[Open-Legislation] [open-government] Ten Open Data Guidelines launched in Tbilisi

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Mon Feb 7 13:16:30 UTC 2011

This is fantastically useful Christina! :-)

Cc'ing open-legislation group which was recently launched to look into
doing some interesting projects around tracking and serving up
legislative documents, to make it easier for citizens to understand
and engage with the law. They will be pleased to have your overview
wrt legal texts!

If you aren't familiar with other work on this subject, do you think
it would be worth starting a mini-project to provide an overview of
legislation in this area? (If nothing else, providing info on
countries we know about, and linking to relevant bits of the law in
each country.)

All the best,


On Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 1:21 PM, Angelopoulos, C.J.
<C.J.Angelopoulos at uva.nl> wrote:
> <Apologies if this has been discussed before, but do you have anything readable/citable on that? Thanks!>
> Not that I can think of at the moment I'm afraid... This is mainly a conclusion drawn from my own research for Europeana's public domain calculators. We will be publishing a report on the calculators at some point, which will among others touch on the subject of official documents, but even there we will only examine 6 European jurisdictions. This is the relevant section if you're interested:
> "Of the selected states some grant no copyright protection at all to certain types of official documents. In the Netherlands, Article 11 of the Auteurswet excludes laws, decrees or ordinances issued by a public authority or in a judicial or administrative decision from copyright protection. Similarly, in Spain no copyright is granted to legal or regulatory provisions or drafts thereof, judgments of jurisdictional bodies, acts, agreements, deliberations or rulings of public bodies or official translations of all such texts, while in Italy no copyright subsists official acts of the State or of a public administrations, whether Italian or foreign (Art 13 of the Spanish Intellectual Property Law, Article 5 of the Italian Copyright Law.). The Czech Republic has a detailed list of excluded official material (Article 3 of the Czech copyright law) including the following: official works, such as legal regulations, decisions, public charters, publicly accessible registers and collections of their records, and also official drafts of official works and other preparatory official documentation including the official translation of such a work, Chamber of Deputies and Senate publications, memorial chronicles of municipalities (municipal chronicles), state symbols and symbols of regional self-governing units, and other such works where there is public interest in their exclusion from copyright protection. In the Czech Republic political speeches and addresses presented during official proceedings do also no receive copyright protection. In all the above cases, term of protection becomes irrelevant, as no copyright subsists in the first place.
> In the UK detailed provisions rule the term of protection of official documents. S. 163 CDPA introduces the concept of Crown copyright, i.e. copyright that subsists in works made by Her Majesty or an officer or servant of the Crown acting in the course of his/her duties. Crown copyright lasts until the period of 50 years after its publication if such publication took place within the period of 70 years after its creation or, if no such publication takes place, until the end of the period of 125 years from the work's creation. If the an Act of Parliament, Act of the Scottish Parliament, Measure of the National Assembly for Wales, Act of the National Assembly for Wales, Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly or Measure of the General Synod of the Church of England, Crown copyright lasts for 50 years after the end of the year in which Royal Assent was given. According to s. 165, Parliamentary copyright subsists in works made by or under the direction or control of the House of Commons or the House of Lords, while, finally, if the work was created by an officer or employee of an international organisation, i.e. an organisation whose members include one or more states, the first owner of copyright is the organisation. In both cases, copyright lasts until 50 years from the end of the year in which the work was made. If the work is a Parliamentary Bill, a Bill of the Scottish Parliament, a Bill of the Northern Ireland Assembly, or a Bill of the National Assembly for Wales, copyright ceases with Royal Assent or, if the Bill does not receive Royal Assent, on the withdrawal or rejection of the Bill or the end of the Session.
> In France, the Intellectual Property Code does not touch upon the question of official documents explicitly, but nevertheless it has traditionally been held in the case law that author's rights cannot be invoked in protection of legislative and regulatory texts, as well as judicial decisions, the reason for this being that by their vary nature the content of such works is intended to be widely distributed. Nevertheless, the exception is not applicable to compilation or commentaries of laws having added value. "
> From the rest of my research I can tell you that Germany, Greece, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and Denmark have similar exceptions.

Jonathan Gray

Community Coordinator
The Open Knowledge Foundation


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