[@OKFNau] Sustainable open data

Andrew Perry andrew.perry at foclaw.org
Mon Sep 2 15:12:16 UTC 2013

This is a great topic!

My personal view / manifesto is outlined here: http://www.foclaw.org

In order for sharing of data / code to be sustainable, sometimes a mix 
of free/open/creative commons etc models may be appropriate.

For example, two organisations that are co-founding the Collaboratory 
incubation and co-working space with us at Parramatta 
(http://www.collaboratory.com.au & 
https://www.facebook.com/CollaboratoryAU) are Open Local (non-profit) 
and Community Builders Australia (social enterprise).

Open Local has implemented mySociety's Open Source FixMyStreet platform 
here in Australia (http://www.fixmystreet.org), as well as a MapIt 
server of electoral boundaries (http://mapit.openlocal.org.au). Open 
Local allows free non-commercial, low volume use of the MapIt server as 
well as providing subscriptions for higher volume and commercial use.  
Open Local is committed to Open Source / Open Data / Open Standards and 
has, to date, received no public funding.

Community Builders Australia supports Open Local through, among other 
things, a subscription to the Open Local MapIt server.  It uses it for 
the Where to Vote and How to Vote apps it has developed which are 
available free (as in beer) at:

For Android:

Where to Vote: http://bit.ly/14JhAbn

How to Vote: http://bit.ly/15fQHSz

And for iOS at:

Where to Vote: http://bit.ly/15fgFmi

How to Vote: http://bit.ly/15aranM

The electoral boundaries and polling booth locations / candidate lists 
are provided under creative commons licenses from the AEC / ABS.

The big win for the AEC out of making their data available this way is 
that they have facilitated the public having access to a free app to 
find their local voting locations and candidates, which they/taxpayers 
haven't had to pay to develop or support themselves.  Of course in 
future they may want to have their own branded version of the app (or 
build a similar app).  Community Builders Australia's model is that 
candidates/their supports will fund the provision of the app in future 
by paying to include their profiles and how to vote / social media / 
fundraising links in the app in addition to the basic ballot order 
listing of candidates that is provided.

Election night broadcasts also make great use of data feeds coming 
openly from the AEC.  This not only provides transparency, but great 
value to networks who want to provide up to the minute coverage - so in 
line with your question, should TV networks pay for those data feeds?  
Arguably yes - so that at least the infrastructure required for a live 
stream is adequately compensated.

For example, the data feeds could be made available for a fee to 
networks, and to candidates/parties and individuals/non-profits on 
election night under a "free beer" creative commons licence. Shortly 
after election day the data could then be distributed under a more 
liberal, public, "free speech" licence.  (Mind you because this is 
election data I would be more inclined to say it should be licensed 
liberally from the get-go - just the "live" distribution stream may not 
be available to the public or other people who don't contribute to the 
cost of running that stream on election night - but the data could still 
be seeded as a torrent with periodic updates!).

Other great innovations arising from the "open" release of this data are 
featured in the following article you may have seen:


Through our involvement as an anchor tenant and co-founder of 
Collaboratory, we hope to bring government, education and private sector 
stakeholders together to use Open Innovation to develop sustainable 
models for creating and sharing tools and data.  Creative Commons 
(discriminatory style) licences are one way that this can be achieved, 
by allowing non-commercial / developmental / educational use for free 
while requiring payment for a separate licence for commercial use.  Like 
the mining tax ;-), the commercial licence could be profit-based (or 
revenue based).

As long as the terms of the arrangement are clear and aren't varied 
whimsically by the government licensor, then the development community 
can invest in building great tools using the "creative commons data" 
(without barriers to entry) and then release them in a way that the 
government gets a return on its contribution to the app / service's 
success.  We see some parallels in the Apple App Store and Google Play 
Store in that the tools and APIs are accessible for free, but the 
providers get a revenue share for the non-free apps.



*Andrew Perry*
Executive Director

free open creative law

*P*  1300 855 078
*M*  0413 045 300
*F*  02 8090 3699

*An initiative of legal.consult pty ltd
*ABN 84 002 413 078
www.legalconsult.com.au <http://www.legalconsult.com.au>

Level 2
96 Phillip Street

This e-mail may be confidential and/or privileged. Only the intended 
recipient may access or use it. If you are not the intended recipient, 
please notify us immediately and delete this e-mail.  To the full extent 
permitted by law we exclude all liability for viruses or similar 
malicious content in any e-mail.  Liability limited by a scheme approved 
under Professional Standards Legislation.

Andrew Newman wrote:
> I went to Rufus's talk on Friday about Open Data and I asked about the 
> quality and sustainability of producing open data.
> I wonder about how it's going to work generally? The open data 
> movement is great and I'd like to see it work but the revenue model 
> seems broken.  Companies like Google, Facebook, etc. make money 
> selling data and services. The government can provide amazing 
> infrastructure (Internet, GPS, public data sets, etc) but it then 
> fails to capture the biggest revenue stream from these companies which 
> is tax - they are phenomenally good at paying almost no tax [1].  Is 
> there an alternative revenue stream?
> One project that I'm thinking of, the Queensland Globe, relied on low 
> or free licenses and converting the data to one that could be used by 
> Google Earth Enterprise.  It doesn't seem to have been thought of in a 
> sustainable way.
> Related to this idea is that governments should try and consume the 
> data they produce so that they can reduce the duplication (using a 
> proprietary system and producing regular data dumps).  If it's seen as 
> something external to their process they can just cut off the data dumps.
> Rufus mentioned API/services and paying to update (submitting the data 
> attracts a fee) - I think it would help but a lot of these systems 
> already have these models in place and still aren't done sustainably. 
>  It seems they think of IT more of a project of work, with a deadline, 
> that is completed rather than one that has constant feedback and 
> maintenance costs.
> [1] 
> http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/7/15/social-media/looking-beyond-apples-tax-evasion-tactics
> _______________________________________________
> OKFN-AU mailing list
> OKFN-AU at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-au
> Unsubscribe: http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/okfn-au

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/okfn-au/attachments/20130903/e9160d7e/attachment-0002.html>

More information about the okfn-au mailing list