Making sure free means free

Art Libre license

I was blown away the other day after digging in the Art Libre license (I will stick to the original French coinage rather than the official translation “Free Art” adopted at the turn of the century, i.e. before Libre Office) and would like to consider its relevance for Scribus templates.

Like Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike, Art Libre is a copyleft license: it preserves the right to use, copy, distribute and modify copies of works including for commercial purposes while preventing misappropriation and exclusive possession by requiring that changes made be subject to the same (or a compatible) license.

I like the fact that...

Art Libre is super-duper easy. Compliance to the license involves copy-pasting the following two lines and replacing where appropriate:

[Name of the author, title, date of the work. When applicable, names of authors of the common work and, if possible, where to find the originals].
Copyleft: This is a free work, you can copy, distribute, and modify it under the terms of the Free Art License

Art Libre is simple and clear. Its eleven articles are written in plain English, striking a sensible balance between legalese and verbosity. The license is available in English, French, German, Polish and Portuguese (prior versions include Italian and Spanish).

Art Libre is applicable internationally. It was written in reference to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. As of June 2018, there are 176 countries party to the Convention.

Art Libre was specifically designed for creative works in the spirit of sharing, to “allow everyone to use creations of the human mind in a creative manner, regardless of their types and ways of expression” (Preamble). Use of Art Libre for scientific, artistic and educational projects is particularly encouraged.

Art Libre requires the attribution of all authors. Users need to specify to the recipient the name(s) of the author(s) of the originals, including their own name if the work was modified.

Art Libre is interoperable. Version 1.3 of the license is comptabile with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license, “the effect of each license as applied to a creative work [being] largely the same”. It is listed as a Free Cultural License, and conforms to the Open Definition.

Relevance for the project

The requirement to list all authors in the attribution statement is a step towards community designed templates and a strong motive for change. For ease of use and fairness concerns, existing accompanying conditions will still prevail:

  • Attribution statement to be affixed on the final design and be humanly readable.
  • Attribution requirement to be waived subject to the user’s contribution to the repository.

As for the templates already published under BY-SA 4.0, there should be no contraindication, considering the above, as to applying Art Libre 1.3 from hereon 😎.


  1. Yes, the Free Art License was written based on the General Public License. This is a copyleft license, the first for non-software creation, version 1.1 was released in July 2000. It is suitable for all productions (texts, images, videos, music, etc.) and of course for Scribus templates. Compatible with CC by+sa since version 1.3 in 2007. What is important with licenses and therefore with free licenses is that they can be effective, really enforceable under the law and easy to understand.
    The Free Art License has only one defect: it is the word "Art"... It frightens people who think they're not artists. But today, since Duchamp's ready-made, everything is art, possibly, artistic quality is what we make of it and it is above all the gracious act of giving. Copyleft inside. And then, "art" is to be taken in the sense of "technical" : ars (Latin) / techné (Greek).
    Having Scribus templates under Free Art License is really good news! Thank you!

  2. You're the best Antoine. Thanks.


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