(5 June 2013) Today the European Parliament formally adopted the updated EU rules on the re-use of public sector information, thereby completing the formal EU approval process.
The Council already agreed to the new rules at the Telecoms Council last week. The agreement on the new text has been reached in only 16 months, showing how all EU institutions are committed to unlock the full potential of the open data goldmine.
European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: “Today we can celebrate our efforts to bring government data closer to citizens and businesses in Europe. We are finally getting the much needed legal framework to boost the economy and create new jobs.”
After this final endorsement, the Commission will start developing a series of guidelines on the most relevant elements addressed in the Directive, such as licensing, datasets and charging arrangements
Member States will have 24 months from the date of entry into force of the revised Directive to transpose it into national laws Once fully implemented the Directive will boost the data market in Europe by making all the generally accessible public sector information available for re-use. Developers, programmers, creative citizens and businesses will be able to get and re-use public sector data at zero or very low cost in most cases. They will also have access to more exciting and inspirational content since materials in national museums, libraries and archives now fall under the scope of the Directive.
Public Sector Information refers to data produced, stored or collected by public sector bodies. Even though public sector information represents an enormous economic potential, reaching tens of billions of euros per year across the EU, studies conducted on behalf of the European Commission showed that industry and citizens still faced difficulties in finding and re-using such data.
When fully implemented, new EU rules will:
- Create a genuine right to re-use public information, not present in the original Directive; All public data not covered by one of the exceptions will become re-usable;
- Massively expand the reach of the Directive to include libraries, museums and archives for the first time;
- Establish that public sector bodies can charge at maximum the marginal cost for reproduction, provision and dissemination of the information. In exceptional cases, full cost recovery (plus a reasonable return on investment) will remain possible;
- Oblige public sector bodies to be more transparent about the charging rules and conditions they apply;
- Encourage the availability of Governmental data in machine-readable and open formats;
- Introduce new rules on digitisation agreements, which will support public private partnerships while protecting the cultural sector institutions and the interests of the general public.
Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information introduced a first set of measures to make it easier for businesses to obtain access and permission to re-use government-held information. It also brought about a process whereby governmental agencies lowered the fees charged for obtaining the information.