The New Zealand Government has embraced Creative Commons licences wholeheartedly with the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL). NZGOAL recommends the use of Creative Commons licences for government agencies releasing copyright works for re-use, with the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence as the default.
More recently, NZGOAL found added support in the Declaration on Open and Transparent Government. With the Declaration, Cabinet has directed government departments, encouraged other State Services agencies and invited State Sector agencies to commit to releasing high value public data actively for re-use, in accordance with the Declaration and with the NZGOAL Review and Release process.
New Zealand government agencies are in fact releasing their data, research and policy documents under Creative Commons licences and have been doing so for some time. As of June 2012, over 75% of all government agencies had begun to release data under Creative Commons licences. Governments in the USA, the UK and Australia have also adopted similar policies.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is now the custodian of NZGOAL. In addition to looking after NZGOAL itself, DIA has also released:
- a Quick Guide for Users; and
- its first NZGOAL Guidance Note, Guidance Note 1: Website Copyright Statements.
The Government’s purpose in advocating the release of useful and re-usable copyright material it holds with Creative Commons licences is, as noted in NZGOAL, two-fold:
- enabling people to re-use government material for their own purposes, whether economic, environmental, creative or cultural, in the knowledge they may do so legally; and
- encouraging experts and others to contribute to improved policy development and more efficient financial performance by government through being able to access, manipulate and provide feedback on such material.
In essence, open access policies and licences allow democratic participation in the formation of public policy and they allow the public to reuse and even monetise publicly funded content and data in innovative ways. New businesses and services which are built upon useful and non-personal Government data can thrive when these materials are made available for re-use.
The New Zealand Charities Commission has released the Charities Register as part of its Open Data Web Service. The tool allows users to explore New Zealand’s charitable sector. Users can learn about the size, funding, organisation and location of New Zealand charities. The Charities Commission has licensed this information as Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand.
Data.govt.nz is a directory of datasets held by New Zealand government agencies. The site provides links to datasets hosted on a range of government websites. Many of these datasets use one of the licences provided by Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand.
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