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Open Content

The internet not only facilitates worldwide access to information of all kind, academic volumes and cultural works. It has also developed into a participatory platform, where every user can function as a producer of content at the same time, too. UNESCO promotes the development of modern knowledge societies, where freedom of opinion and equal access to information as well as education for all and cultural diversity are realised. At the same time UNESCO advocates the safeguarding of intellectual property.

What is Open Content?

With open content licences, works can be made accessible more easily and freely than conventionally copyrighted works with their policy of "all rights reserved". Authors or producers themselves can define which rights they want to reserve for their works. At the same time, users are granted more extensive freedoms regarding the utilisation of academic and cultural contents. Works, which are under an open content license, can therefore be modified, disseminated and publicly made accessible. The terms of use of open content licences are generally transparent and easy to understand. 

Leitfaden zu Open Content Lizenzen

Open Content guidelines

The German Commission for UNESCO has published operational guidelines on open content licenses in German (second edition 2016) and English (2014). They provide information on the pros and cons of open content as well as on its legal background. As an example, the open content license model of Creative Commons (CC) is presented in detail.

The guidelines have been published electronically and as a print version.

The guidelines from 2014 have also been published electronically in Indonesian (2015).

Resolution of the 71st General Assembly

In its resolution "Using the Potentials of Social Media for UNESCO’s Goals", adopted at the 71st General Assembly in June 2011, the German Commission for UNESCO appeals to its partner institutions to promote the utilisation of open content and open source licenses in order to support the collaborative production and the distribution of knowledge. At the same time, the German Commission for UNESCO has committed itself to publish outcomes of its work under free licenses as far as possible.



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