Uncopyright Movement

Meet Uncopyright: A movement, a collection, and a way of life.

All of these ideas are stolen. In that way, they're yours as much as they're mine.
— Leo Babauta

Uncopyrighting is exactly what it sounds like: releasing the rights to copy one's work. Learn more about the concept, this site, and the people behind it on this page.

Goals of Uncopyright

Uncopyright empowers creators to share their work freely, removing barriers preventing the evolution of ideas.

We envision a creative age where ideas, instead of being coveted as property, are released into the wild to inspire others. Where we show our gratitude to the lineage that came before us — those whose work, ideas, and contributions inspire our own — by gifting to those who will come after us. Uncopyrighting is the path to that future.

Our aim with this site, and this movement, is to make the steps on this path as simple, intuitive, and natural as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I uncopyright, won't people [...]?

You can fill in the blank with a lot of different phrases: "rip me off," "devalue my work," and so forth.

Maybe! Uncopyrighting isn't for everyone, and there are certainly a lot of fears associated with the decision (you can read some here).

But one thread that seems to tie everyone — or at least almost everyone — who uncopyrights their work together is digging into these fears and coming out on the other side with hope.

How is Uncopyright Movement different from Creative Commons?

Creative Commons provides easy-to-read (no "legalese"), easy-to-use licenses for creative works. Generally, when licensing with Creative Commons, the creator still retains the copyrights to their work, and there are often other stipulations on how it can be used.

In uncopyrighting, the creator releases their copyrights altogether: no stipulations, no licensing, no issues.

In this way, Creative Commons and the Uncopyright Movement complement each other nicely. The exception is with "Creative Commons Zero" (CC0) license, which is the same as uncopyrighting.

A lot of folks misunderstand "Creative Commons" to mean CC0 (i.e., anything CC licensed is fair game for use by others), which is why the more intuitive label "uncopyright" is preferred by some creators: it helps people know exactly how their work can be used, and it doesn't create confusion with other Creative Commons-licensed works.

Is this site/movement uncopyrighted?

Of course! And it's open source. You can download just about everything (including the HTML/CSS) here.

How can an uncopyrighted work be used?

However you want. It's that simple.

There are no restrictions. Generally, creators appreciate being credited. And if you are grateful for something someone shared freely, you're always welcome to gift them something in return. But that's all up to you.

Who Made Uncopyright.org?

This was created as part of the hues global justice collective by Sam Killermann, an uncopyrighter himself. He was inspired (directly) by Leo Babauta and (indirectly) Amanda Palmer to uncopyright his work back in 2013. A year later, he reflected on that experiment fondly, and started uncopyrigthing everything else he made (from websites, to essays, to books).

But the idea of "uncopyright" is one that lots of disconnected folks have attached themselves to throughout the years (just google the word: most of these people are not affiliated with this site).

About hues

This project is part of the hues global justice collective. The mission of hues is to create art that inspires action, tools that facilitate change, and resources that bolster efforts for global justice — all embodied in the spirit of the gift.