monetary or otherwise upon its use.

This doesn't talk about the software but simply about the format (this
is felt to be a slightly more neutral approach). For example, there
may be an open format for which there is not yet an open source
implementation (but there easily could be)

> 5) It should be possible to re-create or re-assemble the movie using the
> source materials.
> The definition tries to apply the OSI definition of Open Source software
> to film. For reasons of simplicity I refer to the definition of Free

This is exactly where we began from: the OSI definition. The OKD is
essentially a port of the OSI with some "tweaks".

> Cultural licenses (see 1). I did not include the requirements of the
> definition of Free Cultural Works because this one is far too demanding
> when it comes to the term "free" and thus doesn’t suit for filmmaking
> for several reasons. Naming the specific CC by and by-sa is simply done
> because the CC licenses are the most well know and in the case of movies
> the most widely used licenses which are approved for free cultural works.

Quite right -- while CC is heavily used it is not the only "open"
license. We list license compliant with the OKD here:




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