Victoria embraces Creative Commons in open government push

Victoria has published guidelines on how to release government documents under Creative Commons, simplifying the process of granting intellectual property rights and enhancing its open government credentials.

Victorian public service agencies are being encouraged to release information under a Creative Commons 4.0 licence, as part of new intellectual property guidelines released this week by the Department of Treasury and Finance.

Traditionally, government documents in Victoria have usually been released as “all rights reserved” or without a stated arrangement, both of which restrict public use of the documents without permission being given by the agency. Generally a reader would be able to view the material and to print a copy for themselves, but it would be a breach of copyright for them to reproduce, email, re-publish or commercialise the material.

But the new Intellectual Property Guidelines for the Victorian Public Sector document argues government departments should err on the side of releasing information for public use:

“This historical position is inconsistent with the IP Policy Intent to grant rights to IP in a manner that maximises the public interest. For a great deal of the State’s copyright material, it is inefficient to expect the public to seek permission to make reasonable uses of material, and it is also inefficient for agencies to respond to these requests.

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