Odisha becomes first state government in India to release its social media under a free license

Translate this post

Photo by the Government of Odisha, CC BY 4.0.

The government of Odisha has become the first state entity in India to release all of its social media posts under a free Creative Commons license, allowing people from around the world to freely re-use the government’s content in projects like Wikipedia.
The pilot project, which covers eight of the state’s accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram,[1] releases a veritable treasure trove of public interest photos and media. This has already had an impact; on Wikipedia, for instance, volunteers have added government images to articles about Rathajatra, Konark Sun Temple, and others.
“This content release should serve as a model for governments around the world,” said Asaf Bartov, Senior Program Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation. “Releasing the Odisha government’s content under a free license will allow anyone to use, share, and build upon their work.”
In general, you don’t have permission to use a work unless you are given permission, such as under a Creative Commons license. Until 14 September, that lack of permission included anything shared by the Odisha government on social media. This restriction means that it can be difficult to share content on Wikipedia—one of the most popular websites in the world, committed to free and open copyright licenses from its earliest days on the internet—and elsewhere, even that created and shared by government bodies for public use and consumption.
This limitation has significant real-world impact, but in Odisha, a state in eastern India, this is quickly changing. Earlier this year, the Odia language Wikipedia community collaborated with the Odisha state’s Youth and Sports Services department to relicense the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships’ website. By doing so, nearly 350 images were added to articles in 35 different language Wikipedias.
Similarly, the Odisha government’s most recent decision to re-license its social media content under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license, abbreviated as CC BY 4.0, will help illustrate a number of topics.
The Odia Wikipedia community would like to thank Manoj Kumar Mishra, Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister’s Office, for understanding the value of open content and implementing the change so quickly. The government’s decision, on 14 September 2017, came less than 24 hours after volunteer editors of the Odia language Wikipedia met with Mr. Mishra.
“The present government, under the leadership of Sri Naveen Patnaik, has been focussing of Transparency, Technology and Teamwork—a 3T bulwark to deliver better governance to citizens more efficiently,” the Chief Minister’s office says. “When the Wikipedia volunteers met with us, we had no hesitation to partner and share our content with one of the largest information hubs in the web space. We firmly believe that information is power, and that power must be vested with people. Government programs must reach to people, and knowledge through information can solve many last mile issues. We look forward to stronger information partnerships in the future.”
If you would like to license your work under a Creative Commons license, please visit their website for more information. (To be compatible with Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, a free media file repository that hosts many of the images used on Wikipedia, you must allow adaptations and commercial uses.)
Sailesh Patnaik and Mrutyunjaya Kar, Odia Wikipedia community volunteers


  1. The accounts include:

    The Odisha state government is in planning to re-license their official websites as well.

Archive notice: This is an archived post from blog.wikimedia.org, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

Can you help us translate this article?

In order for this article to reach as many people as possible we would like your help. Can you translate this article to get the message out?

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Good start! Thanks and congratulations to all involved!

Great work. Congratulations Sailesh!

Wow congratulations to Team Odisha for joining the digital super way.

A welcome development… a step towards transparency.

a most welcome step by Hon’ble Shri Naveen Ji.

The images have very low resolution, a few KBs only. Also, there is no metadata. How are you so sure that these are images from CMO official photographers but not collected from other sources or photographers?

Timely superb venture.

Very good initiative.

Great Initiative

Feeling proud as an Odia…….

Kerala CM’s website is already CC licensed. All the content published in CM’s social media accounts are stored in CM’s website as well. They are also CC licensed. http://www.keralacm.gov.in/

This is awesome. All other states must follow.

Odisha moving ahead in all most all sectors, great endeavor

excellent initiative

Very good initiative ….. Congratulations !!