IP Principles for Commonwealth Agencies

More news on the Government IP front to hearten those interested in transparency and accountability and stemming from the Declaration of Open Government. The Government has released its Statement of IP Principles for Commonwealth Agencies.

SHARING, COMMERCIALISATION, DISPOSAL, AND PUBLIC ACCESS TO IP

11. (a) Agencies should encourage public use and easy access to material that has
been published for the purpose of :
 informing and advising the public of government policy and activities;
 providing information that will enable the public and organisations to understand their own obligations and responsibilities to Government;
 enabling the public and organisations to understand their entitlements to government assistance;
 facilitating access to government services; or
 complying with public accountability requirements.

This includes all materials which agencies are generally obliged to publish or otherwise allow free public access to. This material may also be described as ‘public
sector information’. It does not necessarily include materials that have been published for commercial purposes. Nor does it cover materials which are of a sensitive nature,
such as information that impacts on national security or information which would destroy the possibility of subsequently obtaining patent protection where such
protection is necessary to achieve public benefit.
Permission for public use and re-use of such material should generally be given royalty free and on a non-exclusive basis. Exclusive licences to use such materials
should only be given in exceptional circumstances.

11.(b) Consistent with the need for free and open re-use and adaptation, public sector information should be licensed by agencies under the Creative Commons BY standard as the default.
An agency’s starting position when determining how to license its public sector information should be to consider Creative Commons licences (http://creativecommons.org.au/) or other open content licences.
Agencies should license their public sector information under a Creative Commons licence or other open content licence following a process of due diligence and on a case-by-case basis.

Before releasing public sector information, for which the Commonwealth is not the sole copyright owner, under a Creative Commons BY standard or another open
content licence, an agency may need to negotiate with any other copyright owners of the material.

With re-use and mash-ups of government data we can get more useful applications such as the prize-winning http://www.suburbantrends.com.au/

Note: the Principles apply to FMA Act agencies only, however CAC agencies should be guided by the same.

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