Obama team changes Change.gov copyright policy

Change.gov has a less restricted copyright policy, now that it is copyrighted under a Creative Commons license.

Stephanie Condon Staff writer, CBSNews.com
Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.
Stephanie Condon

President-elect Barack Obama's transition team has licensed the site Change.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, giving visitors more freedom to use content from the site.

Change.gov was previously was copyrighted under an "All Rights Reserved" notice.

Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig, who noted the change on his blog Monday, called the move "consistent with (Obama's) values of any 'open government' and with his strong leadership on 'free debates.'"

The license under which the site is copyrighted allows visitors to copy, distribute, display, and perform material from the site, as well as to remix it, as long as the work is attributed to its source.

The site says the transition team has adopted "a policy of terminating, in appropriate circumstances and at our sole discretion, subscribers or account holders who are deemed to be repeat infringers."

In general, works produced by the U.S. government are exempt from copyright protection. The General Services Administration has strict standards for granting government domains, though not all sites with the .gov domain are federal departments or programs. The Obama transition team did not respond right away to calls for comment on the status of Change.gov as a government Web site.

If the site had been entered in the public domain, there would be no need to attribute material back to Change.gov.

"Building an ethic for attribution, however, is a good thing in my view," said Lessig, who is on the Creative Commons board.