National Lottery Heritage Fund's new open licensing policy

Exciting news + Call for examples of open licensing and digital transformation

Exciting news

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has updated its licensing requirement for all funded projects as of September 2020. The previous default licence was CC BY-NC. NLHF has now adopted an CC open licence (CC BY) and tool (CC0) as the new default.

In short, all grantees must release original materials as CC BY and all metadata and software code as CC0. Importantly, the policy also sets out that no new rights should arise in the reproduction media produced around public domain works and requires these materials be released as CC0. Grantees must make these materials publicly available for at least five years. NLHF also encourages grantees to seek exceptions for any materials that may raise ethical concerns (privacy, data, cultural sensitivity, etc).

More information on the new policy can be found here:

Call for examples

Mathilde Pavis and I are working with NLHF on the new Open Licensing Guide for grantees and would like to highlight UK projects that release materials via open licences and tools and see benefit from the new opportunities that flow from open access and digital transformation.

We are looking for examples of good practice around: applying open licences and tools to various digital outputs; communicating licences and terms of use to users online; how you negotiate licences with third parties and collaborators to release materials under open licences; how you publish your media online (Wikimedia, Github, etc); ethical aspects you consider when licensing media; and so on.

If your organisation is doing any of this, we would love to consider how we can highlight your work, the benefits of open licensing, and its outcomes in the NLHF Open Licensing Guide. We are eager to feature a diverse range of examples across the UK.

Please feel free to reply to this topic, send a message through the forum, or reach out directly via email to - We are both law lecturers at the University of Exeter researching cultural heritage management, intellectual property, and open access.

Thanks for this Andrea
Worth mentioning that Scottish Government and perhaps UK Government have by default often asserted crown copyright over IPR outputs in grant awards. This is very restrictive, and totally unnecessary. A shift to CC By would be a progressive step forward here. It would be good to get an update on this from Scotgov and UKGov.

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