European Parliament Approves Updated Directive on Open Data and Public Sector Information

Johan van Oldenbarnevelt verschijnt voor zijn rechters
but transposition will be key

On Thursday the European Parliament voted 550-34 (with 25 abstentions) to approve the Directive on Open Data and Public Sector Information. The directive updates the rules controlling the re-use of public sector information held by public sector bodies of the Member States and also governs the re-use of documents held by public undertakings, such as water, energy, transport, and postal services. The recast directive is expanded to cover publicly funded research data. It states that charges related to the provision of PSI should in principle be limited to marginal costs related to the initial provision of the documents. And it also prioritises the identification and sharing of “high-value” datasets that should be available for free re-use via APIs.

The purpose of the refreshed directive is to promote the use of open data and stimulate innovation in products and services in the Digital Single Market. The directive says Member States should approach the re-use of PSI according to the principle of “open by design and by default.”

Communia has been active in the discussion on the legal framework for re-use of public sector information in the EU for many years, producing position papers in 2012, 2014, and 2018, and providing feedback to the recast proposal in July 2018. We’ve supported changes that would expand the scope of the directive, and pushed for increased legal clarity around aspects such as standard open licenses for PSI. The final Directive addresses some of our concerns, but after it is formally approved by the Council of the EU, it will be up to the Member States to implement the recast directive rules into their national laws. Transposition must be completed within two years.

Below we discuss a few pieces of the directive we’ve been following. Continue reading

Open Definition 2.0 released

This post initially appeared on the Creative Commons blog, republished here under CC BY 4.0

Today Open Knowledge and the Open Definition Advisory Council announced the release of version 2.0 of the Open Definition. The Definition “sets out principles that define openness in relation to data and content,” and is the baseline from which various public licenses are measured. Any content released under an Open Definition-conformant license means that anyone can “freely access, use, modify, and share that content, for any purpose, subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness.” The CC BY and CC BY-SA 4.0 licenses are conformant with the Open Definition, as are all previous versions of these licenses (1.0 – 3.0, including jurisdiction ports). The CC0 Public Domain Dedication is also aligned with the Open Definition.

The Open Definition is an important standard that communicates the fundamental legal conditions that make content and data open. One of the most notable updates to version 2.0 is that it separates and clarifies the requirements under which an individual work will be considered open from the conditions under which a license will be considered conformant with the Definition.

Public sector bodies, GLAM institutions, and open data initiatives around the world are looking for recommendation and advice on the best licenses for their policies and projects. It’s helpful to be able to point policymakers and data publishers to a neutral, community-supported definition with a list of approved licenses for sharing content and data (and of course, we think that CC BY, CC BY-SA, and CC0 are some of the best, especially for publicly funded materials). And while we still see that some governments and other institutions are attempting to create their own custom licenses, hopefully the Open Definition 2.0 will help guide these groups into understanding of the benefits to using an existing OD-compliant license. The more that content and data providers use one of these licenses, the more they’ll add to a huge pool of legally reusable and interoperable content for anyone to use and repurpose.

To the extent that new licenses continue to be developed, the Open Definition Advisory Council has been honing a process to assist in evaluating whether licenses meet the Open Definition. Version 2.0 continues to urge potential license stewards to think carefully before attempting to develop their own license, and requires that they understand the common conditions and restrictions that should (or should not) be contained in a new license in order to promote interoperability with existing licenses.

Open Definition version 2.0 was collaboratively and transparently developed with input from experts involved in open access, open culture, open data, open education, open government, open source and wiki communities. Congratulations to Open Knowledge and the Open Definition Advisory Council on this important improvement.

Book launch of ”The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture”, Brussels, June 18th, 18:30-20:00

On Monday, June 18, MEP Amelia Andersdotter, along with her colleague MEP Ioannis Tsoukalas, is inviting you to attend the launch of the book ”The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture”, edited by Melanie Dulong de Rosnay and Juan Carlos De Martin as an output of the Communia Thematic Network.

The book is under a CC Attribution license and the PDF can be downloaded here.

”The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture”
18 June 2012
18:30 – 20:00
European Parliament, Brussels, ASP Main Hall
(Ground Floor, in front of the Newspapers Quiosque)

18:30 Welcome: MEP Amelia Andersdotter
18:35 Introduction: MEP Prof. Ioannis Tsoukalas
18:45 The Digital Public Domain – presentation by editors: Melanie Dulong & Juan Carlos De Martin
19:00 Q&A and Discussion / Cocktails
19:45 Closing remarks: MEP Amelia Andersdotter

If would like to attend the event and require access to the Parliament, please register with before June 14, indicating your full name, date of birth and ID number.

More information on the book can be found on the Communia Association’s website.

Link to the invitation on Amelia Andersdotter’s blog.

Edit on 14 July 2012: a video interview of Anne-Catherine Lorrain, Juan Carlos De Martin and Melanie Dulong de Rosnay during the book launch event is available on YouTube. Thanks to Amelia Andersdotter’s team members Julia Reda, Edvinas Pauza and Tess Lindholm.