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New approach to licensing re-use of public sector information

21 January

The government has taken a major step toward a new approach to licensing the re-use of public sector information, with a new licence available on the website. This website, launched today, provides a single access point to over 2,500 central government datasets that have been made available for free re-use.

A new approach to licensing the re-use of public information was promised in the recent government report Putting the Frontline First: Smarter Government, and is key to supporting new information initiatives,

The National Archives, working with teams from Creative Commons, have put together a straightforward set of terms and conditions for the new website, which mean that the data available on the site can be re-used both commercially and non-commercially. These terms and conditions are aligned with the Creative Commons approach to licensing, which allows the creator of information to communicate simply and clearly which rights they reserve, and which they waive for the benefit of people wishing to re-use that information. The terms and conditions are also 'machine readable', which means that IT applications and programs can access and understand them without a person having to read them.

The existing Click-Use Licences, opened-up public sector information to everyone, and allowed re-users to develop information products based on that information. Over the coming months, The National Archives will continue to work on the new approach, to develop a new licensing model that will make public sector information even more accessible. For updates on this work go to the Perspectives blog.