miércoles, 15 de febrero de 2012

The important thing about the EU Open Data License is not which License will be selected.

Note: This article is a translation of what I wrote in Spanish for my personal blog. You can see the original post in Spanish: "Lo importante de la Licencia Open Data europea es que exista, no cuál será la licencia elegida".

I have often written about how the open data community in the UK is working to become a global leading force. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, is leading an ambitious Open Data agenda aimed to boost digital economy in Britain. I have also been very critical with spanish political leadership on open government issues and with the lack of ambition of open data initiatives already launched in Spain.

However something seems to be changing. Today, I have to say that I am very proud of the Spanish Open Data Community because of its leadership and support to the EU Open Data license campaign. As you know, the European Council is now carrying on the negotiations for the revision of the RISP Directive, and a few days ago, Andres Nin in his blog, launched a campaign to request a single licensing model for open data in the European Union (#1OdataLicenseEU). To date, over 330 supporters signed for the campaign, some as relevant as Patxi Lopez, president of the Basque Government. And surely many more will join in the coming days.

As you know, I am supporting the campaign because I believe that a single EU license is very important for the development of Open Data companies such as Euroalert.

However, during these past days, when I have been following and supporting the campaign, some relevant people and organizations of the European open data community told me why they are not actively supporting it. Main reasons regard to discussions about which would be the selected license or if it would be better to include an Open Data Definition rather than just a license.

In my humble opinion, at this point, it is not important to agree on which is the most appropriate license as there are a number of licenses that would fit perfectly.
"What is truly important is that we could have a single Open Data license for all  European Union countries to strengthen the single market"
And I am very concerned that this discussion may be reducing the strength of the campaign. It would be really sad that interests on the selection of the license would make us miss this opportunity. So, let's support the inclusion of a single Open Data license in the RISP Directive and then let's work so the license can be as simple as the one proposed by Alberto Ortiz on his blog. I wish it could be that easy.

viernes, 3 de febrero de 2012

A single Open Data licence is very important for companies

Note: This article is a translation of what I wrote in Spanish for my personal blog. You can see the original post in Spanish: "Una licencia open data única es muy importante para las empresas".

As you all know in Euroalert we are working on the exciting challenge of building a pan-European platform to aggregate tendering and procurement data from all public authorities in the European Union Member States. A few months ago, following my presentation at the First Digital Agenda Assembly, I wrote about the importance of a single open data licence for the development of a pan-european data market.

The European Commission is currently reviewing the Directive on the Reuse of Public Sector Information, and a new draft was published in December. There is therefore a great opportunity to establish a single licensing model for open data in the European Union. However the ideal would be a the single open data global licence.

I will share a true example to elaborate on the subject. Euroalert aggregates data from many diverse sources with the most heterogeneous licenses, inspired by the laws of different countries and not always compatible between each other. Sometimes we've been asked, especially from NGOs, to release aggregated databases of procurement data for studies or other projects. Although we would have been glad to donate these datasets, we could not do it because of the restrictions of the licenses. As you know the licences of some datasets often forbid mixing its data with other databases, others set limitations to the commercial re-use or in some cases even any treatment other than the publication as we get it is limited.

Just studying the legal implications of the redistribution of our aggregated raw databases is something that we could not afford. Our project that will publish a Linked Open Data node for procurement data is facing a similar problem that could be easily solved with a single EU license.

Andres Nin yesterday launched a petition "Say to @neeliekroesEU we want a single #opendata licence in the #EU" to raise awareness of the matter. This is truly a key issue in the development of companies that aim to create wealth through pan-European initiatives for the reuse of public data. And one more opportunity to help the development of a European single market in which companies powered by open data, like Euroalert, operate. I encourage you to sign the petition to the European Commissioner Neelie Kroes and to help us in its promotion in order to make the voice of the Open Data Community heard in the European Institutions.