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Opening the Government, Starting with the Transition

I’m a signer of a letter on a new site called “An Open Transition,” where a group of folks led by Larry Lessig:

  • celebrates the incoming administration’s decision to put a Creative Commons license on its Change.Gov transition website, thereby allowing anyone to share, remix and otherwise reuse and copy the material there;
  • and asks that this philosophy be extended widely in the new administration, and around the government in general.

Politico has a short story on this here.

0 Comments on “Opening the Government, Starting with the Transition”

  1. #1 Jon Garfunkel
    on Dec 2nd, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    My sense is that one of the undercurrents is that Lessig trying to get YouTube to saddle up to Creative Commons (after two years). If only the prezvid people had hooked up with in a show of solidarity…

  2. #2 Dan Gillmor
    on Dec 3rd, 2008 at 11:18 am

    I’ve been trying to get YouTube to do this as well, and have had lots of “we’ll think about it (until hell freezes over)” responses…

  3. #3 Kathy
    on Dec 3rd, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Dan, I think it’s useful to have a CC license for UGC, but it should not be retroactive.

    However, is a government site being built with funds from Congress (ie, taxpayers). The site specifically cites the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 as its reason for being. Thus, the site is an official part of the U.S. Government. As such, the Obama-originated material is public domain on creation. Having a CC license on that content actually makes it more restrictive, not less restrictive.

  4. #4 Dan Gillmor
    on Dec 5th, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Kathy, if it’s already public domain as you say, then putting a more restrictive license on it won’t have any effect — you can’t take what’s in the public domain and copyright it.

    The point worth noting here is the move, however relatively small so far, toward more openness. That I think we should be happy about, especially given the horrendous record of the current administration in this area.