change.gov

Change.gov’s Choice Already Bearing Fruit

Fred Benenson, December 3rd, 2008

Less than 72 hours after the Obama-Biden Transition Team adopted our most permissive license for Change.gov, Cerado Ventana has built a Change.gov iPhone, mobile application, and widget. We will never know if this application would have been built if Change.gov hadn’t chosen such a permissive license, but it just goes to show what interesting things can happen when you let the world know your work is free to be built upon.

We originally caught this via Twitter and Christopher Carfi’s “Social Customer Manifesto” blog where he expressed thanks to Obama’s team for using CC:

Thank you again to the Obama administration for opening up Change.gov with Creative Commons to make this possible, and thanks to everyone here on the team. You have been building killer technology, and have enabled us to create this new conduit for citizens and government to connect.

This is just the beginning of innovative uses of the content from Change.gov, so keep an eye out for more interesting applications and let us know about them.

Check out the widget after the jump.
Read More…

Comments Off

Lessig and others offer “Open Government” principles

Eric Steuer, December 2nd, 2008

A short follow-up to our post from yesterday about how Change.gov is now available under a Creative Commons license: Lawrence Lessig announces a set of “open government” principles intended to guide the Obama-Biden transition team’s use of the Internet. Visit open-government.us for the letter and video that outline these principles, and read Ben Smith’s post on Politico for more information about this project.

Comments Off

Obama-Biden transition site Change.gov now under a Creative Commons license

Eric Steuer, December 1st, 2008

Change.gov, the website of US president-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, has undergone some important and exciting changes over the past few days. Among them is the site’s new copyright notice, which expresses that the bulk of Change.gov is published under the most permissive of Creative Commons copyright licenses – CC BY.

Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Content includes all materials posted by the Obama-Biden Transition project. Visitors to this website agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to Change.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

This is great news and a encouraging sign that the new administration has a clear sense of the importance of openness in government and on the web (there’s a bit more on this over at Lessig’s blog). The embrace of Creative Commons licensing on Change.gov is consistent with earlier support by both Obama and McCain for the idea of “open debates.” (It’s also in line with Obama’s decision to publish the pictures in his Flickr Photostream under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license – pretty cool!)

Tim O’Reilly has written a smart post (which has elicited some very thoughtful reader comments) recommending that Change.gov use revision control as a way to further improve transparency and make it possible for the public to review any changes that occur on the site. Of course, licensing is just one component of openness, but getting licensing right is necessary for enabling people to truly take advantage of technologies that facilitate collaboration.

Update: Several people have pointed out that “works created by an agency of the United States government are public domain at the moment of creation” (see Wikipedia for more on this). Change.gov is not currently the project of a government agency, but a 501(c)(4) that has been set up to manage the Obama-Biden transition. Also, the public is being invited to contribute their own comments and works to the site, and it is important to have a clear marking of the permissions that other people have to this material.


7 Comments »