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ePSIplatform Blog Series on Creative Commons and Public Sector Information

Diane Peters, January 11th, 2011

The following is cross-posted from the blog of the European Public Sector Information Platform (ePSIplatform). ePSIplatform is a comprehensive  portal showcasing research and projects working to stimulate and promote public sector information (PSI) re-use and open data initiatives in Europe. Creative Commons is pleased to contribute a series of blog posts discussing the role of CC tools for use in public sector information.

Creative Commons’ (CC) suite of licenses and public domain tools have set a global standard for legally facilitating maximum re-use of information, where re-use (access, collaboration, dissemination, follow-on innovations, business and community ecosystems, etc.) of information is desired — as has particularly been the case with public sector information (PSI).

This ought to be of little surprise, as open licensing is completely aligned with the interests of governments in encouraging re-use of PSI, as expressed in EU Directive 2003/98/EC and similarly around the world. More broadly, there is great interest in open licenses for publicly funded information, including various kinds of cultural, educational, and research information. Across these broad categories stakeholders have realized again and again that if rights statements are confusing or not present, re-use of information will be suboptimal. Implementing CC is the solution.

In this short blog series, we will not describe the basics of the CC license suite and public domain tools, nor their burgeoning adoption by governments throughout Europe and around the world–follow the links for a review.

Instead, for the expert ePSIplatform readership (many thanks to ePSIplatform for the opportunity) we will highlight some useful “things you may not know” and point out some “things you might think you know, but are incorrect” about legal and technical aspects of CC tools — ones particularly pertinent to PSI adoption that have surfaced repeatedly in discussions CC and institutions in our global affiliate network have had with governments and publicly funded institutions, including in the course of providing implementation assistance for governments seeking to share. Following are some of the things we’ll discuss briefly in upcoming posts:

While all CC licenses require attribution, it is built in a sophisticated and flexible manner: non-endorsement, right to request removal of attribution, attribution to a publisher or funder, appropriate to medium, attribution links, and technical support for making attribution easier and more useful.

How the CC0 public domain dedication works robustly across jurisdictions, including its minimal license fallback that effectively works like our attribution-only license, and how the same technology that makes attribution under our licenses easier and more useful also makes non-legally-mandated citation of public domain materials also easier and more useful.

Jurisdiction and CC licenses: how that works legally (all CC tools are designed to apply worldwide). Also the leadership role of CC affiliate network jurisdiction projects in PSI.

How CC0 and CC licenses are being used for data (both are used extensively for PSI); also how they treat sui generis rights (separately, CC will be issuing an in-depth contemporary statement on this topic in the near future), what this means for PSI, and related improvements we’re exploring for an eventual version 4.0 of the CC license suite.

We are also developing a topic report on PSI and CC tools, to be published at the conclusion of this series. The report will include references to much of the excellent material published on PSI and CC over the last several years.

Feel free to leave a comment on this post if you have burning questions about the items above, or requests for other points to be covered in this series or the topic report. As always, if you have questions about CC licenses and public domain tools, we hope you’ll come to the source for the official story.

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