December 1, 2008 · Lessig
Consistent with the values of any “open government,” and with his strong leadership on “free debates” from the very start, the Obama team has modified the copyright notice on change.gov to embrace the freest CC license.
This is great news about a subject that’s harder than it seems. One might well ask why is this an issue at all? The one thing copyright law is pretty good at is exempting works of the government from copyright protection. Why should the published work of a transition, or a President, be any different?
I don’t think it should be, but I get why this is a hard issue. Whether or not one was free to republish works printed by the GPO, the freedom that digital technologies enables here is certainly enough to give one pause. I’m fine with the pause; I’d be happy to defend the freedom explicitly. But it is understandable that this is something that any administration would have to think through.
I’m glad the thought in this administration led to the right conclusion, so quickly, and in the midst of so much else going on.