Free licenses

Free licenses

In this section we will offer some tools related to intellectual property and free licenses. To elaborate the following summary, we have based on explanations that have been previously developed by friendly initiatives such as the Lavapiés Film Festival or the Creative Commons organization itself.


The intellectual property of a work belongs to the author by the sole fact of its creation. Intellectual property usually distinguishes between:

Moral rights: are those linked to the author permanently and are inalienable and imprescriptible.

Patrimonial rights: are those that allow the exclusive exploitation of the work by their authors until a given period after the death of the last of them.

Protection mechanisms

Registration works as evidence against possible (unwanted) plagiarism or improper use, and is not mandatory for the author. You can register your work through Intellectual Property Registry or through online platforms such as ColorIURIS or Safe Creative.


A license is a contractual declaration by which we grant third parties the right to use our work under the conditions that we freely decide and where we manifest the uses that can be made of it. We could say that copyright management during the last century has been a coin with two faces, Copyright and Public Domain:

Copyright (all rights reserved): the exploitation rights are reserved for the holder of the economic rights and, therefore, prevents the works from being reproduced, transformed or published by third parties without previously obtaining express and written permission.

Public domain (no reserved rights): the economic rights have expired. This usually happens after a period of time since the death of the author. If an author decides to revert to the public domain all the patrimonial rights is that it allows to copy, modification, distribution and the free use of their work.

Since the end of the last century and because the digitalisation of culture, new licences have been developed, which add new possibilities to the two already existing. Those are:

Semi-free: some rights are reserved. Some uses such as commercial ones are not allowed if the author decides so.

Free or copyleft: use, copy, modification and distribution are allowed but derivative works will be subject to the same conditions.  You can read more about them here:


The most standardized and extended semi-free licences are the Creative Commons. They are more flexible than Copyright because they are specially designed for the digital moment.

The author determines the possible uses of his work, allowing a better dissemination in the net. Thanks to these licenses, the appearance of new models of film production and distribution has been possible, where the author and the audience play a leading role in reducing intermediaries.


Rights that may be reserved are:

: In any exploitation, it will be necessary to recognize the authorship.

Non commercial: The exploitation of the work is limited to non-commercial uses

No derivative works: The authorization does not include permission to create a derivative work

Share Alike: Authorized exploitation includes the creation of derivative works as long as they maintain the same license when they are disclosed


There are six different types of Creative Commons licences according to the rights transfered to the community.

Attribution (by): Any exploitation of the work is allowed, including the commercial purpose, as well as the creation of derivative works, whose distribution is also allowed without any restriction.

Attribution – non commercial (by-nc): neither the derivate works (which are allowed) nor the original work can be used for commercial purposes.

Attribution – non commercial – share alike (by-nc-sa): commercial use is not allowed and derivated works must be distributed with an equal license.

Attribution – non commercial – non derivative (by-nc-nd): neither the commercial use of the original work nor the creation of derivated works are allowed.

Attribution – share alike (by-sa): derivated works are allowed but they must be lycensed in the same way than the original work. Commercial use of both original and derivated work is allowed.

Attribution – non derivative (by-nd): commercial use is allowed but the creation of derivated works is not.

Licenses from the most to the least restrictive

Esquema lineal licencias

Esquema lineal licencias


The easiest way to make sure everyone is aware of your license is to put it on the film credits. Moreover, streaming platforms often incorporate the option to define your (Creative Commons) license. This is specially useful because films may be found on the base of their license.

Example of a Creative Commons license on the film credits:

La puerta Azul

La puerta Azul

La puerta azul. Alicia Medina. Diodio media. 2015.

Pantalla licencia TPBAFK

Pantalla licencia TPBAFK

TPBAFK. Simon Klose. 2014.


ColorIURIS: international system for the management of intellectual rights through the transference of rights or license agreements, which are distinguished by a system of colors according to the restrictions that the author indicates.

Llicència Aire Incondicional (BY-NC-SA): written in Spanish and within the legal framework of Spain.

Llicència Arte Libre (BY-SA): it was conceived in the meeting of Copyleft Attitude in Paris in order to give open access to a work taking into account the moral rights of the author.

Llicència Against DRM 2.0 (BY-SA): it’s a copyleft license for art. This is the first free license that contains a clause on related rights and another against DRM

Llicència Producció de Pares (P2P): this license is very similar to Creative Commons but it introduces considerations about the type of user seeking commercial explotation and grating permission only to non-capitalist iniciatives such as cooperatives, non-profit organisations, etc.


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