What's a free license?
Anyone who creates a work is automatically the owner of its copyright, unless they produced it for an employer, or transferred their copyright to someone else.
A free license is a kind of copyright license that says the creator will allow anyone to use their work (with some, or no, restrictions) without asking for permission. That makes it easier for others to use your work.
Wikimedia Commons defaults to what's called a "Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike" license.
That means that anyone can:
- Use it, copy it, share it
- Modify it and share it as a new work
As long as the person using it:
- provides credit to the original author and notes the license (Attribution)
- releases any modifications of the work under the same license (Share-Alike)