Was looking at the “copyright/permission to reproduce” notice that’s posted on the Industry Canada website today (my understanding is that this is a standard thing that’s pretty much identical for all federal departments and agencies):
The material on this website is covered by the provisions of the Copyright Act, by Canadian laws, policies, regulations and international agreements. Such provisions serve to identify the information source and, in specific instances, to prohibit reproduction of materials without written permission.
Ok, so the stuff on our websites are subject to copyright and lots of other legal stuff. But contrary to what you’d expect, the notice goes on to read:
Information on this site, other than government symbols, has been posted with the intent that it be readily available for personal and public non-commercial use and may be reproduced, in part or in whole and by any means, without charge or further permission from Industry Canada. We ask only that:
- Users exercise due diligence in ensuring the accuracy of the materials reproduced;
- Industry Canada be identified as the source department; and
- The reproduction is not represented as an official version of the materials reproduced, nor as having been made in affiliation with or with the endorsement of Industry Canada.
That’s my emphasis there. Yup, people are encouraged to take our info and copy it it, reuse it, spread it around. Amazing, innit? But it makes sense really – we’re not out to make a buck so we don’t see our content the same way as a private sector publisher would. Plus it kinda goes hand in hand with that stuff about, uh, serving citizens.
Of course, this being government, so we’re not totally free’n’easy with our info. There are conditions attached to copying and reusing our content. But the restrictions are pretty simple really – don’t use our stuff to make money, don’t change anything, attribute the source, and don’t imply any endorsement that doesn’t exist. (Oh and don’t copy out logos, please.)
Obviously, I’m no lawyer, but this sure sounds a lot like a Creative Commons license… more specifically, in the “Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works” flavour:
You are free:
- to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
Under the following conditions:
- Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
- Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
- No Derivative Works. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.
So I’m sure I’m not the first person ever to have noticed this, but it is a nice parallel.