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Common Information Environment Should be CC-licensed

Mia Garlick, October 13th, 2005

Powerful recommendations were made by a recent report entitled “The Common Information Environment and Creative Commons,” released on October 10, 2005. The report was commissioned by a group of key public sector bodies in the United Kingdom including the British Library, the Department for Education & Skills, the Museums Libraries & Archives Council, the National Archives, the Scottish Library & Information Council, the BBC and the National Library of Scotland, among others, who together make up the Common Information Environment. The study was tasked with investigating the potential for Creative Commons or equivalent licenses to clarify and simplify the process of making the electronic resources of the Common Information Environment available for re-use. The study was undertaken by Intrallect and the AHRC Research Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law at The University of Edinburgh and included the results of extensive debate amongst various stakeholders during workshops that consisted of both rightsholders, being representatives of CIE organisations, and users of CIE produced digital resources such as the public, teachers, museums and library staff.

The final recommendations included the following, that:

“Creative Commons licenses are suitable for the publication of many resources produced by public sector organisations, including those produced by organisations in the Common Information Environment, because the baseline conditions and choices can meet many situations.” (p27)
“Common Information Environment organisations that are publishing materials for reuse should use Creative Commons wherever possible.”(p30)
“Public sector organisations which are not members of the Common Information Environment should consider adopting these recommendations.”(p35)

The Report also recommended other work be commenced that will likely broaden the knowledge and improve the ease of implementation of open content licensing in both the public and private sectors generally; these include recommendations that pilot studies be conducted to investigate whether the cost of administering day-to-day requests for permission to use resources are higher than the cost of administering Creative Commons licensing (p33) and recommendations for the development of ‘best practice guides’ for aggregrating and attributing resources.(p34)

Of course, the Report itself is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution UK license.

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