Monday, August 09, 2010

New Zealand government moves to encourage use of Creative Commons licensing for public sector data

New Zealand's government has just launched a Creative Commons-based approach for the standardisation of the licensing of government copyright works for re-use.

Named the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL), the approach outlines the licensing government agencies should use when releasing copyright works and non-copyright material for re-use by third parties (preferablt 'no restriction').

The licensing approach does not apply for content containing personal or in-confidence information and various restrictions may be applied to content by using one of the variant Creative Commons licenses, though the government has specified that most public sector information should be released without restriction.

The launch announcement states that re-use of government material by individuals and organisations may have significant creative and economic benefit for New Zealand, a position that has been reflected by the UK, US and other governments.

While use of the licensing approach is not mandatory, the NZGoal document states that hoped that the NZ government hopes that agencies will embrace NZGOAL; license more of their copyright works on open terms; and open up access to more of their non-copyright material that may be of interest to the public, bearing in mind the potential benefits of doing so for both the public and agencies alike.

The Australian Government is also beginning to release material under Creative Commons licensing, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Geosciences Australia and the Department of Finance and Deregulation leading the way.

However at this stage no whole-of-government framework exists to provide guidance on how and when to release material in this fashion at federal level - although the Government Information Licensing Framework (GILF) is in place in Queensland.

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