UK Government will introduce an open data licence

By EDRi · October 20, 2010

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Britische Regierung will Open Data Lizenz einf├╝hren | http://www.unwatched.org/node/2281]

A perpetual, royalty-free licence called Open Government Licence (OGL)
allowing the re-use of Governmental and public information will be
introduced by the UK Government.

“The Government grants a worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual and
non-exclusive licence under the conditions laid out in the OGL. The OGL
governs the re-use of public sector information, including material produced
by government departments, Parliaments, agencies, local authorities and
Trading Funds, but excludes personal data,” is the government’s statement.

According to the National Archives the licence will replace the present
Click-Use Licence and will also cover Crown Copyright, databases and source
codes. Moreover, OGL will not require the registration of users or a formal
application to get permission to re-use data.

The licence is meant to make governmental activities more transparent and to
enable and encourage the civil society and private sector to re-use this
information, assisting them in promoting creative and innovative activities.
It will be machine readable and therefore flexible, being able to work in
parallel with other licensing models recognised internationally such as
Creative Commons.

“We believe (transparency) is the best way for the public to hold
politicians and public bodies to account, encourage innovation and deliver
better value for money in public spending,” said Francis Maude, Minister for
the Cabinet Office.

The types of information to be used and re-used will cover “non-personal
information collected and produced by government and the public sector,
including works subject to copyright and database right (much of this
information will be accessible on public sector web sites or already
published by the public sector), previously unpublished datasets released by
the public sector on portals, such as data.gov.uk and original and open
source software and source code.”

The Government has also issued a framework governing the use of the licence
by Government departments and other public bodies.

“The UK Government Licensing Framework (UKGLF) provides a policy and legal
overview for licensing the re-use of public sector information both in
central government and the wider public sector. It sets out best practice,
standardises the licensing principles for government information and
recommends the use of the UK Open Government Licence (OGL) for public sector
information.”

The framework makes it compulsory for central Government departments and
agencies to use the OGL for their freely available public information and is
intended to meet the needs and interests of community groups and social
organisations, the information re-user community in the private sector and
civil society and the public data developer community.

Government publishes open data license (7.10.2010)
http://www.out-law.com//default.aspx?page=11426

UK Government Licensing Framework for public sector information
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/uk-government-licensing-framework.pdf

EDRi-gram: New governmental usage of open licenses in the Netherlands and UK
(7.04.2010)
http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number8.7/open-content-government-uk-netherlands