CCANZ’s Submission to NZ On Air

[This is the response from Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand to NZ On Air's discussion paper "NZ On Air: Online Rights and Public Access" (PDF). You can download the submission in .doc, .odt and .pdf. You can read all the submissions by following the link contained in this media release from NZ On Air.]

Response from Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand to NZ On Air’s discussion paper, “NZ On Air: Online Rights and Public Access.”

Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand (CCANZ) is the kaitiaki of the Creative Commons licences in New Zealand. Hosted by the Royal Society of New Zealand, CCANZ supports the roll-out of the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL).

CCANZ welcomes NZ On Air’s discussion paper “NZ On Air: Online Rights and Public Access.” We believe that the paper is an excellent starting point for further discussion on how to ensure greater access to New Zealand’s publicly funded culture.

CCANZ supports the paper’s conclusion that “public funding needs to be better aligned with enabling public access on multiple platforms.” Following the lead of NZGOAL, we believe that opening up New Zealand’s publicly funded copyright works—including those funded by NZ On Air—would have profound cultural and educational benefits.

Currently, most of New Zealand’s publicly funded or publicly housed cultural heritage is unavailable for reuse by New Zealanders. Despite ongoing digitisation projects, these works are neither commercially available nor publicly reusable. This means that creators who want to build on the works of the past—from student filmmakers to non-profit documentary producers—are either forced to reinvent the wheel or go through a difficult process of asking permission, even when the original works are publicly funded and publicly housed and its creators are long deceased.

For this reason, we would like to widen the scope of the discussion to include Creative Commons licensing. Creative Commons licensing would allow New Zealanders to share and reuse publicly funded copyright works, according to a range of licence conditions. Creative Commons licensing would also provide clarity to heritage institutions and would help mitigate the problem of ‘orphan works’—those works that have no obvious rights holder.

By opening publicly funded copyright works, NZ On Air would be well aligned with the New Zealand Government’s position on open access and open licensing. Approved by Cabinet in July 2010, the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework provides government guidance on the release of works produced by public agencies, specifically advocating the use of Creative Commons licensing for in-copyright works.

Cabinet approved NZGOAL because, as the framework states, “It is widely recognised, in New Zealand and abroad, that significant creative and economic potential may lie dormant in such copyright and non-copyright material when locked up in agencies and not released on terms allowing re-use by others.”

Since then, Cabinet has also approved the New Zealand Data and Information Management Principles, which are summarised as follows: “government data and information should be open, readily available, well managed, reasonably priced and re-usable unless there are necessary reasons for its protection.”

We recognise that this is complex terrain: given the mix of public and private funding involved in the majority of NZ On Air funded works, a blanket model is clearly unworkable. At the same time, it is worth acknowledging the unforeseen consequences of the status quo. Simply put, many contemporary cultural works funded by NZ On Air in 2013 are likely to remain in copyright until at least 2100, restricting the cultural and educational benefits of future dissemination and reuse.

A better system would ensure that publicly funded copyright works were, after a period of time, made publicly available under an open Creative Commons licence. This would provide a window of time for works to be commercialised, while ensuring that older, no longer commercially viable works were able to be shared and reused by the New Zealand public—effectively giving publicly funded culture a second life.

One way to structure this is to follow the paper’s recommendation of a sliding scale, whereby “the level of public funding from NZ On Air influences arrangements to get funded content made available online.” For works that are entirely funded by NZ On Air, and have no obvious commercial value but great cultural value, Creative Commons licensing could be applied soon after the work’s initial broadcast. This would take advantage on the Internet and digital technologies to more widely disseminate publicly funded culture.

Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand supports the efforts of public funding bodies like NZ On Air to open up New Zealand’s publicly funded culture. We also welcome further public discussion on these issues.

Matt McGregor
Public Lead
Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand
matt.mcgregor@royalsociety.org.nz

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4 Responses to CCANZ’s Submission to NZ On Air

  1. Danyl Strype 3 May 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Matt, thanks for adding the CC perspective to the NZ on Air discussion. One thing I would have said differently; as you know, the use of a CC license doesn’t preclude reserving commercial rights, which can be done using the NonCommercial clause. I would advocate that where more than x share of a project’s funding comes from the public purse (and especially in any case where its 100% funded), a CC license must be used, and that while NC are allowed, there is a condition built into the funding contract that the work must be re-licensed without the NC clause after a certain number of years. A maximum of perhaps 20 years could be mandated, with the exact number negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

    Note: I have argued in the past that a monopoly on commercial use is neither necessary nor desirable, and that the NC clause should be retired. A number of valid use cases have been pointed out to me, and I think this is one. I still advocate renaming the clause to something which makes its purpose clearer, eg Commerial RIghts Reserved, as I worry that people mistake the NC clause for a way to express their own intention not to make money from the work, with the unintended consequence of limiting its re-use in works under other CC licenses (eg Wikipedia).

    • Matt 3 May 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Thanks Daniel. I think that there is definitely scope for the use of non-commercial licences here. I chose not to detail a plan for how CC licences could be applied–as I think that’s a matter for community consultation–though I think a ‘sliding scale’ of some kind would be appropriate, given the variety of works funded by NZ On Air.

  2. Danyl Strype 3 May 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Fair enough. I think I added too much detail, thus obscuring my point ;)

    “A better system would ensure that publicly funded copyright works were, after a period of time, made publicly available under an open Creative Commons licence. This would provide a window of time for works to be commercialised, while ensuring that older, no longer commercially viable works were able to be shared and reused”

    The way you’ve phrased this came across, at least on my first reading, as if CC was one option, and commercialization was another, mutually incompatible option. This is a common confusion in the arts – it’s one of the most common reasons musicians I know give me for not considering CC licensing – and I think it’s really important to avoid adding to it, especially in official statements from the Project Lead.

    Again, thanks heaps for being on the ball with this, and getting CC into the conversation.

  3. Matt 3 May 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    You’re completely right. Will add a sentence or two making just that point in future submissions.