[LINK] Crown Copyright [Was Re: Lundy:Citizen-centric ...

Alex (Maxious) Sadleir maxious at gmail.com
Thu Mar 3 17:49:33 AEDT 2011

On Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 4:50 PM, Roger Clarke <Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au> wrote:
> At 16:11 +1100 3/3/11, Tom Koltai wrote:
>>This has always puzzled me...
>>Quote/ [From the above URL speech]
>>Finally we are seeing more and more government data released under
>>permissive copyright licences, and in useful formats for people to use
>>and mashup up. Many government document and cultural assets have been
>>released under a Creative Commons licence, and in fact only last year we
>>released our first Creative Commons By Attribution licensed Federal
>>Budget, which is a world first and something we are very proud of.
>>How can a government elected by the people for the people and paid for
>>by the people claim copyright over the actions and data of Government?
> The vesting of copyright in the Crown is a position of long standing.

> ABS was one ghastly example.  But ASIC's registration data, mapping
> data, geology-related data, are all operated under variants of that
> model.
> There are arguments for *some* data to be subject to cost-recovery,
> and copyright can be used as an element of that.

ABS have also been great adopters of Creative Commons over the last 2
years. You can read about their new business model in the slides at

I do wish ASIC was more open as the UK Companies House is, so as to
allow that data to be included in http://opencorporates.com/

> The Commonwealth Copyright Administration (CCA) has been an absolute
> farce, avoiding even a semblance of consultation on the matter:
> http://www.ag.gov.au/cca

They announced to little fanfare last week that the CCA has now closed:
"The Commonwealth Copyright Administration has ceased its function.
Requests for permission to use Commonwealth Copyright material now
need to be directed to the relevant Commonwealth department or agency
that authored the material or which is now responsible for material
that may have been authored by a pre-existing department or agency.
Please check the copyright notice for advice regarding how to use the
materials. If the copyright notice directs you to the CCA, please
contact the agency and request to be directed to the person or area
responsible for the implementation of the copyright aspects of the
Government’s decision on Government 2.0."

You'd probably get the same message in an auto-reply if you try to
make a request now. I guess nobody thought to change the website.

The removal of CCA from AG's was recommendation 7.2 of the Government
2.0 taskforce in their report and was the only recommendation the
Government outright rejected in their response ("NOT AGREED. These
functions are best performed by, and should remain with the AGD.")
Something must have clicked since May 2010.

I have noted elsewhere that the last hoorah of the CCA (formally part
of the Business Law unit of AG's) was the perplexing statement that
after Confidentiallity, National Security and Privacy, "other relevant
reasons for not treating material or data as PSI may include the
incompleteness of material or data, such that it may be materially
misleading." Data is not data if it is incomplete data?

> DEST as was, DEEWR as is, spent many years completely unhelpful to
> the education sector, and formed their own special kind of blockage
> to progress (denizens of the link list included).  As an example,
> attempts to get a framework in place so that even informational
> pages, at places like the Bureau of Meteorology, could be marked with
> something more constructive than 'Crown Copyright - All Rights
> Reserved', met with stoic resistance.

It's interesting in the case of BoM that they talk-the-talk about
Creative Commons licencing (
http://www.bom.gov.au/other/copyright.shtml ) but they don't
walk-the-walk about opening up data in all cases as a new philosophy (
). I know some of their data collection expertise can be useful to
private companies and they should pay for the value they gain... but
closing down previously public bushfire data when people's lives are
in the balance seems to be another example of the "mindless and
sometimes bloody-minded obstructionism" I hope we don't see more of.

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