Creative Commons licensing

Creative Commons licensing

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) supplies the bulk of its free and - as of 1 July 2010 - customised data with Creative Commons (CC) Attribution 2.5 Australia licensing. This lessens the restrictions on the use of that data considerably by changing the copyright from 'all rights reserved' to 'some rights reserved'. In effect, what the ABS asks is only that it be acknowledged as the source of the data.

People are free to re-use, build upon and distribute such data, even commercially. This makes a wealth of data more readily available to governments, the community, researchers and businesses, facilitating innovative research and development projects based on quality statistics, and promoting the wider use of statistics in the community, which is one of our core objectives.

Please see ABS Copyright on this website for further information regarding coverage of these licences. Note that Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) do not carry this licence.

So what exactly is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons offers flexible copyright management for all types of creative work, by providing free tools that allow authors to mark their work with the freedoms they want it to carry. It does this by providing free licences that let creators give permission in advance for certain uses of their material. CC can change copyright terms from 'all rights reserved' (the current default copyright situation) to 'some rights reserved'. This encourages collaboration and innovation in the further use of the CC-licensed information, while still offering legal protection to the original author. CC metadata can also be used by search applications to assist people in discovering appropriately licensed information.

There are a range of licences that creators can use to manage their copyright in the online environment, each offering its own specific protections and freedoms. The ABS utilises the least restrictive Attribution 2.5 Australia licence as its default. Australia is one of over 50 countries world wide who have taken up the Creative Commons project. The use of CC licensing by the ABS puts it among the vanguard of government agencies embracing open licensing of public sector information.

If you have any questions about Creative Commons or ABS licensing generally, please email