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Australian Government Solicitor

 

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Public Access Licence (PAL)

PAL licences are made available by the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS).

What is the Public Access Licence?

PAL is a set of open access licence agreements that enable Australian Government agencies to make public sector information available to the public. It is an alternative to Creative Commons (CC) licences and should be used in circumstances where you:

  • wish to make material available on an open access basis
  • consider that PAL will provide a better outcome than CC.

There are 4 PAL licence options that are all built on the same standard terms but which allow the following properties to be turned on or off:

  • the right of a member of the public to make changes to material supplied by an agency
  • the provision by the agency of a warranty (assurance) that use of the material will not breach the intellectual property rights of any third party.

To distinguish between these licence options, the PAL licence is followed by 2 letters:

  • The first letter identifies whether changes are permitted. 'C' is used where changes are permitted and 'X' is used where they are not.
  • The second letter identifies whether an assurance is provided. 'A' is used where an assurance is provided and 'X' is used where it is not.

The 4 licence options are therefore:

PAL CX PAL CX (Changes, No Assurance)

The PAL CX licence allows a member of the public to use, copy, change and supply the material to other persons.

The PAL CX Licence Statement (Word doc)

PAL XX PAL XX (No Changes, No Assurance)

The PAL XX licence allows a member of the public to use, copy and supply the material to other persons.

The PAL XX licence does not allow a member of the public to change the material in any way (including modifying it or creating derivatives).

The PAL XX Licence Statement (Word doc)

PAL CA PAL CA (Changes, Assurance)

The PAL CA licence allows the same use as the PAL CX licence but it also includes a warranty from the agency that the public's use of the material will not infringe the intellectual property rights of any third party.

The PAL CA Licence Statement (Word doc)

PAL XA PAL XA (No Changes, Assurance)

The PAL XA licence allows the same use as the PAL XX licence but it also includes a warranty from the agency that the public's use of the material will not infringe the intellectual property rights of any third party.

The PAL XA Licence Statement (Word doc)

When should you select a PAL licence that allows changes (PAL CX or PAL CA)?

If an agency is happy for the public to change, modify or create derivatives of the material provided by the agency under PAL, they should select a licence with changes permitted (either PAL CX or PAL CA).

When should you select a PAL licence that provides an assurance (PAL CA or PAL XA)?

An agency may find the assurance option useful where it wishes to encourage the private sector to develop commercial products on the basis of the information provided by the agency under PAL. As such, in most instances, agencies will not use the 'Assurance' option. In providing the public with an assurance that use of the material in accordance with the PAL licence will not infringe any person's intellectual property rights, the private sector will have comfort that they can invest in developing the material into commercial products without the risk of being sued for infringement.

'Assurance' option licences (either PAL CA or PAL XA) should only be used where you are certain that it meets one of the following criteria:

  • The agency owns all of the intellectual property rights in the material it is licensing under PAL.
  • The agency has a licence from all third party owners of the material that is broad enough to allow the material to be provided by the agency under the PAL licence. This licence from the owner will need to be irrevocable and permanent.

Because the 'Assurance' option may create legal liability for the agency if it has not met one of the 2 criteria above, it should only be chosen following appropriate legal advice.  

How do you apply a PAL licence to your material?

An agency applies PAL by completing the 3 easy steps on this website as follows:

Step 1: Select the PAL licence to use: Identify the PAL licence you wish to use from the 4 PAL licence options.

Step 2: Download and complete the Licence Statement appropriate to the PAL licence you have chosen. You will need to insert details of:

  • name of the copyright owner of the material
  • year of first publication of the material
  • name of agency making the material available
  • name of authors/others to be attributed in respect of the material (if any)
  • location at which original material can be accessed (eg web address)
  • special conditions applying to the licence of that material (if any).

Step 3: Apply the Licence Statement to your material. This Licence Statement takes the place of the copyright statement you would normally include on the material.

Further information

If you require further information on PAL or would like to seek legal advice on making your agency's information available to the public, please contact:

Adrian Snooks
Senior Executive Lawyer
T 02 6253 7192
E adrian.snooks@ags.gov.au