Policy / advocacy / copyright reform

The adoption of Creative Commons licenses and public domain tools for policy is beneficial to society as a whole. Open licensing helps public institutions better meet their missions of disseminating digital resources and data, breaking down the typical barriers associated with traditional copyright by granting broad permissions in advance. The integration of Creative Commons licenses within public policy clearly communicates to the users served by these policies the conditions of reuse. There’s a huge potential to drastically increase the impact of public funding through the adoption of open licenses.

Creative Commons licenses are being integrated and incorporated into public, foundation, and institutional policies around the globe. For example, some governments are starting to mandate that publicly funded education and research resources be released under Creative Commons licenses. Multiple philanthropic foundations are also adopting open licenses and intellectual property policies to expand the reach of their charitable investments. Both government and foundation open policies require (as a condition of funding) their grantees to openly license what they build and revise with grant funds. Cities are sharing useful health, traffic, weather, and crime data under open licenses to increase transparency and re-use of data for the public benefit. And intergovernmental organizations are using open licenses to share cultural heritage materials, reports, educational resources, research, and data with the world.

The Creative Commons staff and affiliate community conducts outreach, educates, and provides technical assistance to policy makers and public sector bodies about open licensing and open policy adoption. We respond to requests for comments on public policy issues related to our mission, and we’re involved in a variety of working groups and projects that aim to integrate open licensing and public domain tools into policy and practice.

Government and Public Sector Adoptions of Creative Commons

Dozens of government bodies have adopted Creative Commons licensing and public domain tools to share public sector information and data. See this page for a listing of some of those adoptions. In addition, governments have been adopting open licensing policies for publicly funded research, education, and data.

Submissions to Public Agencies

Creative Commons provides feedback to public policy related requests for information, and provides other input to government and public sector bodies about the opportunity for and process of adopting open licensing and open policies for the public good.

Policy Projects

Open Policy Network

The Open Policy Network (OPN) fosters the creation, adoption and implementation of open policies and practices that advance the public good by supporting advocates, organizations, and policy makers with information and expertise, and connecting policy opportunities with those who can provide assistance. Over the last several years, Creative Commons and related organizations have been contacted by many institutions and governments seeking assistance on how to implement open licensing and develop materials and strategies for open policies. By "open policies," we mean policies whereby publicly funded resources are developed and released as openly licensed resources. There is a pressing need to provide support to policymakers so they can successfully create, adopt, and implement open policies.

Institute for Open Leadership

The Institute for Open Leadership (IOL) trains new leaders interested in openness and policy with the passion and potential to make a high impact at their institution through the adoption of open policy. The IOL selects twenty applicants per year–through a competitive application process–to participate in an intensive weeklong training session with leading experts in open fields. Each participant will develop an outcomes-based plan for a capstone open policy project, and report on progress within one year. Through training and the project period, participants will develop the skills, relationships, and motivation to become leaders for openness in their institutions and fields.

Community Engagement and Advocacy

We work in providing outreach, education, and advocacy for open licensing and open policy across a variety of disciplines, including areas such as public sector information/open data, open access to scholarly research, open educational resources, galleries, libraries, archives, museums (GLAMs), and philanthropic foundations. We have observer status at the World Intellectual Property Organization and provide interventions there on relevant topics. We participate in working groups on these and related topics, such as the Legal Aspects of Public Sector Information (LAPSI), the International Communia Association, and the SPARC Open Access Working Group. We also advocate for copyright reform in areas that align with our mission.

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