Prime Minister’s website breaks copyright law

The Prime Minister’s website, number10.gov.uk, has recently been revamped; it now runs on the WordPress blogging/CMS software (which incidently is pretty good — I use it myself). However, the government might be embarrassed that they’re breaking copyright law.

If you look at the HTML for the website, you can see that the cascading style sheet is at the URL http://www.number10.gov.uk/wp-content/themes/networker-10/style.css.

The first few lines of this file are:

/*
Theme Name: NetWorker
Theme URI: http://www.antbag.com
Description: An adsense ready theme from Antbag.com.
Version: 1.0
Author: Anthony Baggett
Author URI: http://www.antbag.com/

*/

On the Antbag website, there’s a list of downloadable themes, which includes the NetWorker theme. Downloading the NetWorker theme, and opening the zip file, I see that it contains a file license.rtf that says it’s licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. This license requires that if you use the work, you must attribute the copyright holder, and you must include a copy of the license or its URL with every use.

So while the number 10 website is allowed to use the NetWorker theme, they must say they’ve done so on their website, and say that the theme is licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. But if you go to the Number 10 website’s copyright page, there’s no mention of it.

Incidently, this is the same British government that is talking about severing the Internet connections of people who break copyright law by downloading files on P2P networks. Because the government are not hypocrites, I’m sure they will now either drop these plans, or disconnect themselves from the Internet.

(via: The Yorksher Gob, the rousabout, Dizzy Thinks)

UPDATE: Anthony Baggett, who is the author of the NetWorker theme, says that no-one approached him for permission to remove the attrribution. So Number 10 is committing copyright infringement.

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11 Responses to Prime Minister’s website breaks copyright law

  1. Jennie says:

    I’m sure they will now either drop these plans, or disconnect themselves from the Internet.

    Nah, they are New Labour, there will be a Third Way. I suspect that they will attempt to pass legislation to the effect that copyright law applies to everyone but the government.

  2. Pingback: The Open Sourcerer » Number 10 and the Creative Commons

  3. Pingback: John McCain breaks copyright law « Amused Cynicism

  4. Pingback: Copyright Flaw of British Prime Minister’s Website — Antbag.com

  5. cabalamat says:

    #1 Jennie: I suspect that they will attempt to pass legislation to the effect that copyright law applies to everyone but the government.

    I wouldn’t put it past them.

  6. Secretlondon says:

    @number10 on twitter has said their supplier denies there’s an issue.

  7. cabalamat says:

    Secretlondon: @number10 on twitter has said their supplier denies there’s an issue.

    Do you have a URL for that?

  8. Mike says:

    his license requires that if you use the work, you must attribute the copyright holder, and you must include a copy of the license or its URL with every use.

    You quote the attribution yourself, directly from the derived work, and this link http://www.number10.gov.uk/wp-content/themes/networker-10/license.rtf is a copy of the license.

    Where is the violation again?

    By the way, the theme author does not (in the theme) state that it is licensed under CC-BY-AS. He just includes the licence file in the zip.

  9. steve says:

    while its still in the css file, they’ve denied it -> http://twitter.com/DowningStreet

  10. LQ says:

    Section 4, Subsection 3 of the license boils down to leaving all copyright notices and/or URIs intact. (such as the one in the footer of the NetWorker theme)

    It goes on to note that if it is a derivative work (such as the PM’s site) all copyright notices and URIs originally in place can be moved into the section containing any other credit.

  11. Pingback: SBR 100!: Flirting with the Tories and fluttering the flag (again!) - Scottish Roundup

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