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Glossary of Terms


Software application that includes advertisements while software is running. Adware is used as an income source.


The practice of using copyright law to offer the right to distribute copies and modified version of works . A use of existing copyright to ensure a work remains freely available. The author surrenders some but not all of their rights.


Exclusive rights granted to author/creator of original work including right to copy, adapt and distribute. Rights can be licensed or transferred and may last for a certain amount of time. (See Stanford's Copyright FAQ)

Creative Commons

Non Profit organization whose goal is to expand the range of creative work available to others to share and legally build upon in a way consistent with rules of copyright. They have released several Creative Commons licenses. ( See Creative Commons )


Software that is distributed with limited functions until user registers or pays for the full version


Refers to the idea that somethings may sound free but are not free; someone else pays. For example, free parking at a restaurant is free for patrons but paid for by restaurant. When user visits a blog there may be no advertising but value is exchanged. The blogger's reputation is enhanced by visits. Examples- free product subsidized by paid product- a free gift inside; Paying later but free now-example free cell phone with 2 year subscription; paying people subsidizing free people- example -women drink free at bar at happy hour- this is to attract paying customers.


Term coined by Jeff Howe to describe how the masses are enlisted to help create a solution or perform at task; task is outsourced to community


See Shareware

Derivative Work

Work that is based on an another work. May include translations, musical arrangement, dramatization of work, transformation or adaptation

Fair Use

A legal concept (not a right), a copyright principle that allows the public to use selected portions of a copyrighted work for comment criticism or parody. See Stanford on Fair Use

Free Culture Movement

Social movement that promotes freedom to distribute and modify creative works in the form of free content. Members argue that restrictive copyright hinders creativity. The movement takes the ideals of the open source movement and extends them to all areas of culture. it can also include acces to knowledge and CopyLeft movements.

Free Software

Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program's users have the four essential freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).

  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).

  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this (see GNU)


A combination of the words "free" and "premium", a business model where the company gives away a free service or software to all customers. This service/software is usually a basic, scaled down version of what the company offers as a premium paid service. The company builds a loyal unpaid customer base and is able to continually offer additional service through advertising, referral or word of mouth to induce the customer to move up to the paid level.


Computer software that is fully functional, available free of charge for an indefinite period of time and is downloadable from the internet. Sometimes there are restrictions put on the software such as not for distribution or commercial use.

GNU Project

Free software, mass collaboration project launched as a social, ethical, and political initiative by Richard Stallman. See GNU General Public License

Intellectual Property (IP)

Term that refers to distinct creations of the mind where property rights are recognized. Intellectual property law grants some exclusive rights to things such as musical, literary, artistic works; inventions, words, phrases, symbols , designs. Type of IP rights include copyrights, trademarks, patents,industrial design rights and trade secrets. For Canada see IP Rights in Canada For US see Standford Overview of Intellectual Property Laws


Software developed to cause harm to computer systems

Open Educational Resources (OER)

teaching, learning and research resources in the public domain or released under intellectual property license that allows free use or repurposing. Includes full courses, course materials, software and tools to support access to knowledge. (Atkins, 2007)

Open Source

The term open source is defined by most people as any program where the code is available for use and modification by developers. Usually, it is developed collaboratively and made freely available

Open-source software (OSS)

Software that comes with source code. A software license allows users to alter or improve the code. Many open source licenses fit the requirements of the Open Source Definition.

Permission Culture

Term used by copyright activists to describe society with pervasive and enforced copyright restrictions. This is in opposition to so called remix culture. Also know as Read Only Culture

Proprietary Software

Software licensed under the exclusive right of the owner Those who purchase or lease the proprietary software can use the product under defined conditions. Proprietary software users but are bound by the terms of the owner. Restrictions may include distribution, and modification.

Public Domain

Works in the public domain are not covered by intellectual property rights because their property rights have expired or have been forfeited. Examples are the English language, the work of Shakespeare, works published in the US before 1923, works published in the US before 1964 and not renewed. Works published before 1978 were required to be renewed. ( See Stanford Copyright & Fair Use)

Remix Culture

A society that allows and encourages derivative works. In music sampling is an example. In video mash-ups would be an example. Sometimes also meaning Read/Write Culture.

Retail Software

Software sold to users under restricted licenses

Public Domain Software

Software that is in the public domain, there is no ownership of the intellectual property, no copyright. Public Domain software is not the same as software distributed under a free software license. With software under free license there may still be copyright and would not be in the public domain.


Creative commons term that means licensees may distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs the original work.


Proprietary software provides to users without pay on a trial basis. It may be limited by functionality, availabliity, and convenience. Users are able to try the product before purchase. Also known as trialware and demoware


Programs that surreptitiously monitor and report actions of a computer

Time Bomb

In computer software, a time bomb refers to a computer program that has been written so that it will stop functioning after a predetermined date, and therefore force the user to renew their license. This is different from shareware or trialware which allows the user to sample it for a specified number of days before they pay for it.


See Shareware


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