open government

UK moves towards opening government data

Jane Park, January 21st, 2010

In a step towards openness, the UK has opened up its data to be interoperable with the Attribution Only license (CC BY). The National Archives, a department responsible for “setting standards and supporting innovation in information and records management across the UK,” has realigned the terms and conditions of data.gov.uk to accommodate this shift. Data.gov.uk is “an online point of access for government-held non-personal data.” All content on the site is now available for reuse under CC BY. This step expresses the UK’s commitment to opening its data, as they work towards a Creative Commons model that is more open than their former Click-Use Licenses. From the blog post,

“This is the first major step towards the adoption of a non-transactional, Creative Commons style approach to licensing the re-use of government information.

The Government’s commitment in Putting the Frontline First: smarter government is to “establish a common licence to re-use data which is interoperable with the internationally recognised Creative Commons model”. This is key to supporting new information initiatives such as the beta release of data.gov.uk also launched today to promote transparency, public service improvement and economic growth.”

We at CC are thrilled by this new development and congratulate the UK for this move. Though we are confident that this shift will increase the UK’s capacity to foster reuse, collaboration, and innovation in government and the world, we hope to see the UK as well as other governments move in the future towards even fuller openness and the preferred standard for open data via CC Zero, a tool that “enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright-protected content to waive copyright interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright.”

This would not have been possible without the hard work of Creative Commons teams in the UK, especially that of Dr. Prodromos Tsiavos, our CC England and Wales Legal Project Lead. Check out the press release, the PerSpectIves or data.gov.uk blog, and the Guardian article for more details.

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The US Government CTO on Creative Commons

Fred Benenson, September 22nd, 2009

Aneesh Chopra on CNET
We caught a great interview with the US Government’s CTO, Aneesh Chopra talking about his thoughts on copyright on CNET.

When questioned about the future of copyright reform (wait for the video to load and scroll to the 7:30 mark) Chopra mentions how he “embraced the Creative Commons licensing regime” when he worked with the Commonwealth of Virginia to publish their Flexbook platform. Chopra then states that he thinks that it was this experience that really informs his perspective on how intellectual property should be remixed, shared, and reused.

Needless to say, we totally agree.

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New Zealand Government Promoting Open Data

Michelle Thorne, September 8th, 2009

“There’s a trend going around the world for open data,” says Mark Harris, former manager of web standards at the New Zealand State Services Commission and co-organizer of Wellington’s recent Open Govt Data Barcamp and Hackfest.

He’s right, and New Zealand is certainly trailblazing. Last week, Creative Commons New Zealand reported that their national government released an open access and licensing framework draft (NZGOAL) for public feedback:

The framework will enable greater access to many public sector works by encouraging the New Zealand State Services agencies to license material for reuse on liberal terms, and recommends Creative Commons as an important tool in this process.

The release of NZGOAL is part of the Open Government Information and Data Re-use Project led by the State Services Commission. To get involved, join the official discussion page, contact CC New Zealand, or catch up with the Open Government Ninjas.

In other cool open gov news, New Zealand start-up Koordinates has become the online publication point for the Ministry for the Environment‘s Land Cover Database and the Land Environments New Zealand classification, released under CC BY.

Want to learn more?

Creative Commons curates a wiki listing of governmental license usage worldwide, plus a table on the public sector information laws in various jurisdictions and case studies from key government adopters. If you know of other examples, please help us document them by using the resources above or leaving a comment. Thank you!

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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.

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