Merry Christmas from the British Government? Is ITIL public domain?

There is a quiet revolution going on within the British Government right now. And it might just have handed the ITIL community a Christmas present: an open licence for ITIL.

In September the Brits introduced The UK Government Licensing Framework (UKGLF), which

... provides a policy and legal overview for licensing the re-use of public sector information, both in central government and the wider public sector.
It sets out best practice, standardises the licensing principles for government information, and recommends the use of the Open Government Licence (OGL) for public sector information.
The UK Government Licensing Framework and Open Government Licence form part of the Government's drive to open up access to publicly held information, promoting transparency and enabling wider economic and social gain.

According to the detail of the UKGLF

This Framework sets out the policy and legal context under which re-use of public sector information should take place and is therefore aimed primarily at all public sector information holders. In making their information available for re-use the UKGLF:

  • directs central government departments and agencies;
  • strongly encourages Information Fair Trader Scheme (IFTS) members; and
  • invites the wider public sector;

to adopt:

  • the policies and principles set out in the UKGLF in their licensing activities; and
  • the Open Government Licence as the standard licence for freely available public sector information.

Decoding that: OGC is now part of the Cabinet Office which one would think is a "central government department" so I reckon OGC is DIRECTed to make ITIL available under the Open Government Licence which states, in part:

You are encouraged to use and re-use the Information that is available under this licence, the Open Government Licence, freely and flexibly, with only a few conditions.

The Licensor grants you a worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive licence to use the Information...

You are free to:

copy, publish, distribute and transmit the Information;
adapt the Information;
exploit the Information commercially for example, by combining it with other Information, or by including it in your own product or application.

Note that the UKGLF does not affect trademark, so OGC still controls the ITIL name.

The UKGLF also says

The Government is committed to opening up access to information created and held by the public sector and enabling its free re-use, including commercial re-use, in as simple a process as possible. This forms part of the Government’s transparency and public data agenda, which is currently being taken forward by the Public Sector Transparency Board, established by the Prime Minister in 2010, by the Cabinet Office [where OGC lives] and by The National Archives.

You can run, OGC, but methinks you can't hide. You've turned ITIL into a for-profit commercial money engine. Now ITIL just may be on its way back to the community who:

  • contributed much of the content (except whichever bits of original content the paid authors wrote for OGC)
  • reviewed all the content
  • translated all the content
  • did all the marketing
  • ran the international roadshow
  • continue to operate the only useful communities (including itSMF)

But don't get over-excited just yet, readers. I'm sure OGC will duck and weave and weasel like never before. I have queries submitted to OGC and to the National Archives seeking clarification of the status of ITIL. Depending on the nature of the response, I have the next step planned. More of that VERY soon...

See also


Plan B

OK I have confirmation from the National Archives that nothing has changed with regards to OGC licensing of copyright material.

So the question is, why not? How can OGC be part of the Cabinet Office and yet continue to fly in the face of both the spirit and the letter of the UKGLF?

Therefore, we move on the Plan B: getting that changed. More of this in the New Year after I've upgraded this website to Drupal 6.

VERY Interesting

VERY Interesting implications here.

That would imply that much of APMG's activities on behalf of the TSO would become mute, no? (with the exception of word mark licensing, I'd imagine).

NONE of APMG's activities

This will affect NONE of APMG's activities.

UKGLF does not affect trademark. OGC would still own ITIL and still accredit ITIL training.

What i would like to see is that non-accredited ITSM training using (and acknowledging) the ITIL content became legal

Perhaps you assume too much....

This is all based upon a huge assumption - that things stay as they are..... What if ITIL is no longer owned by OGC... and under the UK Government remit...?
It could make sense for many existing players to take control - including perhaps the itSMF...

As for ISO20K - I thought that too was the IP of ISO.... and that there was as yet no formal governance of any certification of individuals under a scheme.... even auditors..... another threadyworthy topic perhaps?

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