It is a complex issue even for US government. Not so much for the general
agencies given Suzanne’s comments.
The Library of Congress, Smithsonian, NEH, National Gallery of Art,
Park Service and a few others have “collections” of material that have
digitized and made available on the web. Many resulting from agreements
trustees and custodians that have donated the materials to the
for some level of access. The challenge was and is ensuring that the
materials are rights protected and it is made clear that they do not fall
under the normal regulations. Negotiating these agreements is quite an
experience and always challenging when you don’t have a good policy basis
start with. Although this isn’t specifically a “data” issue under the
current data.gov and UK efforts, it is indeed a growing issue for agencies
dealing with culturally significant materials that aren’t necessarily
government produced and the desire to have the materials located on
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From: Acar, Suzanne [mailto:Suzanne.Acar@ic.fbi.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 8:44 AM
To: 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
Cc: 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org';
'John.Sheridan@nationalarchives.gov.uk'; Novak, Kevin
Subject: Re: data.gov.* memo
Very interesting, Daniel. Will take a closer look.
Also, thank you Jonathan for the clarifiacation on your statement.
From: Daniel Bennett <email@example.com>
To: Jonathan Gray <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Acar, Suzanne; email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>; email@example.com
Sent: Tue Jun 16 08:44:28 2009
Subject: Re: data.gov.* memo
Awhile ago, when some of the bills were starting to be introduced in XML,
the Congress decided to add in some Dublin Core metadata so that issues
as rights would be made clear. See below.
And then there is the presumption that anyone or organization that
raw data in an open and without real applications is intending for the
to be either used in place or copied. This is like having an RSS newsfeed
and then claiming that the RSS newsfeed itself is copyrighted.
And then there is the issue of how data is used on the Internet with
engines essentially having a complete copy of almost everything internally
in order to allow for search. Hmmmmmm.
<dc:title>111 HR 11 IH: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of
<dc:publisher>U.S. House of Representatives</dc:publisher>
<dc:rights>Pursuant to Title 17 Section 105 of the United States Code,
file is not subject to copyright protection and is in the public
Jonathan Gray wrote:
On Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 2:13 PM, Acar, Suzanne<Suzanne.Acar@ic.fbi.gov>
US data.gov published a policy statement on the site. Copyright statement
was not needed because government data once released for sharing is public
While this is true for US Federal government material - this is
unfortunately not so clear outside the US.
In my experience of looking at the situation with data across Europe,
many government sites do not explicitly state what can and can't be
re-used. The EU PSI Directive broadly encourages member states to make
material available for re-use - but this is still being implemented,
and some feel there is ambiguity about its scope and strength. Also
its always helpful to know where rights are held by third parties!