Changes to practice in licensing photography

The request was partially successful.

Dear Cabinet Office,

Some photographs appearing on the Number 10 Flickr feed recently have licence conditions other than the Open Government Licence which until now has been usual. An example is at https://www.flickr.com/photos/number10go... , which states “ ©No10 Crown Copyright“ and “All Rights Reserved”. I would like to see all correspondence and records of discussions relating to this change in practice; and all documents setting out current guidance or process which describe what licence conditions should be attached on publishing any photographs to this feed.

Yours faithfully,

Ben Plouviez

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

CABINET OFFICE REFERENCE:  FOI329497

Dear BEN PLOUVIEZ

Thank you for your request for information. Your request was received
on 07/02/2020 and we are considering if it is appropriate to deal with
under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

This email is just a short acknowledgement of your request.

When corresponding with the Cabinet Office, you may wish to be aware of
how we treat your personal Information.  This is set out in our personal
information charter, at the following
link: [1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

If you have any queries about this email, please contact the FOI team.
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

 Knowledge and Information Management Unit

Cabinet Office

E: [2][Cabinet Office request email]

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FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

1 Attachment

Please find attached the reply to your FOI request

 

 

 

Regards

 

 

FOI Team

Room 405

70 Whitehall,

London, SW1A 2AS

E-mail -[1][Cabinet Office request email] 

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Andy Mabbett left an annotation ()

The request included "current guidance or process which describe what licence conditions should be attached on publishing any photographs to this feed". It is implausible for the Cabinet Office to claim they do not have this, unless they are admitting that they make such stuff up as they go along. I therefore urge Ben to ask for a review.

The example image cited in the request has indeed had its licence changed, but to "CC By nc-nd 2.0" - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-... - and that is not the Open Government Licence, nor compatible with it. Indeed it is more restrictive

Dear Cabinet Office,

FAO: Eirian Walsh Atkins

I am writing to request an internal review of Cabinet Office's handling of my FOI request 'Changes to practice in licensing photography'. You have claimed that CO does not hold the information I requested.

I suspect your claim to exemption relies on your assertion that there has been no change in policy, and therefore CO holds no documents relating to such a change. However, my request was also for “any documents setting out current guidance or process which describe what licence conditions should be attached on publishing any photographs to this feed.”

I do not believe that there are no such guidance documents setting out the current policy. You have said that there has been no change in policy: how do you know this, unless there is a written policy which has not changed? You have also said that the licence statement I quoted was applied by “human error”: but the human in question can only have erred in relation to an existing procedure, which is presumably written down.

The example photo cited in my request has had its licence changed to “CC By nc-nd 2.0" - and that is not the Open Government Licence, nor compatible with it. Given that there is a default presumption for OGL for Government publishing, use of an alternative licence must surely be a deliberate policy choice. I therefore request a review of the Cabinet Office’s claim not to hold such any guidance documents that set out the policy for assigning licences.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Ben Plouviez

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

CABINET OFFICE REFERENCE:  IR329497

Dear Ben Plouviez

Thank you for your request for an internal review. Your request was
received on 4/3/2020 and is being dealt with under the terms of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.

This email is just a short acknowledgement of your request.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact the FOI team.
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

Knowledge and Information Management Unit

Cabinet Office

E: [1][Cabinet Office request email]

 

References

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FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

Dear Mr Plouviez,
Thank you for your request for an Internal Review.  It was our aim to
respond to this within 20 working days.  However, we have not been able to
do so on this occasion.
We are currently undertaking the Review and hope to respond to you soon.
Please accept our apologies for this delay.
Kind regards,
FOI Team
Cabinet Office

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Dear FOI Team Mailbox,

Further to your letter of 6 April, I would like to point out that a further 6 weeks has passed since you stated that you were then undertaking the review. I appreciate that these are challenging times, but it is not acceptable that you should continue indefinitely to fail in your responsibilities regarding this request and review. Please can you let me know when I can expect a full response?

Yours sincerely,

Ben Plouviez

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

Dear Mr Plouviez,
Thank you for your email.  A draft response has been prepared and is
undergoing clearance.  We are hopeful that we can send to you the final
response within the next few days.
Please do accept our apologies for the delay in responding to you.
Kind regards,
FOI Team
Cabinet Office

show quoted sections

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Plouviez,
Please find attached our response to your request for an Internal Review. 
Please accept our apologies for the lateness of this reply.
Kind regards,
FOI Team
Cabinet Office

Andy Mabbett left an annotation ()

The reply falsely asserts that "As you observed in your request for an Internal Review, it is incompatible for information to be available under a Creative Commons licence and OGL". What /was/ said - correctly - was that "CC By nc-nd 2.0... is not the Open Government Licence, nor compatible with it" The OGL is explicitly and deliberately compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence (note that there is no single "Creative Commons licence" - Creative Commons publish as family of different licences).

Having claimed that they do not hold "documents setting out current guidance or process which describe what licence conditions should be attached on publishing any photographs to this feed", the cabinet office then state that "The policy of the Government under the UK Government Licensing Framework (UKGLF) is that with a few exceptions, OGL is the default licence for Crown bodies and is recommended for other public sector bodies", which is clearly a reference to a document that meets the former criteria.

The Cabinet Office are apparently treating this as a request for "a specific, written policy on the licensing of photographs published on the Number 10 Flickr account " - but that narrow definition its not what was requested; what was asked for is "documents setting out current guidance or process which describe what licence conditions should be attached on publishing any photographs to this feed" and such documents might be generic, not specific to Flickr.

I note also that, at the time of writing, the image referred to in the original enquiry is still licensed on Flickr as "Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) " - as indeed is the most recent upload to that Flickr account, which was taken on 28 May 2020.

Andy Mabbett left an annotation ()

More remarkably, I see this evening that a note appears to have recently been added to the account's "about" page, the relevant part of which says:

"Crown copyright pictures on this flickr [sic] profile can be downloaded in high res format and used in accordance with the terms set out in the specified Creative Commons license."

The most recent uploads (on 2 June) are still using CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 - not OGL, and not compatible with it. This is despite the latest Cabinet Office response stating explicitly: "it should have been made apparent that they were available under OGL"