Creative Commons (CC) is a U.S. nonprofit that enables owners of any kind of data – from blog posts to design files to data sets to photographs – to make their data available for use without prior permission through a set of licenses that make clear to prospective users who and how the data can be used. It augments copyright law and makes a freer flow of information in society possible while giving content owners the level of control over their intellectual property they desire.
Cities around the world are using Creative Commons’ free, easy-to-use licenses in a number of ways. The city of Buenos Aires uses a CC BY 2.5 license for their entire website. Vienna, Austria, uses a CC BY license for their Open Government Data Portal. Wellington City Council, in New Zealand, offers datasets of aerial imagery, contours, building footprints, flood hazards, wind zones, and more under a CC BY license. Washington, D.C., has made the DC code available under a CC0 Public Domain Dedication.