Case Studies/ABC Pool

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ABC Pool is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s online collaborative media publishing platform where contributors share and connect with people to grow ideas.

Creative Commons licences provides a legal framework that encourages co-creation. — John Jacobs, ABC Pool.


ABC Pool is a collaborative online media platform under development by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), in association with various Australian tertiary institutions and members of the digital media community. The initiative began in 2007 under the administration of ABC Radio National. It has been developed with the assistance of University of Technology Sydney, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and University of Wollongong, and received feedback from various digital media workers and artists acting as beta testers. The project aims to foster local, regional and university partnerships with the ABC and promote Australia’s burgeoning creative digital industries.

The Pool website has been designed to operate as an online community to facilitate the sharing of a variety of media, in a manner primarily connecting the creative content community with the ABC. Contributors can publish, download, remix and share media using a spectrum of licences From PD to ARR and all types of CC in between.

Artists can use Pool as a place to connect and collaborate on common creative projects, as well as build community interest in the digital industries.

The initial beta site was redesigned and relaunched in Feb 2011 and is now gaining popularity with contributors and increased usage by ABC departments as an audience engagement platform.

License Usage

During its trial period The Pool adopted two Creative Commons licences under which contributors can choose to publish their content. All content uploaded to the site at this time was subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivative 2.5 Australian licence, unless contributors choose to allow derivative works. The Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 licence facilitates this.

When contributors were offered the choice of allowing derivatives of their content during the trial, most chose non-derivative licences. It is assumed contributors are wary of allowing their work to be altered or remixed, as most wish to guard their artistic integrity. In moving towards promoting greater collaboration and creative interactions, the Pool team intend to embed an education process into the licensing system to better equip users in determining which licence is best for them. As the site technology develops, the inclusion of in-built licence selection features should further assist contributors in determining which licence is most suitable to their needs.

Since the release of the second version of Pool, all the Creative Commons licences and "All Rights Reserved" were offered to contributors. The site maintains a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivative 2.5 Australian licence default licence.


Since the initial case study the ABC has launched the ABC Open Archives project dedicated to releasing ABC archival material under CC. This resource makes significant amounts of the ABC's own copyright material available for sharing and remixing, including radio and television news segments. Much of this material has been made available both through Pool and popular content websites, including Wikimedia Commons and Flickr, facilitating its reuse on resources such as Wikipedia (see, for example, this report on the introduction of World Series Cricket).

Pool has also implemented a CC licence selector based on plain language questions.

The project has continued to educate contributors and media professionals alike about CC licences and their advantages to media creators.


ABC Pool aims to widen the scope of creator and consumer experience, create new audiences, uncover opportunities and encourage innovative and enriching teaching and learning processes. Creative Commons licences offer a clear path towards facilitating these goals. Media co-creation and sharing has been a founding concept for the project, leading the Pool team to choose Creative Commons as the licensing system that could best enable such interaction, while allowing contributors to retain creative control over their works.

As the ABC keeps pace with evolving media landscapes and continues to emphasise their underpinning ethos as a publicly funded non-commercial organisation, Creative Commons have assisted the Pool team in presenting alternative public licensing solutions to the broadcasting organisation.

As a small initiative within a large public institution, Pool collaborated successfully with Creative Commons Australia to trial open-content licensing models to the greater ABC collective. Not having to internally generate ABC-specific licences conserved project resources and provided Pool with an external licensing model with which to demonstrate the capabilities and benefits of open-content licensing to the ABC. The Pool trial has confirmed the community’s interest in ‘some rights reserved’ licensing and demonstrated the importance of promoting educated uses of CC licences on the site to ensure a wider uptake in the future of the project.