Feb 012016
 

cc-logo[Cable Green, Link (CC-BY)] Creative Commons (CC) believes publicly funded education, research and data resources should be shared in the global commons. The public should have access to what it paid for, and should not be required to pay twice (or more) to access, use, and remix publicly funded resources.

This is why we are pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has adopted a department-wide Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license requirement on intellectual property developed under a competitive Federal award process.


DOL’s new open licensing policy may be viewed in the federal register (PDF) and on regulations.gov

  • 6. Revise § 2900.13 to read as follows:
    • §2900.13 Intangible property.
      • In addition to the guidance set forth in 2 CFR 200.315(d)*, the Department of Labor requires intellectual property developed under a competitive Federal award process to be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. This license allows subsequent users to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the copyrighted work and requires such users to attribute the work in the manner specified by the recipient.

While the total dollar amount of competitive DOL Federal grants affected by this new open licensing policy is not yet known, Lindsey Tepe at New America estimates the rule change will impact somewhere between $300 and $400 million annually.


The adoption of Creative Commons licensing clarifies to the public how they may access, use, and adapt publicly funded resources. There are multiple benefits of DOL requiring a CC BY license on publicly funded resources:

  • Government increases the impact, reach and scalability of its grants.
  • Government creates conditions for maximum potential value created from of all resources it funds, more efficiency, and better stewardship of public funds.
  • Public has access to the education resources it funded.
  • Innovative and entrepreneurial uses of openly licensed materials are enabled.
  • Resources are available for reuse and value-add by anyone, including individual citizens, educators, scientists, public sector employees, and entrepreneurs.

This major open licensing policy development codifies DOL’s longtime leadership at the program level where the department required CC BY licenses on multiple grants before making this a department-wide open licensing policy. Examples include:


DOL has already begun to integrate open licensing into its existing professional development SMART training series. The CC BY license requirement is referenced in the following modules:

These resources signal that the DOL is off to a great start. Creative Commons looks forward to supporting DOL with its Open Licensing Policy Toolkit and CC certificate (to be developed) for government staff.


Creative Commons and dozens of other organizations urged the U.S. Department of Education to adopt a similar open licensing policy. We hope DOL’s policy will be a useful guide as the Department of Education as it considers its proposed Open Licensing Requirement for Direct Grant Programs.

We applaud the U.S. Department of Labor for leading the way.  Well done!

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