general arts licence


It is posted for information only. I suggest using Creative Commons or GNU licences.


The purpose of this Licence is to make a work “free” in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or non–commercially. Secondarily, this Licence preserves for copyright holders and other holders of rights to the work a way to get credit for their contribution, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others.

This Licence is a kind of “copyleft”, which means that derivative works of the artwork must themselves be free in the same sense. It was closely inspired by version 1.2 of GNU’s Free Documentation Licence (browse


This Licence applies to any work that is subject to a notice from the copyright holder saying it can be distributed under the terms of this Licence. Such a notice grants a world–wide, royalty–free license, unlimited in duration, to use that work under the conditions stated herein. The “Artwork”, below, refers to any such work. Any member of the public is a Licensee, and is addressed as “you”. You accept the Licence if you copy, modify or distribute the work in a way requiring permission under copyright law.

A “Modified Version” of the Artwork means anything containing the Artwork or an identifiable portion of it, either copied verbatim, or with modifications and/or translated into another language and/or interpreted into another artistic medium.

An Artwork may contain “Secondary Sections”, such as a named appendix or a front–matter section of the Artwork that deals exclusively with the relationship of the Holders of Rights to the Artwork’s overall subject (or to related matters) and contains nothing that could fall directly within that overall subject. The relationship could be a matter of historical connection with the subject or with related matters, or of legal, commercial, philosophical, ethical, artistic or political position regarding them. The Artwork may contain zero Secondary Sections. If the Artwork does not identify any Secondary Sections then there are none.

The “Invariant Sections” are certain Secondary Sections whose titles are designated, as being those of Invariant Sections, in the notice that says that the Artwork is released under this Licence. If a section does not fit the above definition of Secondary then it is not allowed to be designated as Invariant. The Artwork may contain zero Invariant Sections. If the Artwork does not identify any Invariant Sections then there are none.

The “Cover Texts” are certain short passages of text that are listed, as Front–Cover Texts or Back–Cover Texts, in the notice that says that the Artwork is released under this Licence. A Front–Cover Text may be at most 5 words, a Back–Cover Text may be at most 25 words. If the Artwork does not identify any Cover Texts then there are none.

A “Transparent” copy of the Artwork can be used to produce a copy which is artistically indistinguishable from the original, without using proprietary tools, for a reasonable cost. A copy which is otherwise Transparent but which has been arranged to thwart or discourage subsequent modification is not Transparent. A copy that is not “Transparent” is called “Opaque”.

The “Title Page” means, for a printed book, the title page itself, plus such following pages as are needed to hold, legibly, the material this Licence requires to appear in the title page. For works in formats which do not have any title page as such, “Title Page” means the text near the most prominent appearance of the work’s title, preceding the beginning of the body of the text.

A section “Entitled XYZ” means a named subunit of the Artwork whose title either is precisely XYZ or contains XYZ in parentheses following text that translates XYZ in another language. (Here XYZ stands for a specific section name mentioned below, such as “Acknowledgements”, “Dedications”, “Endorsements”, or “History”.) To “Preserve the Title” of such a section when you modify the Artwork means that it remains a section “Entitled XYZ” according to this definition.

“Holders of Rights” have legal and / or contractual rights to the Artwork.

A “Performance Artwork” is an Artwork with a defined period of existence, no longer than a year, for which there is a defined audience.

If the Artwork consists of independent components, the Licence and the sections required by the Licence should be placed in a single document, which may contain other items. It is suggested, but not required, that a list of all components which constitute the Artwork is provided.

The Artwork may include Warranty Disclaimers next to the notice which states that this Licence applies to the Artwork. These Warranty Disclaimers are considered to be included by reference in this Licence, but only as regards disclaiming warranties: any other implication that these Warranty Disclaimers may have is void and has no effect on the meaning of this Licence.


You may copy and distribute the Artwork in any medium, either commercially or non–commercially, provided that the copyright notices, and the licence notice saying this Licence applies to the Artwork are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this Licence. If the Artwork contains a copy of this Licence, you must reproduce this Licence in all copies. You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the use or further copying of the copies you make or distribute. However, you may accept compensation in exchange for copies. If you distribute a large enough number of copies you must also follow the conditions in section 3.

You may also lend copies, under the same conditions stated above, and you may publicly display copies.


If you publish mass–produced copies (or copies in media that commonly have printed covers) of the Artwork, numbering more than 100, and the Artwork’s Licence notice requires Cover Texts, you must enclose the copies in covers that carry, clearly and legibly, all these Cover Texts: Front–Cover Texts on the front cover, and Back–Cover Texts on the back cover. Both covers must also clearly and legibly identify you as the publisher of these copies. The front cover must present the full title with all words of the title equally prominent and visible. You may add other material on the covers in addition.

If the copying changes are limited to the covers, or make insignificant modifications to the Artwork which do not modify the artistry of the Artwork, for example to conform to a house style, then, so long as the modifications preserve the title of the artwork and otherwise satisfy the conditions in this licence, the copying can be treated as verbatim copying in other respects.

If the required texts for either cover are too voluminous to fit legibly, you should put the first ones listed (as many as fit reasonably) on the actual cover, and continue the rest onto adjacent pages.

If you publish or distribute Opaque copies of the Artwork numbering more than 100 and you do not include a Transparent copy along with each Opaque copy, then state in or with each Opaque copy a location or simple procedure which any member of the general public may visit or follow to obtain a Transparent copy of the Artwork, for no more than a nominal cost. Examples include specifying a computer–network location from which the general network–using public has access to download using public–standard network protocols a complete Transparent copy of the Artwork, including a Transparent copy in a programme, and giving a postal address to which a specified size stamped addressed envelope may be sent. Take reasonably prudent steps, when you begin distribution of Opaque copies in quantity, to ensure that this Transparent copy will remain thus accessible until at least one year after the last time you distribute an Opaque copy (directly or through your agents or retailers) of that edition to the public, except that, for a Performance Artwork, the Transparent copy need only be accessible whilst the Artwork exists.

It is requested, but not required, that you contact the artists of the Artwork well before redistributing any large number of copies, to give them a chance to provide you with an updated version of the Artwork.

It is requested, but not required, that if the cost of making copies is not insignificant, then you donate one percent of the copies made to appropriate centres of learning, for educational use.


You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Artwork under the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above, provided that you release the Modified Version under precisely this Licence, with the Modified Version filling the role of the Artwork, thus licensing distribution and modification of the Modified Version to whoever possesses a copy of it.

If the original Artwork is unique, you may not, by making the Modified Version, damage, interfere with, or otherwise change it.

In addition, you must do these things in the Modified Version:

  • Use in the Title Page (and on the covers, if any) a title distinct from that of the Artwork, and from those of previous versions (which should, if there were any, be listed in the History section of the Artwork). You may use the same title as a previous version if the original publisher of that version gives permission.
  • List on the Title Page, as creators, one or more persons or entities responsible for creating the modifications in the Modified Version, together with at least five of the principal creators of the Artwork (all of its principal creators, if it has fewer than five), unless they release you from this requirement.
  • State on the Title page the name of the publisher and other Holders of Rights of the Modified Version and identify their respective rights.
  • Preserve all the copyright notices of the Artwork.
  • Add an appropriate copyright notice for your modifications adjacent to the other copyright notices.
  • Include, immediately after the copyright notices, a Licence notice giving the public permission to use the Modified Version under the terms of this Licence, in the form shown in the Addendum below.
  • Preserve in that Licence notice the full lists of Invariant Sections and required Cover Texts given in the Artwork’s Licence notice.
  • Include an unaltered copy of this Licence. If the original work did not include a copy of the Licence, you may instead include a reference to the Licence as described in Section 3.
  • Preserve the section Entitled “History”, Preserve its Title, and add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new Holders of Rights of the Modified Version as given on the Title Page. If there is no section Entitled “History” in the Artwork, create one stating the title, year, Holders of Rights of the Artwork as given on its Title Page, then add an item describing the Modified Version as stated in the previous sentence.
  • Preserve the network location, if any, given in the Artwork for public access to a Transparent copy of the Artwork, and likewise the network locations given in the Artwork for previous versions it was based on. These may be placed in the “History” section. You may omit a network location for a work that was published at least four years before the Artwork itself, or if the original publisher of the version it refers to gives permission, or if the previous version was a Performance Artwork.
  • For any section Entitled “Acknowledgements” or “Dedications”, preserve the Title of the section, and preserve in the section all the substance and tone of each of the contributor acknowledgements and/or dedications given therein.
  • Preserve all the Invariant Sections of the Artwork, unaltered in their text and in their titles. Section numbers or the equivalent are not considered part of the section titles.
  • Delete any section Entitled “Endorsements”. Such a section may not be included in the Modified Version.
  • Do not retitle any existing section to be Entitled “Endorsements” or to conflict in title with any Invariant Section.
  • Preserve any Warranty Disclaimers.

If the Modified Version includes new front–matter sections or appendices that qualify as Secondary Sections and contain no material copied from the Artwork, you may at your option designate some or all of these sections as invariant. To do this, add their titles to the list of Invariant Sections in the Modified Version’s Licence notice. These titles must be distinct from any other section titles.

You may add a section entitled “Endorsements”, provided it contains nothing but endorsements of your Modified Version by various parties—for example, critical comment, statements of peer review or that the text has been approved by an organization as the authoritative definition of a standard.

You may add a passage of up to five words as a Front–Cover Text, a passage of up to 25 words as a Back–Cover Text, to the end of the list of Cover Texts in the Modified Version. Only one passage of Front–Cover Text, and one of Back–Cover Text may be added by (or through arrangements made by) any one entity. If the Artwork already includes a cover text for the same cover, previously added by you or by arrangement made by the same entity you are acting on behalf of, you may not add another; but you may replace the old one, on explicit permission from the previous publisher that added the old one.

The Holders of Rights of the Artwork do not by this Licence give permission to use their names for publicity for or to assert or imply endorsement of any Modified Version.


You may combine the Artwork with other artworks released under this Licence, under the terms defined in section 4 for modified versions, provided that you include in the combination all of the Invariant Sections of all of the original artworks, unmodified, and list them all as Invariant Sections of your combined work in its Licence notice, and that you preserve all their Warranty Disclaimers.

The combined work need only contain one copy of this Licence, and multiple identical Invariant Sections may be replaced with a single copy. If there are multiple Invariant Sections with the same name but different contents, make the title of each such section unique by adding at the end of it, in parentheses, the name of the original publisher of that section if known, or else a unique number. Make the same adjustment to the section titles in the list of Invariant Sections in the Licence notice of the combined work.

In the combination, you must combine any sections Entitled “History” in the various original artworks, forming one section Entitled “History”; likewise combine any sections Entitled “Acknowledgements”, and any sections Entitled “Dedications”. You must delete all sections Entitled “Endorsements”.


You may make a collection consisting of the Artwork and other artworks released under this Licence, and replace the individual copies of this Licence in the various artworks with a single copy that is included in the collection, provided that you follow the rules of this Licence for verbatim copying of each of the artworks in all other respects.


A compilation of the Artwork or its derivatives with other separate and independent artworks or other works, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, and which is not a collage, is called an “aggregate” if the copyright resulting from the compilation is not used to limit the legal rights of the compilation’s users beyond what the individual works permit. When the Artwork is included an aggregate, this Licence does not apply to the other works in the aggregate which are not themselves derivative works of the Artwork.

If the Cover Text requirement of section 3 is applicable to these copies of the Artwork, then if the Artwork is less than one half of the entire aggregate, the Artwork’s Cover Texts may be placed on covers that bracket the Artwork within the aggregate, or the electronic equivalent of covers if the Artwork is in electronic form. Otherwise they must appear on printed covers that bracket the whole aggregate.


Translation is considered a kind of modification, so you may distribute translations of the Artwork under the terms of section 4. Replacing Invariant Sections with translations requires special permission from their copyright holders, but you may include translations of some or all Invariant Sections in addition to the original versions of these Invariant Sections. You may include a translation of this Licence, and all the Licence notices in the Artwork, and any Warranty Disclaimers, provided that you also include the original English version of this Licence and the original versions of those notices and disclaimers. In case of a disagreement between the translation and the original version of this Licence or a notice or disclaimer, the original version will prevail.

If a section in the Artwork is Entitled “Acknowledgements”, “Dedications”, or “History”, the requirement (section 4) to Preserve its Title (section 1) will typically require changing the actual title.


You may extract part of The Artwork, and distribute it under this Licence. You must include a copy of the Licence with the extracted part, except if the cost of producing and distributing the extracted parts without the Licence is less than half the cost of producing and distributing the extracted parts with the Licence, then you may omit the copy of this Licence provided you modify the copyright notice in the form shown in the ADDENDUM below to contain a reference to this Licence, you include the modified copyright notice, you identify the Holders Of Rights, you ensure a copy of the Licence is publicly available as described in Section 3, and you follow this Licence in all other respects regarding verbatim copying of the Artwork.


You may not copy, modify, sub–Licence, or distribute the Artwork except as expressly provided for under this Licence. Any other attempt to copy, modify, sub–Licence or distribute the Artwork is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this Licence. However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this Licence will not have their Licences terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.


New or revised versions of this Licence may be published from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns. See

Each version of the Licence is given a distinguishing version number. If the Artwork specifies that a particular numbered version of this Licence “or any later version” applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that specified version or of any later version that has been published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Artwork does not specify a version number of this Licence, you may choose any version ever published (not as a draft) by dylan harris.

ADDENDUM: How to use this Licence for your Artworks

To use this Licence in an Artwork, include a copy of the Licence in the work and put the following copyright and license notices just after the title page:

Copyright © YEAR YOUR NAME.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify the work under the terms of the General Arts Licence, Version 1.0, or any later version published by dylan harris

If you have Invariant Sections, Front–Cover Texts, and Back–Cover Texts, add:

, with Invariant Sections being LIST THEIR TITLES, with Front–Cover Texts being LIST, and with Back–Cover Texts being LIST

If you have Invariant Sections without Cover Texts, or some other combination of the four, merge the alternatives to suit the situation.

If you include a copy of the Licence in the Artwork, state:

. A copy of the Licence is included in the section entitled “General Arts Licence”.

otherwise, state:

. A copy of the Licence HOW–TO–OBTAIN.

The HOW–TO–OBTAIN specifies a procedure to follow to obtain a copy of the licence. Examples of HOW–TO–OBTAIN include: “is available at NETWORK–ADDRESS”, “may be obtained by posting a B5 or larger Stamped Addressed Envelope to POSTAL–ADDRESS” and “is printed in the programme”.

If the Artwork contains nontrivial examples of program code, it is recommended that you release these examples in parallel under your choice of free software Licence, such as the GNU General Public Licence, to permit their use in free software.

The General Arts Licence is © 2003 dylan harris.
You may copy and distribute, but not modify, this licence.
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