Modernise data publishing and reuse (draft)


Crown Copyright

When the public sector publishes information people should understand that it is intended for re-use.  Action is required to improve understanding of Crown Copyright, which the Taskforce found to be mis-understood by creators and re-users of data. Crown Copyright, despite its historic name, is designed to encourage re-use in the majority of cases yet the taskforce found little appreciation of this.  There were even suggestions that it was deterring potential re-users.  OPSI should begin a communications campaign to re-present and improve understanding of the permissive aspects of Crown Copyright along the lines of creative commons by end June 2009.

The use of symbols within creative commons is helpful in making the scheme intelligible to a broad range of non-expert users. OPSI may wish to give consideration to how government licensing could benefit from a greater use of symbols and other graphical means of conveying licensing information.

RSS feed of comments 8 Responses to “Crown Copyright”

  1. Is it possible to ditch the term Crown Copyright? If we’re really trying to reposition it for the data-sharing age, maybe the label has to change too.

    Ideally, we’d completely drop Crown Copyright as a concept, and just go with Creative Commons. Maybe that’s too much. But a change of name – maybe ‘Common Copyright’? – would be a symbolic move, sending the right signals to those who care most.

  2. Crown copyright is about ownership, Creative Commons is a licensing scheme. Lets not conflate two different things. We can learn much from the success of Creative Commons, but the actual CC licences are not perfect. In some respects the Click-Use licence is already more liberal (eg on the topic of not using material in a derogatory way, which is what CC says, where we simply require not deliberately misleading) and less legalistic. Interestingly, we don’t have to say “Crown copyright”. Agree on the need to do something symbolic, to encourage more re-use.

  3. A name change (away from Crown Copyright) would aid clarity of the communications effort as well as being symbolic.

  4. Tony Hirst says:

    Making tools and widgets available that *imply* the possibility of reuse would also inform the majority who don’t read/care about/understand licensing issues that they can reuse content.

    Making content available in wikis, and editable file formats; portable content widgets; APIs; “share this” links etc etc

  5. rpg says:

    I think it’s a fantastic concept. The Crown produces something that citizens have a right to reuse. It’s… *brilliant*. The problem is the the word ‘copyright’ has negative connotations. So either the Civil Service needs a marketing campaign, and/or it needs to be renamed Crown *something*. I’m a bit of a traditionalist :)

  6. Paul Walk says:

    I agree with rpg’s initial comment – I think that the Crown Copyright ’signal’ can be given a positive spin for the average developer. It could become somewhat symbolic of this whole venture.

    Tony Hirst suggests that this can be implied through the explicit invitation to use data via APIs. tools etc. I agree, but it could also be made more explicit as part of this process, by showcasing examples, e.g.:

    “look what a great application this developer has been able to make using Crown Copyright data (with some appropriate license)”

  7. Phil McAllister says:

    Agree with RPG in that I feel the term ‘copyright’ itself would deter me from re-use. The very word itself implies a restrictive license for re-use.

    Crown Copyright + Creative Commons = Crown Commons?

    In creation of symbols to represent available uses, rather than create another set of symbols, I’d like to see us explore an homage of the Creative Commons system as it is already well understood in circles that re-use data.

  8. rpg says:

    ‘Crown Commons’. I like that.