To honor its mission, Wikipedia accepts incoming copyright licenses only if they meet Wikipedia's definition of "free" use. This is a higher standard than we would need just for our own use. But our ability to use a work does not guarantee that others may use it. We reject licenses that limit use exclusively to Wikipedia or for non-commercial purposes. Commercial use is a complex issue that goes well beyond a company's for-profit status, another reason to be careful. In fact, we reject any licenses with significant limitations. That is not free enough.
Generally, the exclusive rights granted by the United States Copyright Act (described in detail in the BitLaw section on the scope of copyright protection ) may be exercised as the copyright owner sees fit. If an author of a manuscript does not want the manuscript published or distributed, the author as the copyright owner can prevent publication and distribution. Similarly, these rights can be controlled through licenses however the copyright owner desires (described in more detail in the BitLaw discussion on copyright transfers and licensing ). However, several limited exceptions to this rule have been made in the Copyright Act under the guise of compulsory licenses. These compulsory licenses allow third parties to copy, perform, or distribute certain types of works without the copyright owners permission, in exchange for which the third parties must pay a predetermined royalty amount.