Artistic license is actually a term that predates PERL and even Larry Wall. It is commonly used when an Artist changes what is being represented so that to better express his meaning. Often, but not always, a synonym for hyperbole.

An example would be in the movie Dune, where a guildsman apears before the emporer. In the book, an actual guildsman does not make an apearance until the second book, Dune Messiah. This would often be stated in the following form:

"The director of Dune took some artistic license when he had a guildsman apear before the Emperor".

The term is often used in the form of "taking artistic license". It is often done when moving a story or idea from one medium to another, however it applies equally if it is an original work based on real events.