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PSI Guidance - Use of Standard Licences to Allow Re-use


This explains the benefits of using standard licence terms to authorise the re-use of information


1. Under Regulation 16 of the PSI Regulations, public sector organisations have a responsibility to specify any:

2. This note explains how public sector organisations can authorise the re-use of their information by means of a licence.

3. A copyright licence is the means by which a copyright owner allows somebody else to re-use copyright protected information.

4. There are basically three options for allowing re-use of information. These are:

Option A - By Implied Licence

This involves giving permission by means of a notice appearing on a website or in a print publication. The advantage of this option is that once you have published the notice there is virtually no administration at all. The disadvantage is that there you will not necessarily know who is authorised to re-use your information. Also there is less scope for covering a wide range of terms and conditions.

The implied licence approach works best where you are is content to see the information re-used and are not seeking to charge for its re-use. This is dealt with in more detail in PSI Guidance Notes 2: Re-Use of Website Information and 3: Authorising Re-use of Information Contained in Print Publications .

Option B - By using the Click-Use Licence

This involves authorising OPSI to license the re-use of your information via the Click-Use Licence. The advantage of this option is that you will not have to develop your own standard licence in order to meet your responsibilities under the PSI Regulations. This is dealt with in more detail in PSI Guidance Note 4: Extension of Click-Use Licence.

Option C - By Formal Licence

This involves a contractual arrangement between the copyright owner and the re-user. The advantage of this approach is that it gives you a greater element of control. You will know precisely who is authorised to re-use your information. It also gives an opportunity to specify particular terms and conditions. The disadvantage is that it requires rather more administrative effort than Options A and B and it can take longer to transact.

The formal licence approach is suitable when you are licensing the re-use of commercial information and are seeking a financial return. It follows that it will contain details involving payment arrangements and invoicing.

5. This note covers the Option C approach. It assumes that you wish to charge for the re-use of commercial information. A sample licence is provided at Annex A (PDF - 100 KB).

How the licence process could work

6. This involves specifying particular information or generic types of information that can be used under the one licence model. It is envisaged that the standard template licence would be published on your website, so meeting your obligation under the PSI Regulations. An application form could also be provided which would enable applicants to complete and send to you online.

7. On receipt of the application your staff would complete the variable information in the licence such as applicant details and the information that is to be re-used and then send it back to the applicant for signature either by post or online.

Why is action required?

8. Action is required for the following reasons:


9. Alternatively, OPSI can handle the licensing for you by means of the Click-Use Licence for public sector information. This will involve you identifying the categories of information that you wish to be covered and mandating OPSI to license the information on your behalf. For further details see PSI Guidance Note 4: Extension of Click-Use Licence