Obama's transition website 'frees the content'

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In a move to open up government and embrace modern thinking on copyright, U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama's transition team website, Change.gov, has adopted the Creative Commons licenses for all content and user contributions. This will allow anyone to take material from the site and reuse it, without any concern that they may be violating copyright.

"This is great news and a encouraging sign that the new administration has a clear sense of the importance of openness in government and on the web. The embrace of Creative Commons licensing on Change.gov is consistent with earlier support by both Obama and John McCain for the idea of 'open debates'," said Creative Commons in a statement posted on their website.

Those making reuse of the site's content are only obliged to attribute it, per the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence. The 'right to remix' the new license extends is not restricted to text; videos are included and the site now provides links to download copies of clips for this purpose.

In addition to the new license, Change.gov has introduced open forums for the discussion of items that concern the electorate. According to Computerworld, unlike the blogs used by some government departments, posts appear unfiltered and a scoring and ranking system is employed. One of the high-traffic early discussion threads is soliciting public input on healthcare worries.

Official works of federal government employees are all in the public domain. Despite the ".gov" web address, the site is run by the "Obama-Biden Transition Project" charity.

Creative Commons licenses are encouraged on popular photo sharing website Flickr, and are the only applicable licenses on Wikinews.