Good To See: White House Will Now Make Some Federal Data Public Domain Worldwide Via Creative Commons CC0

from the good-move dept

As we've discussed plenty of times in the past, works created by the federal government here in the US are automatically in the public domain. There are some minor exceptions -- works created by others for the government can have copyright, and copyrights can be transferred to the US government. However, there's also one big exception, even if it's never really used: that public domain nature only applies to the US. Most other countries have concepts like crown copyright that allows government works to be covered by copyright -- and technically, works of the federal government that are public domain in the US can be considered covered by copyright elsewhere:
The prohibition on copyright protection for United States Government works is not intended to have any effect on protection of these works abroad. Works of the governments of most other countries are copyrighted. There are no valid policy reasons for denying such protection to United States Government works in foreign countries, or for precluding the Government from making licenses for the use of its works abroad.
In practice, the US government has never really enforced that foreign copyright. However, with the release of the administration's new Open Data Action Plan, the federal government is finally using CC0 declaration to waive copyright globally when it comes to datasets from certain government agencies. Additionally, the report itself is using the same CC0 dedication, while correctly noting that such a thing isn't even needed (nor could it really be used) for the work within the US:
As a work of the United States Government, this document is in the public domain within the United States. Additionally, the United States Government waives copyright and related rights in this work worldwide through the CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.
This is a step in the right direction. Historically, we've seen how making US government data completely free has helped industries grow and innovate.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 7:49pm

    CC0 is not a "license," Mike.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2014 @ 11:26pm

      Re:

      Due to the way copyright is set up you have to 'licence it' to make it freely available, so CC0 is technically a licence in the eyes of the law.

       

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  •  
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    Lurker Keith, May 10th, 2014 @ 4:08am

    not everyone

    Nice to see it isn't the entire US Government trying screw over the citizens. Unfortunately, the portions that are appear to be the most dangerous.

     

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    Guardian, May 10th, 2014 @ 7:47am

    CREATIVE COMMONS IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN

    jesus fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucking christ since when is using any liscense for copystupid mean public domain

    THIS ARTICLE IS FALSE

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), May 10th, 2014 @ 8:38am

      Re: CREATIVE COMMONS IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN

      In a country where everything is automatically copyrighted, how else can you approximate putting something in the public domain?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2014 @ 11:02am

        Re: Re: CREATIVE COMMONS IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN

        In a country where everything is automatically copyrighted, how else can you approximate putting something in the public domain?


        You can't. Some sort of explicit statement has to be made saying something like, "To the greatest extent permitted by, but not in contravention of, applicable law, Affirmer hereby overtly, fully, permanently, irrevocably and unconditionally waives, abandons, and surrenders all of Affirmer's Copyright and Related Rights," which is literally what the CC0 license does.

        Jesus fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucking Christ, why are those who are the least informed so often the most sneering and condescending when attempting to "correct" others.

         

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      •  
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        That One Guy (profile), May 10th, 2014 @ 3:39pm

        Re: Re: CREATIVE COMMONS IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN

        Really, when you think about it, how screwed up is copyright such that you cannot intentionally put something you create into the public domain, but have to use little 'tricks' like CC licenses to manage at least something similar?

        Automatic copyright, and no ability to not have your creations covered by copyright, just more evidence that copyright was not written with actual creators in mind, but copyright owners. Because really, when you're telling a creator that they cannot give their work to the public, even if they wanted to, how is that supposed to be helping them?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2014 @ 8:28am

          Re: Re: Re: CREATIVE COMMONS IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN

          Because really, when you're telling a creator that they cannot give their work to the public, even if they wanted to, how is that supposed to be helping them?


          Ironically it's actually reducing the rights of the creator to do what they want with their work.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2014 @ 8:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: CREATIVE COMMONS IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN

            Abolition and maximalism aren't so much two ends of a spectrum. Copyright is more like a Mobius strip where if you go far enough in the maximalist direction you end up restricting the rights of creators.

             

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    •  
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      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, May 11th, 2014 @ 5:26am

      Re: CREATIVE COMMONS IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN

      You do realize this is specifically about CC0, don’t you?

      So many people think “Creative Commons” is just one licence...

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), May 11th, 2014 @ 7:31am

      Re: CREATIVE COMMONS IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN

      jesus fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucking christ since when is using any liscense for copystupid mean public domain

      Nice attitude.

      We tried to be clear. The work is public domain in the US, and the gov't is explicitly waiving all copyright worldwide via a CC0 declaration, which is as close to public domain as you can basically get.

      As for the "license" point -- CC0 is not a license, it's a declaration.

       

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      ShawnT (profile), May 12th, 2014 @ 9:01am

      Re: CREATIVE COMMONS IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN

      No. This is using CC0. It's not really a Creative Commons license per se, but it's more of an explicit, universal public domain dedication. Some countries might not technically allow people to release works into the public domain on their own, or still have them be subject to other conditions such as moral rights.

       

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2014 @ 8:21am

    jesus fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucking christ since when is using any liscense for copystupid mean public domain

    THIS ARTICLE IS FALSE


    Hahaha! Yeah, you'd think Mike would know what a license is. But, then again, if you've read TD before, maybe you wouldn't. Mike doesn't know what he's talking about most of the time. That's why he runs from criticism like the little insecure and angry coward that he is.

    If it's in the public domain, then it's not licensed, Mikey. Duh.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous, May 11th, 2014 @ 6:06am

    They will only let us see what they want us to see.

     

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