Government-wide waiver of Crown copyright


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Submitted By
James McKinney
Votes: 12

The Government of Canada should study the possibility of an all-of-government or selective waiver of Crown copyright. If “data paid for by Canadians belongs to Canadians,” as written in the Liberal platform [1], then Canadians should by default have the right to copy, modify and distribute these data without restriction. Establishing this legal norm will further accelerate the transition to open by default, as all information and data would be “born” open.

In New Zealand, such a waiver was considered during the development of its NZGOAL (New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing) framework [2]: “At a policy level, guidance which advocated all-of-government or even selective waiving of Crown copyright (for departments) and copyright (for other State Services agencies) would be a substantial move and one which is considered more appropriate for consideration in the context of any future reform of the Copyright Act.”

In Canada, a reform of the Copyright Act is not necessary, as the Copyright Act already allows for selective waiver of Crown copyright. For example, the Reproduction of Federal Law Order [3] is an Order in Council permitting the reproduction of federal law. Tamir Israel of CIPPIC described some of the considerations in this mailing list thread [4].


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