Friday, December 12, 2008

ABS to release most website data under Creative Commons licensing

In a first for an Australian Commonwealth government agency, the ABS is set to release most of its website data under Creative Commons licensing on 18-19 December.

Announced in their Website changes coming soon page, the ABS states,
Creative Commons provides a spectrum of licensing for the use of intellectual property between full copyright and public domain – in essence 'some rights reserved'. The ABS is poised to introduce Creative Commons licensing for the majority of its web content.

The relevant Creative Commons logo (which will link to the Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence) will be included at the bottom of every page on the ABS website.

This will allow greater legal reuse of ABS data, placing the organisation inline with similar central statistical agencies in other democratic countries.

This was previously recommended in the VentureAustralia report, reviewing the National Australian Innovation System. Released by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Recommendation 7.8 stated that,
Australian governments should adopt international standards of open publishing as far as possible. Material released for public information by Australian governments should be released under a creative commons licence.

Is this a big deal for Australia?

I think so, it makes it legal to make greater use of Australian public sector data from the ABS and, through the Bureau's trailblazing, provides a case and greater comfort for other Commonwealth departments considering the same route.

The Queensland government already supports Creative Commons, and I've previously talked about the topic in the post, How does the government maximise information distribution while minimising copyright risk?.

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