Overview of IPR policies regarding re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI)*

2019-07-29

On 20 June 2019 a new Directive on open data and the re-use of public sector information has been adopted and should be transposed by Member States before 17 July  2021. This article tries to provide an overview of the IPR policies behind the re-use of PSI as well as of the implications of the new Directive.

*This article follows up on the ELRC document “Overview of IPR policies regarding re-use of Public Sector Information” written by Dr. iur. Pawel Kamocki in March 2018.

Re-use of Public Sector Information

The Directive on the re-use of public sector information (Directive 2003/98/EC, known as the 'PSI Directive') entered into force on 31 December 2003 and was revised by Directive 2013/37/EU which entered into force on 17 July 2013. The revised PSI Directive is now implemented in all the EU Member States.

The revised PSI Directive lays down a general rule according to which all documents held by public sector bodies and accessible according to the applicable national access regime shall be made available for re-use. Such documents are therefore an important source of high-quality data for various applications, including Human Language Technology.

The PSI Directive obliges Member States to enable their citizens to request re-use of the concerned documents; such requests shall normally be answered within twenty days (for standard cases)[1]. Conditions for re-use shall be non-discriminatory and charges should in principle be limited to the marginal costs.

As answering all the requests individually would place an excessive charge on public sector bodies, many Member States adopted specific IPR policies (some of which predate the PSI Directive) to facilitate re-use of Public Sector Information. The purpose of this document is to provide a quick overview of those various policies.

 

Definition of Public Sector Information

The provisions of the PSI Directive allow to formulate the following definition of Public Sector Information:

any content whatever its medium (written on paper or stored in electronic form or as a sound, visual or audiovisual recording)[2] held[3] by the State, regional or local authorities or bodies governed by public law[4]

Bodies governed by public law are defined as bodies that are:

(a) established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest, not having an industrial or commercial character; and

(b) having legal personality; and

(c) financed, for the most part by the State, or regional or local authorities, or other bodies governed by public law; or subject to management supervision by those bodies; or having an administrative, managerial or supervisory board, more than half of whose members are appointed by the State, regional or local authorities or by other bodies governed by public law.

Exclusions

The PSI Directive does not apply to:

  • documents the supply of which is an activity falling outside the scope of the public task of the public sector body;

  • documents excluded from access by virtue of the national access regimes (e.g. national security, statistical confidentiality etc.);

  • documents for which third parties hold intellectual property rights;

  • parts of documents which contain personal data the re-use of which would be incompatible with data protection rules (i.e. the GDPR);

  • documents held by broadcasters;

  • documents held by educational and research establishments, except university libraries;

  • documents held by cultural establishments, other than museums, libraries and archives.

Overview of main types of licensing policies regarding re-use of Public Sector Information

One of the major provisions of the PSI Directive is that Members States can use their own licensing schemes freely as long as those licensing schemes do not restrict possibilities for re-use unnecessarily, meaning that they should use permissive licenses to make available to the public the documents and information they hold. 

In the following table we will try to cover all the Member States’ practices or recommendations regarding publication and reuse of Public sector Information and the attached IPR policies for re-use. When no specific licensing scheme is adopted, we should refer to the open data portals of each respective country and respect the appropriate IPR policies.

Country

PSI licensing schemes

IPR Rights on Public Sector Information

Austria

CC-BY 4.0[5]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Belgium

Licence Ouverte (BE) = CC0 by default

Use of other licenses should be motivated and indicated by the Administration[6]

Free to reuse without restriction

Bulgaria

No specific licensing scheme

 

Croatia

Open License[7]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Cyprus

No specific licensing scheme

 

Czech Republic

Terms of Use of Czech Statistical Office[8]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Denmark

DK Open Data License[9]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Estonia

Recommendation of CC-BY 3.0 (may be obsolete)[10]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Finland

No specific licensing scheme

 

France

Licence Ouverte (FR), ODbL + various software licenses (concerning documents not exempted from copyright)[11]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Germany

„Datenlizenz Deutschland  Namensnennung – Version 2.0"[12]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Datenlizenz Deutschland – Zero Version 2.0"

Free to use without restriction

Greece

No specific licensing scheme

 

Hungary

No specific licensing scheme

 

Iceland

No specific licensing scheme

 

Ireland

Circular 12/2016 of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform recommends CC BY 4.0

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Italy

Linee guida nazionali per la valorizzazione del patrimonio informativo pubblico recommends CC BY 4.0[13]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Latvia

No specific licensing scheme

 

Lithuania

No specific licensing scheme

 

Luxembourg

CC0 1.0 + Guide of good practices (not binding)[14]

Free to use without restriction

Malta

CC-BY 4.0[15]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Netherlands

Government portal uses CC0 by default[16]

Free to use without restriction

Norway

Norwegian License for Open Government Data (NLOD) 2.0[17]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Poland

No specific licensing scheme

 

Portugal

CC-BY 4.0[18]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Romania

OGL-ROU 1.0[19]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Slovakia

No specific licensing scheme

 

Slovenia

CC-BY 4.0[20]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Spain

No specific license recommended

Terms of reuse available on https://datos.gob.es/en/legal-notice

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Sweden

No specific licenses recommended

Majority of CC0 on Open data portal[21]

 

Free to use without restriction

United Kingdom

Open Government License 3.0[22]

Free to use with acknowledgment to the source

Modifications brought by PSI III Directive

On 20 June 2019 a new Directive on open data and the re-use of public sector information has been adopted and should be transposed by Member States before 17 July 2021.

This new Directive aims to consolidate the texts of the two previous directives as well as address the remaining barriers to re-use public sector or publicly funded information.

It features some major changes regarding the following topics:

  1. Extension of the scope of public bodies concerned by the re-use of public sector information

Article 1 of the Directive extends the set of rules governing the re-use of documents held by public sector bodies to include information held by:

  • Undertakings defined in Directive 2014/25/EU (Water, energy, transport and postal services).

  • Undertakings acting as public service operators in the sector of public passenger services by rail and by road.

  • Undertakings acting as air carriers fulfilling public service obligations.

  • Undertakings acting as Community shipowners fulfilling public service obligations.

Article 1 also extends the scope of documents made available for re-use by including research data into the definition of public documents which could represent a major field of re-use for language technologies, especially to train tools for the Technology and Science domains.

However, research data constitutes public information only as long as it is publicly funded.

In the application of the Directive, Member States will be aiming to make publicly funded research data openly available and compatible with the FAIR principles[23]. Nevertheless, the Directive only addresses matters of Intellectual Property and confidentiality according to “as open as possible, as closed as necessary” principles.

  1. Availability of data

Article 5 goes further on topics of document availability as the Directive will require to make available the documents according to “open by design and by default”.

This requirement is a huge step forward as it will make sure that data produced and made available for re-use on open data platforms are available with permissive licenses.

The assessment of the additions made under this Directive will be clearer once the Member States transpose the provision of the Directive into national law.

 


[1] Art. 4(2) of the PSI Directive

[2] Definition of “document”, art. 2 point 3 of the PSI Directive.

[3] Art. 1(1) defining the scope of the PSI Directive.

[4] Definition of “public sector body”, art. 2 point 1 of the PSI Directive.

[11] https://www.data.gouv.fr/fr/licences for an exhaustive list of all applicable licensing schemes