One size licence fits all

20 November 2009

As part of the Australian Government's commitment to improving access to government information, Geoscience Australia has adopted a dramatically simplified licensing process for its online products.

"Geoscience Australia is a leading Australian Government agency in this space, using the Creative Common Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence, commonly known as the Creative Commons Licence, to licence data and information across Geoscience Australia's website," said Chief Information Officer, Stuart Girvan.

"Our agency is custodian of a vast range of valuable geological and spatial datasets that are used by the public sector and private sector industries in the exploitation of resources, management of the environment, safety of critical infrastructure and the resultant well-being of all Australians. The Creative Commons licence has created a more efficient process for them to access this valuable information,"said Stuart.

Creative Commons simplifies all online licensing agreements, and is in keeping with the aims of the Government 2.0 Taskforce, which is scheduled to report to the Government at the end of 2009. The Taskforce was jointly launched in June 2009 by the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, The Hon Lindsay Tanner MP, and the Special Minister of State, Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig. Under its terms of reference, the Taskforce is investigating and preparing recommendations on a range of approaches to make government information more accessible and usable and build a culture of online innovation within Government.

"The Creative Commons licence deals with ownership and attribution matters more efficiently and consistently. Administration is dramatically reduced, due to factors such as the elimination of requests to clarify the conditions of licence. There is also a marked decreased in the overall legal costs for licensing, which is a significant benefit for industry in particular" said Stuart.

Creative Commons Licences are generic, off-the-shelf licences regulating the use of scientific, educational, artistic and other forms of intellectual property. They are designed to make it easier to mark creative works with the rights - to use, share, and re-use. Creative Commons Licences are particularly useful when the creators of a work wish it to be used as a public good, but also wish to retain some control and to limit their liabilities. Creative Commons Licences were developed by an international not for profit organisation and has been adapted to the legal codes of over fifty countries, including Australia.

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