Today the UK Government has launched a new, more open licence under which people can use government information and data. The new Open Government Licence allows anyone - businesses, individuals, charities and community groups - to re-use public sector information without having to pay or get permission. It is a simple way for everyone to benefit from the increasing amount of government information published as part of the Prime Minister's Transparency agenda.When Tim Berners-Lee and I first became involved in the effort to open up government data, we identitfied permissive and open licenses as a key requirement.
Based on the world-leading Creative Commons family of licences, the new licence works in parallel with them and mirrors their Attribution Licence and the Open Data Commons Attribution Licence, whilst covering a broad range of information, including Crown Copyright, databases and source codes, and applying to the whole of the UK. It is also available in a machine-readable form so that people's tools can automatically know that it is open to use.
It replaces the existing Click-Use Licence for central government ("Crown") works, but crucially anyone in the wider public sector can use it, whether they are local authorities, police forces, universities, or hospitals. The Local Data Panel which I chair is recommending that all local authorities use the Open Government Licence when publishing their data to make themselves more accountable and open to taxpayers. In the past, licence variations were a significant barrier to data publication.
It's great to see a simple and straightforward licence so that people and organisations can re-use government data in any way they want. This is an important step forward in opening up government and making it more transparent. My congratulations to Francis Maude and Tom McNally and their teams at the Cabinet Office and The National Archives.