[Open-Legislation] Reply to: API for EU legislation

stef stefan.marsiske at gmail.com
Thu May 26 12:52:13 UTC 2011

Dear Nils Erik,

On Thu, May 26, 2011 at 12:30:45PM +0200, Niels Erik Kaaber Rasmussen wrote:
> I found your thread on our EU API here (dated May 6) and would be
> glad to know which kind of terms and conditions you'd like to see
> present at the API. The data is not ours it is taken from different
> official sources, so we can't really license it - what we can do is
> to provide a free an open interface for others to use it.

i understand this problem, and this is also my main concern. i'm unsure about
eu db rights, the odbl could be a good solution to our problems. maybe a MEP
asking some questions regarding the legal status of the data on
europarl.eu would also bring more light to this issue.

another solution to solve this might be the circumvention of this problem by
providing free software that generates this dataset. this way the only concern
is the software copyright, and the legal aspects of data usage remain between
the eu institutions and the user generating the data by running the software.
this approach also eliminates all kind of legal consequences, data
accurateness liability issues and privacy concerns of relying on a 3rd party

(disclaimer: as there's no exisiting viable free alternative i feel obliged to
develop one myself. i also hope to compete on the comptetition with this)

> In regards to itsyourparliament - the data we have there has been
> public nearly since the opening of the site in the beginning of
> 2010, see http://www.itsyourparliament.eu/api/
> Stefan Marsiske states that "...there is unclear licensing, and it's
> not really open." -

please forgive my hasty response, i'm sorry for being overly blunt.
having responded above to the open licensing issue above i must admit i have
admired your fine product for a long time, i praised it to others.

while doing casual lookups on your site i have always wished to have such a
clean dataset as yours freely available for local datamining. i am happy to
see that my wish might come true finally. your product could be a very nice
component in the toolchests of ngos engaging in policy advocacy. those i
support have very high expectations for freedom in such regards. my blunt
reaction was mostly an aggregation of those elevated expectations. i hope we
live in a world we the ugly but free can coexist with the mature and nice.

> we are sorry for the unclear licensing, how can
> we fix that? And what can we do to make it really open?

i trust Francis proposal of the ODBL is a good start to become open.


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