As part of our commitment to openness and transparency, the Hewlett Foundation has long supported open licensing- an alternative for traditional copyright that allows and encourages sharing of intellectual property. Open licenses, such as those developed by our longtime grantee Creative Commons, protect authors’ rights while giving explicit permission to others to freely use, distribute, and build upon their work. The benefits of open licensing are clear: open licensing increases the chances that good ideas will get a hearing, that others will be able to do something with them, and ultimately that they will have their greatest impact.

The Hewlett Foundation makes information related to our grantmaking available under an open license so that others may learn from our experience. Beginning in 2014, we extended our commitment to open licensing to include, under certain circumstances, materials created with our grant dollars in order to help ensure that our grantees’ work will reach the widest possible audience. The Hewlett Foundation generally requires grantees that receive project-based grants — those made for a specific purpose — to openly license final materials created with those grant dollars, such as white papers, reports, and videos, under the current version of the Creative Commons Attribution license.  

This toolkit was created by the Hewlett Foundation’s legal department in order to assist foundation staff in advising grantees about the new open licensing requirements.