A call for a single #opendata licence in the #EU

Recently, the European Commission initiated the process of revision of the European Directive on Re-use of Public Sector Information.

One of its main objectives is to provide a general authorisation to re-use to citizens and businesses who want to make use of public sector information for the creation of new services, generating economic activity and enhancing the transparency.

The European Commission proposal of a revised Directive is certainly bold and extends the current framework. However, it has not defined a common European OpenData license which should by applicable to all European Public Administrations.

The creation of a single public information re-use space in Europe requires much more, it requires a common European OpenData license applicable to all data generated by European public administrations.

This is possible. Royal Decree 1495/2011, approved by the Government of Spain, provides an example of how a simple legal notice serves as an open data license applicable in the public sector – this sets an easy to follow roadmap for implementation in Europe.

First, define a European OpenData license compatible with the principles of information re-use without further conditions.

Second, set a transitional period after which the license is associated with all information generated by the public sector in the European Union.

Third, provide for the compulsory publication of such license in all public administration websites giving legal certainty to all European infomediary entrepreneurs and citizens wishing to make use of the information.

Right now the European Commission and Member States are developing the new directive, it is time that WE the OpenData community get our voice heard in Europe. WE ask the European Commission and the European Parliament to include a common European OpenData license and a clear deadline for adoption by all Member States in the revised Directive.

We cannot miss this golden opportunity in tapping the new gold of public sector information!

If you agree with this call, please sign for it here.


Lobby of European dimension

Hey Andres, glad to see you at Edgeryders! I have heard so much about you. (You name reminds me of the writer Anaïs Nin. She became famous for her secret diaries.) Thank you for taking the time to complete a mission report here. Spain has several Edgeryders participants involved in the ‘We the people’ campaign.

Wow, a lobbying project involving all European countries! So far, we had discussions in this think tank about the United Nations (the Open Government Partnership), and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (a multilateral partership project). You bring a concrete European dimension, with this petition.

I signed the petition. And wish you good luck to collect thousands of signatures. How is it going so far?

We often hear of harmonization of open data licenses, between municipalities, and between governments within a country. I saw discussions on this topic in British Colombia, Canada (David Eaves and other advocates). I was wondering, are there other steps in this direction, with other umbrella organizations, involving several member States? To my knowledge, this would be the first time, isn’t it?

The main problem is in demand

Lyne, I don’t know any other initiative of harmonization in the field OpenData.

This is particularly important because currently the main problem in the OpenData is not on offer (although much remains to be done here too).

The main problem is in demand, the data are not reused, and in part this is because the legal uncertainty caused by trying to do services based on open data from different public sources from different countries with different laws.

There might be other initiatives, but I found at least one effort, by David Eaves from British Columbia, Canada. ‘Such a standardized license across jurisdictions might be helpful, it would certainly simply life for think tanks, academics, developers and other users of the data. This is something I’m pushing for and hope that we might see progress on.’, wrote David Eaves in The new government of Canada Open data licence: the ogl by another name.

I pushed this idea recently, seeing a sort of openging at one of the members of the ‘G4’, which is an unformal group of 4 open data municipal governments: Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Ottawa.

Euh, I must confess that they have gone, dead silent… after I brought to them the issue of a standardised licence as a simple (technical) thing that they could handle, as a concrete example of something to do if they (and we, the citizens) agreed on a growth plan to reunite G4 with the rest of the open data canadian cities, no matter their size or location across the country. I thought that this was pretty basic straight forward stuff to begin with (if we put aside my well-stocked wish list of many other things I’d like to see improve…).

Therefore, I watch what you are doing in Europe, with great interest and attention. I was hoping that a successful intervention happening in Europe could maybe become a good incentive for action in Canada (standardisation between the 3 levels of gov: municipal, provincial, federal). But as we have seen these past months, best practices (ie Open Government Partnership) does not necessarily lead to enlightened decisions by Canadian decision makers. Sigh.

Never ever ever give up, right? A ‘No’ is not an acceptable answer for me. And indifference isn’t eigher. I might have to wait for the bilateral partnership between Gov of British Colombia and Gov of Quebec to happen, before bringing this up again. When this partnership gets well consolidated, the issue of open data standardisation could be raised once more, but to the provincial level (often in situations where they end up creating policies for the municipal level). Therefore I keep my idea of G4-growth into a coalition of open data cities up my sleeve. But please, Gentlemen, go ahead! if you can make it come to life before the other side of the Atlantic. Tout le monde en serait absolument ravi! Nous sommes habitués de regarder vivre les autres, par chez nous. En attendant Godot.

What is the experience like?

Hello Andrès, good to meet you. For what it is worth, I think a single open data license makes very good sense, since it ensures legal interoperability across different data sources.

Egderyders being what it is, I would ask you that you take a moment to share with the community how this initiative came into being. Who had the idea? What tools are you using to promote it? Are you working side by side with political leaders and public servants sympathetic to your cause, or is it a group of citizens going solo? If we can get a better feeling for these new forms of citizen engagement perhaps we can help more!

This is purely a grassroot initiative from the opendata community. The idea came into being at the same time of the review of the EU Directive, because although we sincerely admire the bold proposal of Neelie Kroes, we miss the harmonisation of Licenses in EU. The lack of a EU opendata license is a great barrier to create a digital single market in the field of the reuse of opendata.

Among the more active members of the campaign, there are independent citizens, entrepreuners, members of political parties, civil servants, journalists, … There is not a single a profile of campaigner. I hope this answer your question

Yes, but whose idea?

Hey Andres,

I know the issue, and I sympathize with you. With this technical stuff it is easy to get it wrong by applying the wrong metaphor… this is why tech-literate lawyers are so important.

Still, even grassroot initiatives have… an initiator. Somebody who posts “hey, let’s do this!” on a mailing list or a Facebook group. Is that you? Or who? How is the initiative being propagated?

Grassroot idea, I insist

I wrote the first post in my blog, but it was quickly copied by @mgarrigap , @antoniogalindog , @alorza and many more in their blogs. It was an spontaneous conspiration to action. The propagation of the idea have happened thanks mainly to twitter.


Ah ah… The cat gets out of the bag… !  (I love Edgeryders.)  Very nice. But you remain as silent as the grave about yourself. Being very humble appears to me like a character trait in several Spanish participants. Where do these ideas come from? You should take a moment to tell us a bit more about how these thoughts germinate in your mind. I vote for at ‘Share your ryde’ mission! http://edgeryders.ppa.coe.int/bootcamp/share-your-ryde

Loved this expression you used: ‘spontaneous conspiration to action’.

By the way, congrats! I found out throught the branches that the Basque President (@patxilopez ) signed the petition. (You can read about it in his tweet: https://t.co/pBZUnUb)

Jordi Sevilla has also signed it


Yes, the Basque President (@patxilopez ) signed the petition: https://t.co/pBZUnUb

And Jordi Sevilla has also signed it (Mr. Sevilla is the former Minister of Public Administrations of Spanish Government, therefore, he is a person who knows very well the public sector): https://twitter.com/#!/sevillajordi/status/170098761446592512

And more than 360 people have signet it, too.



Honor to the grassroots

Fair play to you, Andrés. I actually checked out the website and found your post. I think it is wise for you to step back and not try to claim the credit, since this gives everybody else a greater sense of ownership.

I guess I am a part of your spontaneous conspiracy too: I signed, retweeted, was in turn retweeted and posted the petition on the Spaghetti Open Data mailing list (did you get a few Italian signatories?). I really hope this go through, it is just common sense. Ciao!

Thanks Alberto!

Here there is a list of relevant people who have signed the petition. You’re in it :slight_smile:

It includes Patxi López (Lehendakari: the President of Basque Government), Jordi Sevilla (the former Minister of Public Administrations of Spanish Government)… and more than 350 people.

But, we need more people outside Spain, do you know people (from Italy or any other country) who have signed this petition?



Pour toutes l’Europe ???

Hi Andres,

je veux juste demander est-ce que les objectifs de la licence OpenData, sont une bonne solution pour toutes les pays de l’Europe, ou seulement pour certain ?. est ce qu’elles trouvent la solution pour toutes les pays ?. et est-ce que toutes les pays sont d’accord avec ce processus, ou il y a des pays qui refusent ?

Ask the las politician you voted to support #1ODataLicenseEU

Last friday, the President of the Basque Country, Patxi Lopez signed his support to the call for a single opendata license in the EU. Few politicians in Europe are more concious than Patxi Lopez about the value of opendata as an engine for economic activity and a leverage for transparency. Under his government, “Opendata Euskadi” has achieved a leading position among the opendata initiatives in Europe and even the Government budgets has been published following the opendata standards.

Unfortunately, Patxi Lopez is an exception even within his own party. Neither other politician from his party nor from the government party has yet supported the initiative. Same could be said about the politicians from other EU countries. And the support of our politicians is need to achieve the objective of the campaign.

This call for a single opendata license in the EU is a EU-wide campaign, because the future of opendata in the EU it is now being deciding  in the EU Council. The representatives of our governments and the European Commission are drafting the new version of the Directive on ReUse of Public Sector Information. So it is the right time to ask our politicians to support this initiative, whichever the country you leave, whichever the party you vote.

Choose one politician as a target and ask him for the support for the initiative. Choose the politician or party you voted in the last election, for instance. Send him messages to his twitter profile or write in his facebook page. If we do not obtain now a single EU opendata license, it will be lost for years. We badly need a single opendata license in EU in order to unleash fully the economic potential of Public Sector Information. More than 40 billion of Euros per year are at stake, money that it is highly needed for the economic recovery of Europe. Show your own politicians the way using Patxi Lopez tweet as an evidence.

Let´s build Europe with its public data as a leverage.

Why not universal?

Why not a universal open data license? Copyright law (or at least its principles) is already pretty harmonized, the W3C already offered standards abou open data and I do not understand why an American country or an Asian country should/would have a diverse license compared to a European one or an African one. It seems a communication wall to me.

No control!

Welcome, Francesco :slight_smile:

The idea is, of course, good. But we here in Europe have no chance in hell to get foreign diplomacies to listen to us - whereas Edgeryders does have a mandate to provide policy recommendation for the Council of Europe member states and the European Union.

In fact, harmonizing Europe is hard enough. In Italy, as we know, we have this “Italian Open Data License” which nobody else in the world uses and strikes me as a distinctly bad idea. Data licensing is one of the areas where the European machinery for standard setting might give us an advantage!

From us to Europe, from Europe to all

Thanks for welcoming me, form cooking Spaghetti (Open Data) to Ryde the Edge, one way :wink:

First: I agree, the IODL need to be overcome, but until we have an open data general license, we need national license to fill a gap: go to dati.gov.it, there is an info-graphic of the diverse licenses used in Italy that shows lots of administrations use creative commons, which were meant to regulate copyright. So we have our first problem: local administrators (at least in Italy, don’t know elsewhere) are not able to tell a data license from a copyright license (same problem in the software filed). Hence, having a TEMPORARY national license for the time being is the first step towards harmonization.

Second. I understand your doubts, Edgeryders do not directly affect extraUE decisions. However, UE has the power to start a dialogue with other countries, but UE needs “technicians” like us that make proposal to her. So, since the Commission is going to edit the PSI reuse directive, I agree is mandatory to discuss a European open data license, but we also have to stress it is time to think about an international one. You know internet and citizens run faster than istitutions, so the sooner we ask for an international harmonization, the sooner they could create something like the WIPO, which worked quite good for intellectual property harmonization.

My point is: let’s make two recommendation, one for a European data license, one for involved the whole world by diplomacy into the harmonization issue.

PS I apologize for my bad english, it’s been a while since I wrote in this language last time.

Good point

I stand corrected.

Do you think there might be a conflict between the two positions? I mean: if the EU pushes through a Euro OD license, would this compromise its ability to negotiate with other countries an international standard? By the way, I should be going to the Open Government Partnership European meeting in Rome on the 10th. OGP would be a natural locus for discussing stuff like a global OD license.

I don’t see any problem with your English :slight_smile:

No conflict

Au contraire mon amì: a Euro OD license could facilitate the adoption of a universal OD license, beacuse EU could already offer a prototype. Plus: it would be perfect to create the Euro OD license by crowdsourcing, UE should ask developers, open data advocates, lawyers, civic hackers from the whole world to make a big discussion about it, analize each national license and suggest one or more hypothesis of license.

Well, if I could come, we’ll continue the discussion at the OGP, since you’re going you could see what they think about this harmonization issue :slight_smile:


Moreover, I imagine you already know there is an attempt of harmonizing Euro open data, the Homer project: http://www.homerproject.eu/project-description , but I don’t know why it is limited to Mediterrean area, I’m still studying the Euro open data general framework :slight_smile: