Indian State of Odisha Releases 21 Dictionaries Under CC BY

Victoria Heath

When governments choose to use Creative Commons licenses to preserve and share cultural knowledge, like Indigenous languages, it illustrates how our licenses can help create a more accessible and equitable world

Recently, CC India’s Global Network Representative (GNC) Subhashish Panigrahi brought to our attention that the Indian state of Odisha licensed 21 dictionaries—in all 21 Indigenous languages that are spoken in the province—under CC BY 4.0. This opens them up for adaptation, distribution, and remixing by anyone.

Download or view all of the dictionaries here. 

Global Voices underlined the particular significance of this announcement in a tweet, posting: “India is home to over 780 languages and approximately 220-250 languages have died over the last 50 years.” 

According to Sailesh Patnaik, a volunteer with the Odia Wikipedia community and formerly associated with the Centre for Internet and Society, this move by the Odisha government is the result of years of collaboration and community requests. In fact, Patnaik and other volunteers from the Odia Wikipedia community worked with the government in 2017 to license all of its social media content under CC BY 4.0. This made Odisha “the first state entity in India to release all of its social media posts under a free Creative Commons license…”

We couldn’t be happier to see CC licenses being used to facilitate translation projects and sharing that could ultimately help protect Indigenous languages, knowledge, and culture. We hope that other governments and policy makers around the world will take heed and similarly make valuable content and tools like these dictionaries openly available to the public. 

If you work with a government or institution that needs consultation on how to use CC licenses, please email us at info@creativecommons.org.