Kiwis need better access to our nation’s taonga

As part of the National Digital Forum Conference 2014 (25-26 November at Te Papa), Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand is calling for greater openness in the ways Kiwis can access and use digital reproductions of our national taonga held in heritage institutions around the country.

“Currently, millions of collection items are locked away because digital reproductions are made available under terms of use that are either vague or unnecessarily restrictive,” says Matt McGregor from Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Creative Commons copyright licensing and clear out-of-copyright statements can help solve this problem. By providing clarity for staff and the public, policies focussing on Open Access and reuse can strengthen an institution’s capacity to meet its other obligations, including to respect indigenous knowledge and third-party intellectual property restrictions,” says McGregor.

“With the adoption of a simple and pragmatic open policy, the heritage sector can expand its audience, provide better services, save resources over the long term and be well positioned for future technological changes — while still maintaining its traditional role as kaitiaki of Aotearoa’s heritage and taonga.”

Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand believes that works hosted by heritage organisations should be open by default, unless there is a good reason to restrict access, such as copyright or indigenous knowledge restrictions. More specifically, we support these institutions adopting:

  1. Clear open licensing for in-copyright works, where possible.
  2. Clear ‘no known copyright’ or Public Domain Marks for out-of-copyright works.
  3. Open licensing options for those who donate or deposit works with GLAM organisations.

At the National Digital Forum Conference 2014, we celebrate the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, both of whom are leading the way. The National Library has recently published a new, more open use and reuse policy for its collection items; and Te Papa has now made nearly forty thousand images freely downloadable from its Collections Online digital database, giving the public access to the highest-resolution images it can and opening the way for creative reuse.

Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand is now calling for other Kiwi heritage institutions to follow suit, and give Kiwis Open Access to our invaluable taonga.

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