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Government introduces open licence for easy use of public sector data

The government has launched its Open Government Licence (OGL) to allow the use of public sector copyright and database information without formal permission or licence registration.

The OGL, which replaces the "click-use" licence, removes the need to register for a licence. Simply by using information made available under the OGL, its terms and conditions are accepted.

Sarah Burnett, analyst at research firm Ovum, said the new licence could help organisations to identify new business opportunities.

"The UK is becoming dependent on information and the government has masses of it - from deaths and births to the number of fatalities in hospitals to geographical information. This can be taken advantage of for market research, for product development to spot opportunities and trends and help innovation," said Burnett.

The National Archives said the Open Government Licence is a key element of the government's commitment to greater transparency, providing developers with the ability to use government data to create new websites and applications without the need to formally apply for permission.

"This innovative licence gives everyone the opportunity to create products and services which benefit society," said Lord McNally, minister for The National Archives and public sector information.

Users of the information are required to acknowledge the source, abide by the Data Protection Act and avoid misrepresenting the information or suggesting any official status.

The OGL is interoperable with other licensing models, such as Creative Commons, said The National Archives.


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