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A Freed Change.gov Gets Wigitized, iPhone Apped

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, December 3 2008

Change.gov the website is so yesterday. Today, it's Change.gov the widget, iPhone app, and mobile tool.

We noted a few days ago that online home of the Obama-Biden Transition Project had swapped out traditional copyright for a far looser Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license -- one that invites users to have their way with the site's contents, as long as they give credit back to Obama.

Now a new service called Cerado Ventana has packaged Change.gov in a way that makes it easier to interact with the site through other portals, as Christopher Carfi of the Social Customer Manifesto reports. The widget, for examples, includes the sites news feed, "team" roster, and agenda. Then, for those inspired by the president-elect, the app also provides a window on to the new growth field of Obama-inspired books.

Cerado Ventana, which only launched in the middle of last month, is oriented towards consumers, giving businesses a way to create to create self-contained apps that provide an alternative to websites, with some social features thrown in.

Is Creative Commons Responsible?

The question remains is this: would have seen something like these nifty new apps and widget had Obama give a giant bear hug to Creative Commons on Monday and embraced its loosened version of copyright?

Consider that once Obama is installed in the Oval Office, whatever comes out of the White House is, of course, free for the taking. Copyright can't be claimed for official government content. But even our attorney president-elect probably isn't about go running around enforcing his copyright claims during this fuzzy pre-presidential period, right? So we're not necessarily looking at causation, here. Maybe we'd be seeing a flowering of mobile tools off of Change.gov either way.

That said, setting the tone of remixable government like they did probably didn't hurt. If that's the case, maybe we should be focusing less on the signifier -- Creative Commons licences, scripted video responses on policy topics -- and more on what's being signified (namely, it's your government -- use it).

Agree, or no?