This study looks at the extent to which charitable foundations are aware of and have begun to use open licenses such as Creative Commons or the GPL for the works they create and that they support with their funding.
The authors surveyed foundation staff and leaders and examined a number of examples where foundations have begun to take advantage of new licensing models. Based on the survey results, foundation experiences and additional research, they identified a variety of significant benefits that the use of open licenses can bring to foundations and their charitable goals. In particular, open licenses permit knowledge and learning to be widely shared and more readily adapted, improved or built upon, and allow those later improvements to be readily distributed. The result can be dramatically faster and greater access to research, information, technologies and other resources in ways that directly benefit foundations' core missions and the public good.
This project was a joint effort of the Berkman Center, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Ford Foundation and the Open Society Institute, with funding from Hewlett and Ford, to examine the copyright licensing policies and practices of a group of private foundations.