New governmental usage of open licences in the Netherlands and UK

By EDRi · April 7, 2010

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Deutsch: [Neue Nutzung offener Lizenzen durch die niederländische und britische Regierung |]

Encouraging moves in promoting the open licence content in governmental
projects have been recently made in the Netherlands and UK.

The Netherlands government launched on 31 March 2010, a
single website for communications for all Dutch ministries, committing also
to promote open sharing of public sector information. The content is
available under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licence. Presently, there
are 5 ministries active on this website and the rest of the ministries will
be added during this year. This builds on previous research made by
Amsterdam’s Institute for Information Law- IViR on using Creative commons
licensing for public sector information.

Another open content positive development comes from UK. For the first time
in its 260 years of existence, Ordnance Survey, Britain’s national mapping
agency, offers now the possibility to download maps up to 1:10,000 scale,
collect a list of locations appearing on maps at the 1:50,000 scale or get
a conversion system for postcodes to grid references, free of charge for
personal or commercial use. The initiative called OpenData was launched on
1 April 2010.

John Denham, the communities secretary stated that the initiative “shows the
UK is at the cutting edge of a digital revolution. The move to free up
public data encourages fresh thinking – people re-using information in
different and more imaginative ways than may have originally been intended
increasing access to Ordnance Survey data will attract a new wave of
entrepreneurs and result in new solutions to old problems that will benefit
us all. It will also drive a new industry, creating new jobs and driving
future growth.”

Until now, except for experimental small volume applications, every piece of
map data had to be paid for. The change comes after a long period of
lobbying efforts to promote open data from the UK government led by Sir Tim

The licensing terms for the maps have also been dropped, the new maps being
offered now under a compatible CC licence requiring only the attribution of
their origin.

“Our joint aim has been to make sure that the OS OpenDataTM licence terms
and conditions correspond with those on and that these terms are
in line with the Government’s commitment to establish a common licence to
re-use data which is interoperable with the internationally recognised
Creative Commons model” says an announcement of UK Office of Public Sector
Information posted on the PerSpectIve blog.

New Dutch government portal uses CC0 public domain waiver as default
copyright status (31.03.2010)

Dutch National Government

Ordnance Survey launches free downloadable maps (1.04.2010)

Licensing and – further developments (1.04.2010)

IViR: Creative commons licensing for public sector information Opportunities
and pitfalls (01.2008)