Cities are sharing data. But how?
1. publishing online
2. releasing in useable, machine-readable
3. explaining what it is (metadata)
4. legal standards!
Why legal standards in the first place?
● Assumption: if government data is not clearly
marked as legally open it will be used less
● Need for legal clarity
● Or else! chilling effects
● Legal problems = huge timesuck
● Make it invisible
● Posting online not enough
● Put in public domain or attach open license
● Machine-readable license
● It’s not so difficult!
Various legal principles for open data
● No restrictions on use
● License free
● Public domain
● CC BY is default
● Most open licensing
● Enable commercial reuse
● Open Definition is
What is enabled by clarifying legal standards?
● Efficient reuse; don’t have to ask permission
● Effective gov’t spending of public money
● Citizen participation, collaboration, transparency?
● Promote creativity, innovation, unexpected uses and
● Spur economic activity
● Internal gov access!
How do cities adopt legal standards?
Oakland - standard license (CC0, some N/A)
San Francisco - standard (CC0, some N/A)
Vancouver - custom license
Toronto - custom license
Boston - custom license
Paris - custom license
Helsinki - custom license
Legal principles for open data (2007)
Maximal openness includes clearly
labeling public information as a work of
the government and available without
restrictions on use as part of the public
Oakland Open Data Policy
RESOLVED: The City of Oakland shall
license any Open Data it publishes for
free re-use to ensure clarity of copyright
without legal responsibility or liability for
publishing such data...
So what should we do?
• Push for most progressive policies possible,
as fewer restrictions leads to increased
• CC0 to waive copyright worldwide
• Open Definition as baseline
means, reuse for any purpose (even commercial),
with at most requirement to attribute and sharealike
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● Question Icon - by Rémy Médard, from The Noun Project - CC BY