Many hands make light work: USDOL adopts CC-BY licensing

OER advocates scored a major victory on Monday with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) announcement that it has adopted a department-wide Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license requirement for all intellectual property developed with funds under a competitive Federal award process.

Requiring a CC BY license on DOL-funded resources has a number of advantages:

  • The DOL increases the impact, reach and scalability of its grants.
  • The DOL creates conditions for maximum potential value created from of all resources it funds, more efficiency, and better stewardship of public funds.
  • The Public has access to the education resources it funded.
  • Innovative and entrepreneurial uses of openly licensed materials are enabled.
  • Resources are available for reuse by anyone.

This isn’t the first time the USDOL has dipped an institutional toe in the open licensing waters.  The 2011 Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant required all grant deliverables to be CC-BY licensed and since then has included open licensing requirements in several other competitive grant programs. The US Department of Education is also considering adopting similar licensing requirements.

DOL’s new open licensing policy may be viewed on The new policy language is excerpted below:

6. Revise § 2900.13 to read as follows:
§2900.13 Intangible property.
In addition to the guidance set forth in 2 CFR 200.315(d)*, the Department of Labor requires intellectual property developed under a competitive Federal award process to be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. This license allows subsequent users to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the copyrighted work and requires such users to attribute the work in the manner specified by the recipient.

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