Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, July 23, 2007

More on CC licenses for Australian govt info

Anne Fitzgerald, Prof. Brian Fitzgerald, and Jessica Coates, Serving the Public: CC and Australian Governments,, July 23, 2007.  Excerpt:

…The growing interest in open access to government copyright products has been driven not only by technological advances in software and hardware and a growing appreciation of the economic advantages to be gained by states which enable access to and re-use of public sector information, but also by user demand….Furthermore, industry, artists, researchers and scientists, as well as the general public and other government bodies, are increasingly demanding the ability to re-use this material, rather than merely acting as passive consumers. There is now widespread recognition that such re-use is crucial not only because of its contribution to state economic development but also for creative, educational and scientific purposes. The consequence has been exponentially increasing activity directed at the development and implementation of systems and procedures to make materials generated and held by governmental entities and publicly-funded research institutes more readily available for access and re-use. The task ahead is to map out how governments can best approach the management of their copyright materials in order to foster social, cultural and economic innovation.

Where large amounts of publicly-funded creative, educational and scientific materials are subject to government copyright, there exists an enormous opportunity to unlock this material for re-use in the name of innovation and education….

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the last few years have seen exponentially increasing interest in open content licensing, and the Creative Commons licences in particular, by governments and public sector authorities around the world.  Examples of this can be seen in the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Creative Archive Licence Group project, the findings of the UK’s Common Information Environment Report and the involvement of the US National Institutes of Health with the Public Library of Science and other open publishing bodies.  At the Australian level, this interest is represented by initiatives such as the National Education Access Licence for Schools being developed by the Ministerial Council for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, the Department of Education, Science and Training’s Open Access to Knowledge Law project and the long-standing AEShareNet project….

Having considered the applicability of a range of open and closed licensing models to various types of information made available by government, and having consulted extensively with Creative Commons Australia, the GILF project’s Stage 2 report, released in March 2007, came to the conclusion that the Creative Commons licences were the most appropriate available for the licensing of government material….