You are here

Open Licensing Policy

Vancouver Foundation's Open Licensing Policy, effective January 1, 2017 and onwards, is applicable to materials and resources produced by Vancouver Foundation, and materials and resources produced by Field of Interest Program grantees who submit new proposals and receive funding after the effective date.

Download the Policy


About the Policy

In 2017, Vancouver Foundation joins a global movement of public institutions, governments, and charitable organizations who have chosen to adopt open licensing policies that allow them to contribute to a shared pool of nearly one billion licensed works in arts, music, culture, science, educational resources, and more.

Vancouver Foundation is committed to building capacity for social innovation within the charitable sector by promoting knowledge sharing. By clarifying the conditions upon which others may share, reuse, adapt and distribute the knowledge and resources produced through our own grant making, research and evaluation activities, we can generate new opportunities for communities to discover and access these works, and to fully realize the potential of the content created.

Vancouver Foundation’s Open Licensing Policy supports Field of Interest grant making by improving the conditions in which grantees may discover, adapt and scale existing and successful social innovation to new geographic areas, new systems or institutions, and extend the value and impact of their work by explicitly allowing reuse of peer knowledge and learning.



Creative Commons 
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the range of creative works available for others to legally build upon and share. It has issued a suite of legal tools called open licenses, which act as extensions of permissions in copyright law.

Open License
An open license is a set of legal terms attached to an original work that acts as an extension of copyright law. The license can be a symbol, text description, hyperlink, or a combination of these, that defines how an original work can be used and adapted by someone who is not the original rights holder. 

An open license typically contains a license symbol, the name of the work, a hyperlink to the location of the original work or to the creator’s website, a hyperlink to the license legal terms, and any text that is required to describe whether elements of the work are excluded from the license terms. 

'Work' or 'Material'
A 'work' or 'material' might be text on a webpage, an image, audio recording, PowerPoint presentation, video, PDF, list or compilation of multiple types of content, such as a book or multimedia project. Any original work that can be recorded into a format that can be shared or distributed can be considered a work. 

'Rights holder’ or 'Copyright holder'
A rights holder is a person, or group of people who have created an original work. They hold the copyright to the work they have produced.  

The rights holder can extend new permissions to others by adding an open license to the work created. Unless an open license is added, the default for the work is ‘no permission to share, reuse or distribute the work, unless granted explicit in-person permission by the rights holder’.


Policy Terms

  1. Vancouver Foundation’s Open Licensing policy applies to materials produced by Vancouver Foundation; and to materials produced by Field of Interest Program grantees, who submit new proposals and receive funding after the effective date.
  2. Information about this policy must be included in Vancouver Foundation’s granting guidelines, application guides, and within the Open Licensing section of its website.
  3. Acceptance of this policy is a condition of accepting funding offered through Vancouver Foundation’s Field of Interest Grants Program.
  4. Vancouver Foundation requires that works generated through its own programs and activities, as well as works produced through projects funded in whole or in part through its Field of Interest Granting Program, shall be licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 attribution license.
  5. Under this policy, works are expected to be licensed as openly as possible. While the default open license is CC BY 4.0, in some situations an alternate license (e.g. CC BY SA, CC BY ND, CC BY NC) is more suitable and can be considered. This may be true in cases where: 
    • the work contains sensitive information or would put privacy of individuals at risk,
    • revenue generated by the work is critical to a creator's or project's financial sustainability,
    • the work belongs to other rights holders, or
    • sharing the work would contravene Indigenous traditional knowledge and culture sharing practices.

      When immediate release would negatively impact the success of a project, grantees can delay licensing (e.g. after campaign is complete, or 1 year delay).

  6. Grantees are responsible for evaluating their own resources and materials throughout their project development process and are responsible for applying the CC-BY 4.0 License to their own materials.
  7. Vancouver Foundation is required to provide grantees with open licensing information and resources, as well as limited content assessment support upon request. Support includes information about how to determine what should be openly licensed, how to select a license, how to apply a license, and where to share openly licensed materials. The first lines of support for grantees is the Vancouver Foundation website and
  8. Applicants may include the costs to produce or share their licensable work products in their funding requests.
    • Costs might include extra time for grantee staff or consultants to review, evaluate, and/or produce appropriately marked materials.
    • Costs cannot include general operating costs, such as website hosting fees, even though the grantee’s website may host the licensed materials.
  9. Vancouver Foundation requires that the licensed works be made accessible to the public, such as by posting the marked works to a website, or by publishing them to a platform such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Medium, Slideshare, or Flickr that enables users to add CC licenses to their materials while uploading them
  10. Grantees are not required to propose an intention to produce works for public sharing. The potential for a project to generate shareable works will not factor into granting decisions made by Vancouver Foundation, and grantees are under no obligation to produce unplanned licensable works as a condition of the grant they receive.
  11. Grantees who are subject to other sharing requirements such as open access or open data (i.e. by other funders) will not be required to add Creative Commons licenses to their works.  
  12. Grantees are required to submit hyperlinks to any licensed materials they produce as part of their final reports to Vancouver Foundation.

 "Vancouver Foundation Open Licensing Policy" is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by Vancouver Foundation. This work is adapted from "Hewlett Foundation Open Licensing Toolkit for Staff" by Hewlett Foundation, licensed under CC BY 4.0.