Enhancing Access to Public Legal Information
November 11, 2013
By Nelson K. Tunoi, Esq.
Kenya Law prides itself for being at the forefront as the leading and most authoritative source of a broad range of public legal information. These include the publication of both the online and print versions of all judicial opinions from the superior courts of record and national and county legislations from the National Assembly and the Senate.
As a leading legal resource frontier, Kenya Law strives to guarantee accessibility to legal information by enhancing the free flow of information without restrictions on its use and reuse. Public legal information is part of the common heritage of humanity and maximizing access to this information promotes justice and the rule of law.
Creative Commons (CC) is a globally-focused non-profit organization dedicated to supporting an open and accessible internet that is enriched with free knowledge and creative resources for people around the world to use, share, and cultivate, hence making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.
Creative Commons provides free licenses and other legal tools to give everyone from individual creators and authors to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions and get credit for their creative work while allowing others to copy, distribute and make specific uses of it.
Kenya Law, being a key affiliate institution (Legal Lead) of Creative Commons has adopted the use of creative commons licenses its publications (both online and print). The use of these creative commons licenses eases copyright restrictions to access and use of public legal information prepared by Kenya Law. This is fundamental to both access to knowledge and the development of culture, resulting to a legally informed, empowered and participative citizenry.
Creative Commons Licenses
There are six types of licenses offered for use under creative commons. Prior to the application of these licenses to their work, users have to choose the conditions they wish to apply to their work. These conditions are a combination of the following features;
All creative commons licenses require that others who use your work in any way must give you credit the way you request, but not in a way that suggests you endorse them or their use. If they want to use your work without giving you credit or for endorsement purposes, they must get your permission first.
You let others copy, distribute, display, perform and modify your work, as long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms. If they want to distribute any modified works under other terms, they must get your permission first.
You let others copy, distribute, display, perform and (unless you have chosen NoDerivs) modify and use your work for any purpose other than commercially unless they get your permission first.
You let others copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies of your work. If they want to modify your work, they must get your permission first.
Below is a summary of the six licenses as a result of the combined features discussed above.
Why use CC licenses?
Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. By default, copyright allows only limited reuses without your permission. Creative Commons licenses let you grant additional permissions to the public, allowing reuse on the terms best suited to the owners’ needs while reserving some rights for themselves. Creative Commons licenses are easy-to-use, simple and standardized in a way that give the public permission to share and use the creative works on conditions of the owners’ choice. Creative Commons licenses allow owners to change their copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.”
Creative Commons Global Summit 2013
The Global Summit brings together the community of experts, academics, and activists who comprise the Creative Commons affiliate network in a different country every two years. The recent Creative Commons Global Summit was held from August 21 to 24 at the San Martín Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the support and organization of the locally based Fundación Vía Libre and Wikimedia Argentina. The event brought together representatives of Creative Commons affiliates from around the world, the Creative Commons Board of Directors and staff, activists, academics, local representatives and others interested in discussing the present and future of the international free culture movement.
The summit agenda included more than 60 sessions and panel presentations on topics such as copyright reform; CC licenses in educational, cultural, and artistic projects; relationships with governments, academia, and civil society; and the development of business models with an open and collaborative structure. The attendees discussed strategies to strengthen Creative Commons and its worldwide community; learnt about the latest developments in the commons movement worldwide; and showcased local and international projects that use Creative Commons licenses.
Creative Commons co-founder Prof. Lawrence Lessig, who is well recognized worldwide both for his work with Creative Commons and as a government reform advocate, gave a keynote address on “Laws That Choke Creativity” at the University of Buenos Aires. Other notable summit attendees included Creative Commons CEO Cathy Casserly, Creative Commons Board of Directors Chairman Paul Brest, Michael Murungi – CC Kenya Legal Lead representative, Isaac Rutenberg – CC Kenya Public Lead representative, Simeon Oriko – Jamlab Co-founder and Alex Gakuru and Tobias Schonwetter – CC Africa Regional Coordinators, among others.