At the end of March the European Commission (EC) has announced it is adopting the Creative Commons By Attribution license as its standard license.

The CC-BY license will be used for videos and photos, studies published in peer-reviewed journals, data and visualisations on the EU open data portal and documents published on EU websites.

Re-use of EC material has been possible since 2006 (and rephrased in 2011), but in practice it wasn’t always clear to potential re-users what was allowed and what wasn’t.
While re-use and attribution is part of the EC’s copyright notice, it is likely re-users are discouraged by the copyright claim above it, and missing the permissions underneath it:


Current default copyright notice on EC websites, to be exchanged for a CC-BY license

In contrast adding the Creative Commons By Attribution license sends a clear message about permissions that are granted up-front without the need for a re-user to seek consent: any re-use is permitted, including commercial re-use, provided the EC is attributed as its source, and provided re-use forms or alterations don’t suggest they are endorsed by or coming from the EC.


The clarity that a Creative Commons license provides

(full disclosure: I am a board member of Open Nederland, the Dutch Creative Commons chapter)

As of today it is final: the new EU copyright directive has been adopted (ht Julia Reda). I am pleased to see my government voted against, as it has in earlier stages, and as my MEPs did. Sadly it hasn’t been enough to cut Article 11 and 13, despite the mountain of evidence and protests against both articles. It is interesting and odd to see both Spain and Germany vote in favour, given the failure of their respective laws on which Article 11 is based, and the German government coalition parties stated position of being against content filters (i.e. Article 13).

Over the next two years it is important to track the legislative efforts in Member States implementing this Directive. Countries that voted against or abstained will try to find the most meaningless implementation of both Articles 11 and 13, and will be emphasising the useful bits in other parts of the Directive I suspect, while subjected to intense lobbying efforts both for and against. The resulting differences in interpretation across MS will be of interest. Also looking forward to following the court challenges that will undoubtedly result.

In the mean time, you as an internet-citizen have two more years to build and extend your path away from the silos where Article 11 and 13 will be an obstacle to you. Run your own stuff, decentralise and federate. Walkaway from the big platforms. But most of all, interact with creators and makers directly. Both when it comes to re-using or building on their creations, as when it comes to supporting them. Article 11 and 13 will not bring any creator any new revenue, dominant entertainment industry mediators are the ones set to profit from rent seeking. Vote with your feet and wallet.

Some links I thought worth reading the past few days

Sadly both the controversial Article 11 and 13 of the new EU Copyright Directive have been approved by the EU Parliament, despite strong criticism also from those content creators it is supposed to protect. Later this year a vote on the final proposal will take place, after the European parliament, the EU Commission and the Council (the national leaders) have worked out a common text. German MEP Julia Reda, like Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake, has stood against these proposals for a long time, and she blogs about the result.

I’ve mailed all Dutch MEPs ahead of the votes taking place last July, but only the ones that agree with my views ever write back. No argumentation of those in favour.

Last week I sent all Dutch Members of the European Parliament (MEP) a message to voice my opposition to both Article 11 and 13 of the proposed new Copyright Directive. It is telling that only MEPs opposing those articles have responded to me. No one in favour of it bothered to let me know their reasoning.

Some links I thought worth reading the past few days

Last fall the European open data portal project published two reports. One on the potential economic value of open data in Europe, the other taking a look at the maturity of open data efforts in European countries.

Both reports contain interesting insights and conclusions.
Both reports are also useless.

Because the data underneath the reports has not been published. Without explanation.

That is of course rather surprising because the subject of the reports is open data. At least when the topic is openness, all the related material should be open. That is why, when we built the EU PSI Scoreboard in 2011, we published all the underlying data right alongside the scoreboard. As does the Open Data Barometer. As does the Open Data Index. As does the Digital Agenda Scoreboard. But not the European Open Data Portal project. I would have expected the data under both reports by the European Open Data Portal to actually be available in the European Open Data Portal.

Missing data destroys the report’s value
Not having the data renders the report on open data maturity useless:

  • it makes interpretation of the conclusions impossible, as there is no way to see if the assertions chime with the collected data, nor if that data chimes with ones own experience in the field
  • it makes any meaningful discussion about the merits of the report impossible, even where it gives rise to questions (such as, what makes Bulgaria an open data trendsetter?)
  • it makes formulating actions aimed at improvement impossible, as the data to determine what improvements can be made are not available

Thus after reading the report nobody is, nor can they be, any the wiser as to how to move forward.

Cold feet
I approached the European Commission, and through them the authors, to request the data. After a few messages back and forth, the reason that the data is not published became clear: the national representatives involved in the project, such as the members of the EU PSI Group, have witheld publication of the data. I assume because of cold feet and dreading actual comparison between countries. Not publishing the data however, even if not intended as such, is also sending a clear message: “we’re not serious about openness.” The verdict when it comes to European open data maturity therefore is likely “not very mature”.

Requesting data per country needed
A very few countries may pro-actively publish the data about themselves, but most will not. To obtain the data used for the open data maturity report, it is now needed to approach all the national government representatives involved and request the data from them.

Which I intend to do. Help is welcome. [UPDATE: I have approached most of the governments involved, to ask for the information that could make the maturity report actually useful.]

Closed
Off to get some closed data

On 22 February we as the ePSIplatform team organized a big conference in Warsaw on Open Government Data. With 300 people registered from 30 countries, and 40 speakers, it was almost as big as last year’s conference we organized in Rotterdam.

As this was our last big event under the ePSIplatform contract, which ended 1 March, we decided to use the Opening Keynote to provide an overview of what was achieved in the past few years in Open Data, and especially what is still to be done, and the challenges and pitfalls connected to that. I will provide a full transcript later, but below you find the slides and the video (first 20 minutes) of the presentation.