What is this?

Past micro grants


Abe's Curated $100 Micro Grant

I (Abe) am creating a monthly $100 grant to create CC0, CC-BY, CC-BY-SA or GPL (compatible) art, code, hardware designs, etc.

If you want to create art, code, hardware designs or whatever else and release it under a free/libre license, please consider applying!

Grants will be awarded at the beginning of every month.

Subscribe to the email list for updates (awards, released works, etc.)

Apply for an Abe $100 Micro Grant

Contact info (e.g. email)

contact me with updates

What would you use the grant to create?

Have you release any free/libre work before? If so, what? (please provide links if applicable)

Please tell me anything else you'd like

What is this?

The $100 is meant as a small incentive for artists and engineers to create free/libre work.

I am experimenting with trying to incentivize creation of art and engineering through a small $100 monthly micro grant. The grant awardees will be chosen by me (Abe) in my sole discretion. Awardees are encouraged to release some asset, be it art, code, design or whatever else, as quickly as possible under a free/libre license.

Grant awardees and grant money will be dispersed at the beginning of every month.

Awardees of the $100 are under absolutely no obligation to produce anything. The $100 monthly grant is given with the hope that something will be produced and released under a free/libre license but there is no binding agreement. I will be slightly miffed at persons who receive a micro grant from me but do not deliver and I will most likely not fund subsequent applications for a micro grant from said applicants.

There is also a hope that this will raise awareness of the diminishing commons in relation to the amount of art being produced. Having a rich commons helps the arts and sciences by providing a foundation to build off of. A rich foundation of commons enhances the arts and sciences with the ability remix, reuse, transform, evolve and refine our shared knowledge and work.

Past Micro grants

Recipient Work Type of work Amount dispersed Funding Date Work Release Date
Lost Alloy
16x16px Food Items Pixel art, game assets $100 Oct. 1st 2016 Nov. 23rd 2016
$100 Nov. 1st 2016
Lily Seabreeze
Sappho Free/libre software $100 Nov. 20th 2016
Music Free/libre Music $100 Dec. 2nd 2016 N/A
Pixel Art Pixel art, game assets $100 Jan. 1st 2017 N/A
Pixel Art Pixel art, game assets $100 Mar. 17th 2017 N/A
Pixel Art Pixel art, game assets $100 Mar. 18th 2017 N/A
GitHub Interactive fiction, game programming, game art $150 * May 9th 2017 N/A
Jonathan Barker
Wiki Commons
Ink Robot Illustration $150 June 22nd 2017 N/A
Free Music Archive
@nctrnm Music $100 Nov 3rd 2017 N/A

$50 extra contribution by sanglorian

Not Asked Questions (NAQ)

If you see any inaccuracies, points of clarification or want to give other feedback, please

Can you give me an idea of what type of work you'll be funding?

I want to keep it pretty open but here is a non-comprehensive list:

If you have something you'd like to make free/libre, then you should apply! The worst that happens is nothing!

Here are some sites that you can look at to get a feel for what type of work can be reasonably (or maybe unreasonably) be expected to get created for $100:

What does it mean to "release under a free/libre license"?

From a high level perspective, I mean that any copyrightable assets that were used to create a piece of work are released under a license that allows others to use, alter and/or sell freely.

Each different medium has it's own set of assets that can be copyrightable and it can get quite complex.

If you receive a micro grant from me, it's encouraged that you release the following for each type of medium:

Medium Asset type to release as CC0, CC-BY, CC-BY-SA or GPL compatible Example
Fine art (pictures, drawings, paintings) Digital pictures Milkmaid by Vermeer
Digital 2D art (comics, game assets) PNG, Gifs, Photoshop PSD file, GIMP XCF files, etc. Top Down Dungeon Tileset by Buch
Digital 3D art Underlying files (3DS, BLEN, DXF), preferably in a format that can be used by Free/Open/Libre tools. 3D Nature Pack by Kenney
Music MP3, OGG, MIDI, etc. Sheet music (if appropriate) is encouraged. Ace of Cades by BitBurner
Sound effects MP3, OGG, MIDI, etc. Any other meta data (if applicable) is encouraged. 14th September 2014 rainfall by csengeri
Animation WAV, MP4, OGG, etc. Any music or sound effects need to be licensed appropriately as well. It's encouraged to also give any underlying files used to create the animation (pictures, etc.) The Digital Tipping Point (Christian Einfeldt)
Movies WAV, MP4, OGG, etc. Any music or sound effects need to be licensed appropriately as well. It's encouraged to also give any raw or cut footage that's produced. Sita Sings the Blues by Nina Paley
Program/Executable Source code Linux
Electronics Any design files (Eagle, KiCAD) used. A bill of materials (BOM) is also encouraged. A tutorial or how-to of the assembly is also encouraged. Bus Pirate by Dangerous Prototypes
Furniture Any design files (DWG, DXF, etc.) used. Any auxiliary files produced are encouraged to be released. A tutorial or how-to of on the creation and/or the assembly is also encouraged ZipStich Chair by Ben Uyeda
Clothing Any design or files used for the pattern (SVG, PS, PDF, etc.). Any auxiliary files produced are encouraged to be released. A tutorial or how-to of on the creation and/or the assembly is also encouraged Panda Pattern by Silver Seams
Writing The final text file or document (TXT, PDF, etc.). It's encouraged to release any underlying source files used (.DOC, LaTeX, etc.). Ein Hungerkünstler by Franz Kafka
Bio-hacking Any design files (DWG, DXF, etc.) used. Any protocols used. Any source files used. Any Any auxiliary files produced are encouraged to be released. A tutorial or how-to of is also encouraged OpenDrop by GaudiLabs

This above list is non-comprehensive. The underlying rule should always be "have I given someone else with reasonable access to resources the information to be able to reproduce or use this project?" If the answer is no, you should consider adding whatever is needed to allow for someone else to reproduce or reuse it.

I am no expert on what's copyrightable, so please do your own research.

Why don't you just fund artists directly that you like?

I do and I have. Funding artists that I like and providing this micro grant are not mutually exclusive.

Aren't there more important causes then this?

Yes! Here are some organizations I donate or have donated to:

Funding causes that I believe in and providing this micro grant are not mutually exclusive.

Why not just use KickStarter/IndieGoGo/Patreon/Gratipay/etc?

I do and I have! Using crowd funding platforms and providing this micro grant are not mutually exclusive.

What happens if someone steals your $100 grant money without producing anything?

The grant is given without qualification, so, by definition, theft cannot happen. Though I hope that the recipients will make good on their word to produce a piece of free/libre work, it is not a requirement and no legal repercussions will come from receiving the micro grant and not producing a free/libre piece of work.

Aren't you worried that someone will take your money and not produce anything?

No, not really. The bigger worry for me is the diminishing commons of our society.

I believe people are mostly honest and for the amount of work and sums of money involved, people's better nature will show through. $100 is also small enough that I won't stress any losses that might happen.

$100 is a paltry sum, my time is worth more than that!

It's true! Your time is worth so much more than a measly $100! Unfortunately I'm not very rich and this is all that I can afford.

Think of the $100 micro grant as money inside of the hallmark card you received on your birthday from your grandmother for being her special little grandchild.

You are special! You deserve that $100 for being so special!

If you're already creating free/libre work, why not apply and get $100 for that free/libre thing you're about to release? If you haven't release anything under a free/libre license, why not use this as an excuse to?

I received a micro grant but didn't produce anything. Can I give the money back?

No. That money is yours and I refuse to take it back.

Please either live up to your word and produce a work of free/libre work or use that money to fund someone else to produce a work of free/libre work.

I have a large/ambitious/awesome project but need more than $100. Will you fund me?

Maybe! Unfortunately, I'm not rich but if it's a project that I believe in or interests me, I could be convinced to give a little more than usual.

If you're worried about the $100 limit, please apply anyway. Be sure to give the amount you want and the reasons for wanting that amount. I can't promise to give you any money but I can promise to consider it!

Also, if your project is large, consider sectioning off a portion and asking for a micro grant for that part. Nothing prevents you from applying multiple times in a given month or in subsequent months, even if you've received a micro grant from me before.

How many times can I apply in a given month or at all?

You can apply as many times as you want. Nothing prevents you from applying multiple times in a given month or in subsequent months, even if you've received a micro grant before.

I only ask that you don't DoS my site, please.

I've released free/libre work in the past. Can I retroactively submit a grant to get $100 for it?

First off, let me say thank you for creating free/libre work!

While I won't give a hard 'no', I will say that I will strongly favor applicants that will use the $100 as an incentive to create and release new free/libre work.

If you have released free/libre work in the past, why not apply and use the money as an excuse to create something new?

How do you disperse funds? What about service fees?

I will disperse funds through whichever reasonable means the recipient feels most comfortable with. Some examples are PayPal and Patreon. I will cover any service fees so that the recipient gets the full $100 amount.

What license should I choose?

You should choose whatever license you feel most comfortable with from the list of CC0, CC-BY, CC-BY-SA or the GPL.

If you want my opinion, I favor CC0 for data (for example, genomic information, health records), CC-BY-SA for "artistic"/engineering works/schematics (for example, art, hardware schematics, etc.) and AGPLv3 for source code.

You're arbitrarily giving money based on your taste? Isn't that unegalitarian/censorship/tyrannical?

Maybe, but it's my money and I get to use it how I like.

I'm also happy to entertain any other suggestions people have, especially if there's more money involved. I consider this an evolving discussion and I would like to remain as open as possible to other suggestions. Please feel free to if you have any thoughts on the matter.

Also, if you have some money to spare and don't agree with my taste, why not set up your own micro grant?

You're not going to change anything (so you shouldn't even try)!

Well, aren't we negative!? Maybe it won't have any significant impact but I'd rather try than not.

Why won't you fund Non-Commercial (NC) licensed work?

The non commercial Creative Commons licenses are not free/libre. They restrict use to strictly non-commercial uses. One of the goals of this micro grant is to enrich the commons by creating works that are free to use by all, even for commercial purposes. The CC-NC licenses are in direct conflict with a free/libre ethos.

I cannot support the "no derivatives" (CC-ND) for similar reasons, as the "no derivatives" clause is in direct conflict with the free/libre ethos.

There are also other problems with the CC-NC license, including understanding when the "non commercial" terms apply (am I opening myself up to liability if I have NC content on a site that has adwords? On a YouTube channel that has commercials? etc.). Analogous problems occur with the "no derivatives" clause (am I violating the ND clause if I resize a picture? Apply a filter? Put it inside a bigger piece of work? etc.).

But how will I make money from my art/code/design/work if I release it under a CC0/CC-BY/CC-BY-SA/GPL compatible license?

Huh? How should I know?

The longer answer is that, in theory, releasing work under a free/libre license doesn't restrict you from charging for your work in any of the traditional ways. The free/libre license is an extra condition you place on your work allowing for free/libre access to it.

In practice putting a libre license on your work might modify classical revenue streams. This is a complex question and there is no simple answer. How people make money off of digital content is still an evolving question, regardless of whether the work is libre or not, and it's not clear to me what a good model is.

Some models I've seen with varying degrees of success and with various applicability depending on the type of work are:

A completely inadequate abridged further reading list:

Are you a communist?


Whatever label you want to use for the economic model that the United States employs, copyright law was invented to incentive artistic creation while still being able to enrich the commons.

... the proper goal of intellectual property law is to give as little protection as possible consistent with encouraging innovation.

Mark A. Lemley. "Property, Intellectual Property, and Free Riding".

The purpose of copyright is to effectively give a temporary monopoly on ownership for artistic content.

The goal was always to incentive creation and grant artists the ability to profit from their work while allowing for the work to ultimately feed into the commons. Instead, the copyright duration has consistently been extended to effectively last over 100 years, locking our cultural content away from popular use.

What does "CC0/CC-BY/CC-BY-SA" and "GPL compatible" mean?

Each of the items listed are licensing terms that sit on top of traditional copyright to give permissions to use the underlying works in a free/libre way.

CC0 is a license that stands for Creative Commons Zero and is effectively putting work under public domain.

CC-BY is a license that stands for Creative Commons By Attribution and requires use of works under a CC-BY license to credit the copyright holder.

CC-BY-SA is a license that stands for Creative Commons By Attribution Share Alike and requires use of works under a CC-BY-SA license to credit the copyright holder and any subsequent use of the copyrighted work to also have a "share alike" license attached to it.

"GPL compatible" in this context means any license that is compatible with the GNU Public License.

What is "Creative Commons"?

The Creative Commons ("CC") is

a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools.

from Creative Commons Policies

All this talk about copyright is dull/boring/dry. Who cares? Just do what the fuck you want!!

A rich commons is important for a healthy and diverse artistic culture. Copyright, in it's current form, is overly restrictive by effectively only allowing works older than a century to fall into the public domain. It's not hard to imagine that copyright duration could be extended indefinitely.

Copyright issues are starting to affect us all, be it from DMCA take down notices on posted videos or copyright infringement notices for downloaded content. The more subtle implications are that it has a chilling effect by restricting new artwork that wants to build on the vast majority of art created in the current and last century.

Without a conscious effort to put works under an alternate license, full copyright is the default, effectively barring it from contributing to the commons. Though it might be tempting to come up with a license that isn't so complicated as the Creative Commons license or the GNU Public License, international copyright law can be complex. My belief is that it's better to use a license that has been vetted by persons who have experience and expertise rather than try to re-invent a new license.

We need to balance incentivizing new artistic works but we also need to adapt to the changing technological landscape. I believe the only real solution is copyright reform. Until copyright duration is fixed, I hope to add to the artistic commons in some small way through my own work and whatever other work I can help facilitate.

Where can I go to learn more about Creative Commons and the GNU Public License (GPL)?