December 1, 2008 | By Richard Esguerra

Change.gov Content Now Under Creative Commons License

In the last few days, President-elect Obama's transition team took a significant stride towards a more open government by licensing the content of Change.gov under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Using that license essentially means that the transition team is allowing others to freely share and remix what's posted there, provided that reposts are attributed to Change.gov. The move is a victory for the public and the many advocates for a more wired, participatory democracy.

It's also another reminder of the importance of Creative Commons, which affords creators an opportunity to opt for something less than Disney-style copyright restrictions. By embracing a CC license, the Obama team sets a valuable example for others in government, many of whom may have defaulted to "all rights reserved" without considering other options.

While Change.gov has experienced some growing pains, the transition team appears to be making a real effort to use the website as a legitimate location for its conversation with the American public. The preview post of the President-elect's planned weekly address (posted on Thanksgiving Day) includes links to multiple sources — an embedded YouTube video, a link to the same video posted to Yahoo! Video, and a high-resolution .mov file — with the Creative Commons license guaranteeing that the public can freely share, remix, comment, and report on the President-elect's statement.

The switch to Creative Commons licensing is encouraging and we hope that it is a herald of more pro-open government changes to come.


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